Six CEOs Recount Their Biggest Misconceptions About Entrepreneurship

At the outset of their startup endeavors, many entrepreneurs attempt to envision what the process of building their business will look like, daydreaming of running a million-dollar business while drinking cocktails on a tropical beach. What many tend to forget however is that entrepreneurship is a two-way road, and that the freedom of being your own boss is accompanied by the burden of having to take full responsibility for everything single thing that happens to your company. Mistakes occur, priorities change, and more often than not, things do not go as planned. We spoke to six successful startup founders and asked what their biggest misconceptions were before becoming an entrepreneur, here’s what they had to say.

Ideas Change

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“Being an entrepreneur isn’t about coming up with the best and perfect idea at inception. Great ideas are not born over night, they take time to cultivate and evolve thru the feedback you receive from users, customers, partners, and investors. The majority of the time, the initial idea changed significantly from the version that receives success.

Erik Chan, RocketClub

Making Mistakes Is Normal

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“My biggest discovery was that making mistakes is a big part of the process (i have read about it but experiencing that is very different). You have to treat mistakes accordingly, not as something good, but as something absolutely inevitable. You keep going and you make mistakes. Just make sure you make smart mistakes which are not crucial and keep going

Maxim Burtikov, Quokka

AppStores Don’t Equal Business

“My biggest misconception was that having an app in the different appstores would immediately help my business. I’ve now learned that its the other way round: you are lost there.

Matthias Mueller, Sustainability Compass

Prepare For the Long Run

“Biggest misconception? Definitely that it is a straight road to either failure or success. I thought coming out of college that it was be very easy to determine the outcome of your business very early — I was very wrong. Advice is to treat entrepreneurship as a marathon not a sprint and be sure to focus on exactly what matters to you.

Duane Dennis, Miramix

Entrepreneurship Does Not Mean Freedom

Hand pointing at a Entrepreneur word illustration on blue background.

“Freedom. Many readers will no doubt believe that entrepreneurship brings freedom over and above the 9-5 job. However, the focus required to build a company means more dedication, greater hours and generally higher involvement than any other area of my life to date. In this respect, freedom is not the word I would recommend associating with entrepreneurship! With this said, there are aspects such as decision making and financial reward which do fall under the freedom category.

Robert Sturt, The Network Union

The Burden Is on You

“The complexity of working on your own without external forces driving you agenda. When you first thing about it, that sounds great, no boss, no forced meetings, no inbox filling up with stuff you do not want to get and yes it is great. The downside is that every progress has to happen through you as well. If you are part of a big organization and you have a bad day,  in the end it does not really matter that much, but if you are an early stage entrepreneur and during one day you just do not get off the ground, the day is lost, your project does not progress and your path to success becomes longer and therefore the risk of failure becomes bigger.

Rolf Ritter, People As A Service

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