Americans have come to view entrepreneurs as heroes. The image of the modern entrepreneur is our equivalent to the heroic vision, in another age, of the knight in shining armor. By their nature, heroes must be surrounded by myths telling of extraordinary difficulty and courage in overcoming overwhelming odds.
The purpose of this book is not to minimize the achievements of successful start-ups or their founders. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize that many of the tales of the enormous difficulties associated with achieving success are often just myths. By encouraging us to believe that entrepreneurs have scaled superhuman heights, these myths discourage many of us from attempting to realize our own start-up ambitions. These fairy tales have convinced us that people who are unwilling or unable to risk everything they own, to work 90 hours a week for years, to raise millions of dollars in start-up funds, and to immediately hire a large workforce are unlikely to succeed as entrepreneurs. This is just plain wrong.
Here are the central myths about starting your own substantial business:
- It can’t exist, because I haven’t seen it in the newspapers.
- Extraordinary risk is essential to success.
- The size of the employee parking lot matters.
- Real businesses are funded by venture capital.