I think we should start telling our young people that getting into business is hard.
Let’s stop pumping them up, “Go for it, kid. This is awesome. This is going to be the best thing you’ve ever done. If X can do it, you can do it too. You’re going to smash it.”
Fact is, most first-time entrepreneurs wish that someone had told them how hard it was going to be. Ideas are a dime a dozen. When real-life replaces daydreams, researching, experimenting, taking on customers, building a team, gaining wisdom, and getting cash in the door are all awfully difficult. Most self-employed people put in very long hours and worry about their work, even outside of work. Entrepreneurship simply isn’t for everyone.
In recent years, we’ve seen more young people diving into the startup realm. Yes, young entrepreneurs have lower opportunity costs and a better sense of the new generation’s needs. But they don’t have the network, mature frame of mind, industry insight, and adequate financial resources vital to success. Indeed these factors are why older entrepreneurs tend to have a substantially higher success rate.
Let’s stop creating false hopes for young people who don’t realize how difficult business—even a one-person-shop—is. Yes, encouragement is essential, and it can go a long way in helping people succeed. However, let’s lend support to reality and not a myth.
Idea for Impact: If you have the entrepreneurial itch, don’t become quickly sold on tales of grandeur.
Don’t build a startup to become a trend.
Don’t quit your day job yet—especially if your business idea is a spin-off from your present occupation or you intend to turn a hobby or a particular interest into a thriving business.
Don’t give up that steady paycheck until after you’ve built a side hustle.
Don’t listen to the superstars.