Entrepreneurship Myths

by Ashish Sinha, founder of NextBigWhat

Entrepreneurship is slightly overrated—and I say this because a lot of people tend to believe that starting a business is for the brave hearted.

In this post, I’d like to take an opportunity to demystify some of these myths around entrepreneurship.

1. I will be my own boss.

If working in knickers/shorts is your way of defining freedom, well yes—you are your own boss. But the truth is quite different. To those who want to believe in the flexi-time part of entrepreneurship, let me tell you that you will have no time for activities beyond your startup, let alone flexi-work time. Twenty-five hours (yes, 25!) a day, you will be worried about making things happen for your startup, unlike a job where it’s just a matter of 8-9 hours. The breather here is that you can plan for flexi-fun activity at your will (if you are lucky), but that doesn’t really happen often. Plus, you are answerable to your family, friends, investors and most importantly, customers.

2. It takes a lot of courage to found a startup.

Only rockstars do it! Actually, no. Entrepreneurship is all about conviction and the patience to stay in the game. You don’t need to be courageous to start a business. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs I know haven’t ever been rock climbing (that’s mild, right?) or participated in any other risky activity earlier in life. One of the finest things about entrepreneurship is that one learns to put up a brave face. It’s like being a duck—calm from the outside, but constantly kicking and flapping under the water.

3. You don’t need experience, only an MBA.

Whether you get experience while completing an MBA or on the job, you need to acquire the tools to understand and execute the business of your startup. Though an MBA can prepare students for business expectations and give them the skills to comprehensively understand their startup, there isn’t any direct correlation between only an MBA and entrepreneurship yet (read this thoughtful piece by Professor Vivek Wadhwa: Is an MBA a Plus or a Minus in Entrepreneurship world?). Real world experience also counts. What entrepreneurs need is a finishing school of sorts—and there ain’t any better sales school than talking directly to customers.

4. You need funding to startup.

Well, everybody loves to ride a moving train. Nobody wants to really ride a stationary train, right? Building business does involve raising funds, but do not expect your plan alone to be a showstopper. Investors look for a moving train, so build one. Start developing. Start talking to customers.

5. You need a great team to startup.

Eventually, yes! For sure, starting up will require a passionate team, but what if you don’t have one? Will you wait for others to join in? Taking forward my earlier point (4), entrepreneurs just need to keep doing, keep working towards the goal. And once you startup, the entire world will conspire to make it success! That’s all it is!

Ashish Sinha is the founder of NextBigWhat, India’s most active platform for technology entrepreneurs. Ashish has a keen interest in products and earlier led product management initiatives at Yahoo. Ashish is based in India.