The Three Biggest Myths About Starting and Running Your Own Business
And why you can totally do it too if you want to
Hi hi, I am Jackie, the Founder & CEO of Nearly Newlywed, the global destination to discover & shop the best of new and preowned bridal. I am also a writer, startup advisor and avid supporter of emerging and fun fashion. Since turning 35 and becoming a mother I have been trying to share more of myself and my experience with other women in hopes it can be useful and to also hopefully help debunk some of the myths about starting and running a business, and also often life in general. Social media and the internet is awesome, and the connectivity and support it brings, like hello here society gal! amazing… but it can also help perpetuate myths about perfection, ease and natural success that I think are damaging and counter productive to us all actually living our best lives, not #livingmybestlife
These are my top three myths about starting/running a business that I don’t just think are super true, but that I think bear remembering and practicing on a regular basis. I still remind myself of them, and my friends with businesses, brands and blogs about them. Because it isn’t always just finding the right advice or reading it, it is about practicing it until you believe it and staring down the cultural myths that keep us from moving forward.
So here they are!
Myth No 1: It Should Feel Easy/Natural if you are an ‘entrepreneur’
It not easy to start a business. And it’s not supposed to be. It isn’t easy for anyone.
There is this pervasive cultural narrative that some people are born to be entrepreneurs, and for them, success is written in the stars and it all comes naturally and it is just, natural/easy/built into their DNA. I don’t think that is true, not most of the time anyway. Certainly not for me :)
Even if you are naturally gorgeous for example, something that is a biological and visually perceptible gift, like Gigi Hadid, you have to learn how to take a great photo and you need to put the work in. Cindy Crawford is gorgeous but she didn’t work a photo or a runway the way she can now in the beginning.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t easier in some ways and for some people. It is, and that isn’t necessarily fair, but it wasn’t all easy or all overnight for anyone, even the most gifted for their trade like Gigi & modeling. She chose it and worked at it and perfected her craft and is now a supermodel and superstar. And it is the same in starting your own business or brand, whatever that may be.
So just start. Somewhere. Now (if you want to of course, you gotta want it)
Myth No 2: Being an entrepreneur is a sexy job.
It’s not Sexy. It’s not really very at all. There are sexy days but it’s a lot of hard, crappy, boring, stressful work. Most of the time, being an entrepreneur is like a job, its work. Truly. And I say this having met and talked to a lot of entrepreneurs, many that on paper (ie instagram and social media) seem to have the most fabulous lives and companies. There are very, very few daily parts & days that are sexy (but the sexy moments are awesome, so live for those but don’t expect them 24/7 or you will. be. disappointed.)
And to that end, the grass will always seem greener when you compare yourself to another company or entrepreneurial path.
Ask someone that’s raised 5 million dollars if their life is amazing and it’s perfect?
Nope. Burned through it too fast. Raised it too early. More worried about the feasibility of a lucrative exit.
Ask someone that’s bootstrapped and eating ramen?
That sexy paycheck and ability to invest in scaling faster looks pretty shiny. Debt collectors, laying off staff, choosing which thing to spend the last few dollars on, nightmare.
I don’t want to trivialize that growing a business and capital are varied and sometimes one idea and business warrants something else. Timing also often plays a large roll. But outside of those insan,e unrealistic, lottery-ticket-style, zero to a gazillion dollars in five months stories, the grass is almost always greener and none of those paths are all out sexy. So consider that when you are thinking someone else has it made and when plotting and navigating your own path.
Myth No 3: If you have a great idea and are a great entrepreneur, your business will take off and take off fast.
Success isn’t overnight, it just really, really isn’t. Since starting Nearly Newlywed I have had a lot of great achievements. Being on Shark Tank, twice featured in the New York Times, recently joining female collectives in NYC like The Wing & Female Founder Collective, hitting our first million dollars in revenue… and there have been others, but those are sprinkled throughout over six years of having started and run my business. And, many of them happened recently and in little clustered timeframes.
Big success is usually achieved with grit. And grit takes time. And grit isn’t an innate gift. It’s cultivated and practiced and probably what I’d say is the single most important thing for an entrepreneur to prioritize and develop. Its hard to start. Its even harder to stay at it.
You probably know all of this advice. And have heard it before. Most truisms in my experience around life and happiness and business aren’t rocket science or even particularly novel ideas or practices at their core. Most are like fitness. It’s not a one size fits fad that will do it all, there are principles that just work but they take time and effort and consistency.
Most importantly, they are things I have to keep reminding myself. Because the myths are very ingrained into the rhetoric of our culture and can be the psychological undoing of a lot of great ideas and businesses if you let them get into your head for too long.
So push them out, remind a friend, and do what you want to do. And remember it takes time and is hard work and thats normal.
And what makes doing it and succeeding, when you do, even sweeter.