So, you’ve just finished watching ‘The Social Network’ and ‘The Founder’ and you’ve had episodes of ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘Shark Tank’ on repeat since last June.

You finally get the jolt of inspiration you’ve been looking for and decided it’s time. The veil has been removed from your eyes and you see a future for yourself where you are boarding private jets to luxurious destinations, directing a team of experts toward solving one of the world’s largest problems and, of course…you are rich.

Not the put cash-to-your-ear rich, the variant we all see on social media far too often, the ‘rich, rich’ variant where you and Elon Musk call each other to chat about your billion dollar challenges and how you want to take your companies private, because being on the market, doesn’t offer the type of flexibility you need to grow.

Thing is, we all have a lot of opinions about what an entrepreneur is, what it isn’t, what leads to success, what this success looks like, and who you have to become to achieve it. For a long time, my opinion involved endless work, late nights, early mornings and endless dedication to moving faster and more accurately than everyone else. While some of this remains true, I’ve gained some perspective from taking a company from zero to millions of dollars, while remaining relatively mentally healthy…well, at least I think I have.

I got the idea to write something about this theme while speaking to a friend this morning. She asked what I was up to for Sunday, I told her I was going to work and plan for the week. She said and I quote, “I thought being an entrepreneur means more free time, but all you ever talk about is more work.”

Truth is, entrepreneurship is tough. Things never go as planned and too often, we are the only ones around to pick up the pieces in complete confusion, not knowing how to move forward. If you are currently an entrepreneur, these myths will resonate with you, and if not…at least you know what you’re in for, should you embark on the journey to become one.

Get these snorkels on and let’s deep dive.

Myth#1: You Own Your Time

Even Oprah has to answer to somebody. This is true. You may think building your own business means you are the boss and that no one can tell you what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. You may fantasize about lounging around the house, feeding Nibbles the cat while you grab a bite from the kitchen in-between workouts and your morning meditation.

As we all know, expectations don’t always equal reality. Painfully so.

In reality, prepare for the 7:00 AM wake-up calls from your client, who needs an urgent update on that project and doesn’t stop calling. Prepare to be called to meetings last minute, to have to pitch projects last minute, and of course, being paid last minute (sometimes). Sure, when you are more successful, you can choose to fire these clients if they don’t respect your boundaries, but when it’s your first and the security of a paycheck has gone out the window, most of us have to suck it up.

There is a quote I love that says, an entrepreneur is someone who chooses (in some instances) to work 80 hours a week instead of 40, for less pay and less security, on something that may never work out, and that they may fail at.

Well, while the odds may be against us and can be improved with a few key actions (saving this for my next blog), the reality is, it’s just really hard. Your time becomes the time of your customers, because you may be a one person team. You end up doing the accounting and financial management, you become chief sales master (even if you suck), writing the marketing plan, hiring, building relationships, networking, refilling the stock of toilet tissue, (hell, even cleaning the bathroom is your job), making coffee and grabbing lunch for you and Nibbles. You literally become, Chief Everything Officer. You can’t outsource everything in the beginning of your business, or it won’t have your cultural imprint. And guess what?

All these roles take time.

A lot of time.

All these roles take time.

A lot of time.

Like, an insanely inordinate amount of time. Guess what else, the rewards are often sparse, and sometimes they never come. This brings me to #2.

Myth#2: I Just Need To Try Harder

Actually, sometimes you need to stop. Giving up is not only necessary, sometimes it’s your best option. Re-assess, look in the mirror, ask some serious questions and decide if you need a step forward, backward, or to the right or left.

No matter how hard you try, some things just aren’t meant to be. This applies to relationships as much as business. If it ain’t working, sometimes, you shouldn’t try to fix it. You may not have product-market fit, you may have the wrong team, your timing may be off, you may not have the expertise, or be able to hire the expertise to solve this problem. You may solve it, but not profitability, and the list goes on and on. You may have created something no one but you and your buddies want.

Just let it go.

Failure my friends, is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Start over, start anew. Your options aren’t limited. Have you ever considered that you aren’t the one meant to solve this problem? Pivoting is an option. Changing completely is an option. Choosing to be an employee versus an entrepreneur is an option. Sometimes, it’s time to throw in the towel, it would have saved Apollo Creed (If you’re like me…you just shed a single tear. RIP Apollo).

And there are the times when you have to admit it. You just suck! In these instances, perhaps you need to sort your life out before you are ready to take on the responsibility of helping me (or others) solve one of my problems.

Myth#3: I Can Do It Alone

This one is a biggie. Staying small is your choice (Hip hop fans will see what I did there). Yes, we have all read ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’, and while Tim Ferris’ tips can definitely help you shave a few hours off the day and spend more quality time through automation, it outlines optimal conditions.

Truth is, you will need others to grow. Being Chief Everything Officer, can take you so far and no more. You’ve got to build your tribe. In business, things rarely go as planned. At some point, you are going to need help. And if you are going to win big at this game, you are going to need the best people.

Why? Because you don’t know everything. You can’t spend all your time trying to learn it. As CEO, your role should be closely linked to decision making, vision, leadership and gathering the right resources (human and otherwise) to ensure the success of the organization. You have to delegate and that means having persons to delegate to.

In his book, ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins uses the analogy of a bus to explain how organizations last and become great. He notes that no action should be taken before assembling the right team, in the right seats on the bus, then we are all free to hit all sorts of gas.

Myth#4: I Need Investment To Build A Business

If you are launching a medical company which requires lots of R&D, years of testing and research and clinical trialswell we can understand, however, if you are delivering services, just start.

Start right now.

Pick up the phone, call a friend and see if what you are aiming to offer is something they would pay for. Service businesses are the best for those starting without access to capital. I started Digita with a laptop, a ton of online courses, articles on all aspects of running an agency, a desk and the will to win. Meetings with clients were conveniently had at hotels and coffee shops, or online.

So after all that you may be asking. Is it worth it? Is it worth the pain, agony, and above all, the risk?

Well, the answer depends on who you are, and being self-aware enough to recognize yourself, your emotional and psychological needs and what your ideal life really looks like.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Some persons should hang onto a job for dear life and never let go, they simply aren’t built for it, and perform much better within an organization. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. But they must then also accept the realities that come along with this.

But if you believe you are built for it and willing to continue to grow into it, well I salute you and hope these myths serve as lessons to both remind, and get you on the way. Keep moving forward.

Any more myths to add to my list? Drop them in the comments below.

Till next time.