Every so often when I tell people I own a business they look at me in amazement. I’m asked all sort of questions like how did I start? Where did I get the money to start? How many hours a week do I work? Just to name a few. They often walk away is disbelief at my answers. So let’s take a moment to bust some myths.

  1. You need to have money to make money: I started my business for less than $200. I bought a domain, a years worth of hosting and business cards. Grant it my business is a virtual business and I didn’t need to buy products or create a store. But I didn’t get my first clients because of that $200. I started my business and got clients because I went out and found clients. None of them even looked at my website and I didn’t even give them a business card.  The point is if you want it you will find a way. Isn’t that what being an entrepreneur is all about? Creating opportunities.
  2. You will work 60-80hrs a week: There will be times you will work long hours. But that shouldn’t be a weekly thing. Most of the time we try to do too much or take on too much. Coupled with not charging enough can force you into working long hours. Before I realized my worth I had to bill 40 hours a week just to pay bills/overhead. Then to work on my business I was putting in another 15-20hrs a week. That got old real fast. I wanted to work 40-45hrs a week in total for my business. So I raised my rates to what I was worth, found clients that would pay, focused on what made me money, cut out the time wasters, and outsource the rest when necessary. Now I need to bill roughly 20 hours a week to pay bills/overhead. However I still work about 30-35 hours a week for clients and about 5-10hours a week building my business. It is about finding that balance.
  3. You need to make millions of dollars to be considered successful: Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe you just want a business that you work on 5 hours a week and make $500 a month. Maybe you want a full time business that brings in $100,000/yr. It is all about settings realistic goals and outcomes. Success is meeting and exceeding those goals.  My business will never be as big Intel or Microsoft. Does that mean my business isn’t successful? Nope. Being a big company like Intel isn’t my goal. My goal is to provide quality web design and development services to small to mid size businesses which will garner me money for a comfortable life.
  4. You need a very detailed business plan: Don’t get me wrong, you need a business plan. But it doesn’t have to spell out your entire business life. At the least it should be enough to start your business voyage. From there you can work on it, just don’t forget about it. Sometimes it takes just getting out there and starting your business to understand what exactly your business plan should be about.
  5. If you build it, you will get business: This couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve watched many of businesses fail just because they think having a business will automatically get them clients. You need to build your customer base by building relationships, marketing, and selling your product/services. This takes time and a lot of effort.
  6. Big competitors will destroy you: For a lot of people there is something about small businesses that people just love. Maybe its not dealing with a faceless corporation. Maybe its supporting local businesses. But really, it is about you as a business being able to provide a quality product or service. Who cares if you founded your company yesterday. Be totally kick-ass at what you do and provide a product or service that people want and you will be successful no matter how big your competition is.

What are some other business myths that you have busted?