It's crazy how many times people will assume certain things about the business industry and be COMPLETELY WRONG. The assumptions I hear usually vary from, "let's go out tonight. You have a flexible schedule anyways," to "I need to own a business so I can easily become a millionaire." It amazes me how ridiculously crazy people sound making business seem like such a breeze.
I'm here to clear up the many, common misconceptions about entrepreneurship.
For starters, as a business owner, YOU WILL NOT MAKE MILLIONS WITHIN YOUR FIRST YEAR OF BUSINESS.
This is not to say that it is not possible, because I am a strong believer that whatever God has for you, is for you. But this is very rare. People love to think that once you become an entrepreneur that you're supposed to be making a large lump sum of money within your first year and unfortunately that is not true. To be perfectly honest, most business owners take a significant financial loss within their first year, due to the many sacrifices and financial investments you have to make just to get your business off the ground. If entrepreneurship were this guaranteed journey of making so much money, I promise you, there would be many more entrepreneurs. Most people in business usually do not begin to generate a stable lifestyle through their business income until after their second year (on average). I know many entrepreneurs, who could not depend on their business as their sole source of income until after their third, or sometimes even their fifth, year of business.
When people begin crafting their business plan, many people start to look for other brands and entrepreneurs who can invest into their business. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SECURE AN INVESTOR IN ORDER TO START A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS. I started my business with maybe $3,700 to my name; and that money was going toward my rent and personal expenses, not my business. Now for certain industries, yes you will need a lot more than a couple thousand to your name to invest in your business. For other entrepreneurs, it takes a lot of strategy to create and manage a business operation with no funds as cushion for you and your brand. However, do not confuse yourself into thinking that someone has to loan you thousands of dollars to start your dreams.
Unless you are opening a storefront, restaurant, or an on site location for your business, many times securing an investor is not a thought that should cross your mind.
Once you deem yourself an entrepreneur, people love to guilt you into thinking that YOUR BUSINESS SHOULD BE YOUR ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME. This is wrong. Statistics show that most millionaires have on average 5-7 sources of income. So why would you let your friends and followers confuse you into thinking that it is necessary to only have 1? It is okay for you to do whatever you have to do, to build the lifestyle that you want for yourself.
Now, I do advocate for making sure your incomes make sense. Create a cross brand, instead of a mixed one.
By a cross brand, I mean this.... I am a publicist. I help people build and develop their brands to increase visibility towards the masses. It would make sense for me to also host classes to teach people how to build their own brand. It would also make sense for me to sell office supplies, phone cases, t-shirts, or even business casual clothing that supports my industry. This is a great example of cross branding. All of these sources of income still support my sole business and connect to my vision.
Mixed branding - plainly put- are usually those that wear many different entrepreneurship hats because they have not identified what they are really passionate about. These sources of income usually do not connect, and often times, one brand can harm or conflict with the other.
One thing I absolutely cannot stand for is people who give up too easily. Our generation sometimes believes that IF SOMETHING DOES NOT WORK FOR YOU, THEN IT IS NOT FOR YOU. This is WRONG. If something does not work for you, often times, this only means you need to go back to the drawing board. Revisit your planning and business strategy. Try again.
Now here's one that my friends and I argue about all the time: AS A BUSINESS OWNER, I CREATE MY OWN SCHEDULE AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT, TRAVEL WHEN I WANT, PARTY WHEN I WANT, ETC. Now to some extent this may be true. As a business owner, I do create my own schedule, I organize deadlines and PR strategic planning for my clients, I manage content marketing, and submit a lot of important pitches, press releases, EPK's, etc. But any business owner also knows that even as an entrepreneur, we have to operate on specific timing. We structure deadlines to meet the productivity levels of our network. As a publicist, I have to be at my computer working during a certain time of each day because that is when journalists are more than likely to check their emails. I have to be careful with my time management in order to get things done for my clients. I also have to consider staying in rather than going out with friends so that I don't exhaust myself so much on tequila & tonic's that I cannot get up and handle my business the next day. So yes, I do create my own schedule, but I create it keeping in mind that my business must still come first. Business owners do not and should not abuse the "flexibility" that comes with our industries. With flexibility comes responsibility, and knowing when to "flex" this advantage is impertinent for business strategy and success.
Let's clear this one up for everyone who looks forward to the high life of owning a business. ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS NOT GLAMOUROUS. I think people get confused by what I do. Often times people see celebrities, red carpets, behind the scene access to events, etc., but they miss the part where I'm sitting on my couch with a half empty cup of coffee next to me, my hair half up in a bun & the other half looking wild as ever, my Despicable Me minion slippers, oversized t-shirt, and no make up on while doing work for hours on end. People miss the part where I show up to my client's photoshoots while they are looking amazing for their shoot, and meanwhile I am in the back with a BTS camera while wearing an adidas tracksuit and glasses. People miss the part where I go hungry for hours because I'm so stuck doing work and submitting content before deadlines that I forget to eat lunch. My business is not always glitz and glam. So do not become a business owner just for the photos and the hashtags. When real work is done, I look very treacherous. I make a joke with my friends all the time and say, "if you have enough time to post photos of you on the scene more than three times a day, 9 times out of 10, your job is Instagram; which is fine - but you do not do what I do. I handle the nitty gritty, and that's okay.
The biggest misconception that I want to highlight is the assumption that BUSINESS OWNERS DO NOT HAVE A PERSONAL LIFE OR WE ARE NOT HUMAN. I am a real person. I have feelings. I have a social life. I have friendships and relationships. I go through things. With this being said, I need and deserve an off day like everyone else. As an entrepreneur, we are sometimes to bogged down with the need to handle business for our clients and our brands that we forget to take care of ourselves. We forget those family birthday's that have really been on our calendar for months. We forget to take our vitamins so we don't get sick. We forget to pray for mental health. Sometimes, I even forget to tie my shoes, and then there I go tripping down the hallway on the way to my next meeting. My point is this, entrepreneurs need down time to get themselves together just like everyone else. I had to learn this the hard way.
My last and final misconception that I want to highlight is this: BUSINESS OWNERS DO NOT NEED HELP. I always stress the importance of my team. I have a great group of help in the form of interns, assistants and junior publicists. Each and every member of my team is important. JMPR truly cannot move without a team. Just because you are a business owner doesn't mean you always have it figured out. Every business figure at one point or another has had one or more people on their team who played a large role in the success of that brand. Do not expect entrepreneurs to do it alone.
If you are an entrepreneur reading this, I hope you take all these points as advice to not stress yourself with these assumptions people try to put on us as business owners. You do not have to make a million dollars within your first year of business. You do not need an investor - do it yourself, sis. You don't have to give up just because it didn't workout the first time or the second time or the third time. You are free to tell people "NO" if your business schedule does not permit it. You are allowed to have a personal life for your sanity.
Hope this helps.
Your Most Dependable PR Girl