Myth: If you own your own business, you can spend less time at work and make more money.
Reality: “The truth is you’re working all the time. When you’re not working, you’re thinking about it,” says Diana Kander, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Kauffman Foundation. But if you love what you do and you’re following your dream, it makes a gigantic difference.
Myth: It takes a lot of money to start a business.
Reality: “Every business I ever started was less than $1,000 and in some cases under $500,” says Scott Gerber, Young Entrepreneur Council founder. Getting a toll-free phone number, a company email and a website can cost under $300, he says.
Myth: There’s no capital.
Reality: Banks and some large corporations are accumulating billions of dollars, unwilling to invest or hire because of economic uncertainty. “There could be as much as $3 trillion or more waiting to be unleashed,” says Andrew Sherman, who teaches entrepreneurship and business at the University of Maryland. “I don’t know when the levee will break—maybe sometime this year. But when that levee breaks, there’s going to be a lot of money available for small and midsized firms.”
Myth: You’re either a born entrepreneur or you’re not.
Reality: While it’s true that it’s not for everyone, you might catch the entrepreneurial bug at some point—or you may need to start a business someday, perhaps due to unemployment. Some 5.5 percent of the self-employed in 2011 had been unemployed the prior year. Compare that to 3.6 percent in 2006. “Really, this was their only option,” says Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. Says Gerber: “When your back is against the wall, you’ll be shocked at what you can do.” Some seniors find themselves at 60 or 70 needing income, yet can’t find a job. “Who’s going to hire someone at 70? They find themselves starting businesses,” Sherman says. Other retirees do it anyway, but not because of forced circumstances. “It’s a robust time for baby boomers to be starting businesses. Remember,” Sherman says, “they have resources. If it takes $100,000, they’ve got it.”