What Are Some Myths About Self-Made Entrepreneurs?

What Are Some Myths About Self-Made Entrepreneurs?

I feel like everything you’ve ever heard about a self-made entrepreneur is a myth.

Everything they say about being an entrepreneur is true. It’s hard. And until you live it and experience it, it’s hard to fully understand.

Before diving into the question about self-made entrepreneur myths, I’ll share what I think is the biggest myth: that there’s such a thing as “self-made.” I ask for help all the time from anyone who will listen.

Introduction requests to investors and potential customers? I make about one of those every few hours.

Feedback on a new or proposed feature? I’m likely on a Zoom call right now with a customer begging for their insights.

Our product, service, and company? There’s a team behind the scenes that doesn’t get the credit and does all the hard work.

Nothing noteworthy is self-made. To build something remarkable, it takes a long list of people loosely and closely connected to a company. I think that’s the biggest myth. But what are some others?

What Are Some Myths About Self-Made Entrepreneurs?

From entrepreneurs being eccentric to no work-life balance, here are 12 answers to the question, "What are common myths about self-made entrepreneurs?"

  • All of Them Are Eccentric
  • They Work Harder Than Everyone Else
  • They Can Do Everything on Their Own
  • We Have All the Ideas
  • All Successful Entrepreneurs Are Dropouts
  • They Have to be Talented
  • The Are Wealthy
  • They Always Trust Their Gut
  • Their Success Happened Overnight
  • They're Born to Be an Entrepreneur
  • Their Success Is Based on Luck
  • There’s No Work-Life Balance

All of Them Are Eccentric

You don't have to be an eccentric person to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are bold rather than eccentric.

Be an inspiring leader, not just a demanding one who is prone to temper tantrums. People want to see an entrepreneur be a visionary.

They want to see them be innovative and commit to big ideas. You don't have to be weird to be an idealist. Just believe in yourself and believe in your idea—and convince others to believe in your idea so that they can lead alongside you.

Rachel BlankRachel Blank
Founder and CEO, Allara

That We Work Harder Than Everyone Else

Putting in the work is a necessity, but not a guarantee of success; it just increases your odds. What got me to this point has been a foundation of skills, a network of like-minded individuals, an innovative idea, a good deal of luck, and, naturally, a ton of hard work.

Most times, entrepreneurs work harder than the average person—you never really sign off when you're an entrepreneur—but not to where you can point to that as the sole reason for success.

Dragos BadeaDragos Badea
CEO, Yarooms

They Can Do Everything on Their Own

One common myth about self-made entrepreneurs is that they are solely responsible for their success and did it all on their own. This overlooks the fact that most successful entrepreneurs often have a support system and a network of individuals who have helped them along the way, such as mentors, partners, employees, family, and friends.

Many self-made entrepreneurs also benefited from various resources and opportunities that allowed them to achieve their goals, such as access to capital, education, and technology.

The myth of the self-made entrepreneur can also perpetuate the idea of the "rags-to-riches" story, implying that anyone can become a successful entrepreneur with enough hard work, when in reality, many systemic barriers and inequalities can prevent individuals from achieving their full potential.

Dan JohnsonDan Johnson
Business Development and Sales Manager, Pearl Scan Solutions

We Have All the Ideas

As an entrepreneur, one thing I've often noticed is that people think I'm an ideas man. While I like to think I've had a few strokes of brilliance in my lifetime, the truth is determination and hard work have gotten me further than anyone's epiphany.

I like to say that ideas are a dime a dozen—it's the execution that truly matters. So if you're waiting for that perfect motivation, you might just be procrastinating. Remember that it's the act of doing that truly prompts creativity. Entrepreneurs understand that learning as you go beats preparation any day.

Rob ReevesRob Reeves
CEO and President, Redfish Technology

All Successful Entrepreneurs Are Dropouts

The notion that all successful entrepreneurs have dropped out of college is a common misconception. While there are well-known cases of entrepreneurs who left college early, many successful entrepreneurs also completed their college education before starting their own ventures.

This phenomenon, known as survivorship bias, leads us to overemphasize the stories of college dropouts and overlook those who finished their education. Whether to attend college for aspiring entrepreneurs is highly subjective and depends on various factors.

Some entrepreneurs find that their college experience equips them with the skills, knowledge, and resources to succeed in business. Some prefer to gain experience and independence by starting their own business, finding it more valuable than a college degree.

Ultimately, each entrepreneur must evaluate their goals and circumstances before making a college decision.

Burak ÖzdemirBurak Özdemir
Founder, Online Alarm Kur

They Need to Be More Talented and Lucky

One popular misconception about self-made entrepreneurs is that they need to be more talented and lucky. This completely disregards the hard work and dedication required to create something from nothing.

Self-made entrepreneurs often have to take risks and try ideas that no one believes in. The success of such ventures would not be possible without the entrepreneur's raw creativity, ambition, and smart decision-making.

In reality, self-made entrepreneurs must possess all the skills of a traditional business owner, such as a strong financial understanding and effective management abilities, but with an added determination to see their dreams become a reality.

Tom Hamilton-StubberTom Hamilton-Stubber
Managing Director, Tutor Cruncher

They Are Wealthy

It often takes most of us ten years to become an overnight success! The true wealth is in the skills, perseverance, and memories created that forge us into entrepreneurs along the way.

A true self-made entrepreneur is one that can have it all taken away but gain it all right back if they desire based on what experience has shaped them into!

Stephanie jenkinsStephanie Jenkins
Founder, Stephanie Jenkins Photo

They Always Trust Their Gut

One common myth about self-made entrepreneurs is that they always trust their gut. While many do, and there is nothing wrong with trusting one's gut instinct, there is so much more at play than that simple quip.

A massive knowledge base to back up their intuition is almost always the case, especially with calculated risks. As the old saying goes, "knowledge is power."

Alexandre RobicquetAlexandre Robicquet
Co-Founder and CEO, Crossing Minds

Their Success Happened Overnight

One common myth about self-made entrepreneurs is that they achieved success overnight. This simply isn't true. Most successful entrepreneurs have put in countless hours of hard work and dedication to get where they are today.

They often go through long periods of trial and error, experimentation, and learning before finally achieving success.

Nick VargaNick Varga
Chief Riding Officer, Eride Journal

They're Born to Be an Entrepreneur

Most entrepreneur interviews involve stories about their grade-one lemonade stand or their pre-loved business. These people seem to know from an early age how to set goals and achieve them.

As an entrepreneur myself, I think the reality is far from that. Instead of having an entrepreneurial urge, it's more like the urge to want options. Entrepreneurs naturally take on what others find challenging because the desire to explore new opportunities outweighs the risks.

Joyce TsangJoyce Tsang
Content Marketer and Founder, Joyce Tsang Content Marketing

Their Success Is Based on Luck

While luck may sometimes factor into the equation, most successful entrepreneurs work very hard to get where they are.

It often takes a combination of luck, skill, and determination to become truly successful in the world of entrepreneurship.

Luck certainly can't guarantee success, but having luck on your side can certainly make the journey to success easier and quicker.

Gabriel BognerGabriel Bogner
Co-Founder, Mate

There’s No Work-Life Balance

When I talk to people who are interested in entrepreneurship, one thing holding many people back is the fear that they'd need to spend more time working and would have no work-life balance.

While this can sometimes be true, especially in the early phase of starting a business, it doesn't have to be inevitable. Many entrepreneurs ruthlessly prioritize work so they get more done in fewer hours.

Others take a slower pace to grow their business or hire and outsource the workload. As the business grows, many entrepreneurs take themselves out of the business altogether, which gives them even more time and freedom.

Larissa PickensLarissa Pickens
Co-Founder, Worksion

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