What To Expect When You’re Starting a Business (3 Misconceptions)

by Michael Simmons on Jun 26, 2010

I completely believe in the potential of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for changing the world, creating wealth, having freedom, and pursuing your passion. At the same time, many people drastically overestimate how easy everything will be. By being more realistic, you can massively increase your odds of success and not give up too soon thinking that your business was a failure when it wasn’t.

  1. You’re Initial Idea Will Not Work. When you’re starting a business, your idea is essentially a bunch of assumptions (ie – If I do x, then so-and-so will do y). Most of these assumptions will be wrong. Even successful experienced entrepreneurs will have many incorrect assumptions about their business idea. However, it’s ok!!!! If you realize this ahead of time, systematically test the assumptions, and don’t bet the farm upfront, you’ll be more than ok.
  2. It Will Take More Than Twice as Long and Twice as Much Money to Get StartedPartially related to randomness and partially related to your assumptions being wrong, things will just take much longer and be more expensive than you think. If you give yourself lots of wiggle room, you’ll be ok.
  3. Your Challenges Will Only Grow. As your business grows, the quantity and magnitude of your challenges will increase. If you think things like coming up with an idea are hard, wait until you start worrying about employees, making payroll, etc. You must completely recontextualize challenges as positive events and consciously choose them or you’ll go crazy. Solving challenges is the best way to learn and grow. Solving tough challenges gives you an advantage over current and potential competitors who may confront and not be able to overcome the same challenges. I see too many people give up when they face challenges thinking they’ve done something wrong.


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I'm the co-founder of Empact, one of the leading entrepreneurship education organizations in the world. I'm obsessed with understanding how we all can lead meaningful lives that have a positive social impact. I love probing into the truth of how we experience life. I believe that challenges are what make us grow the most, and I openly share my experiences. Continue reading…


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