The impression of an entrepreneur’s life is often shrouded in what I call fictitious facts. These are facts that have some truth to them but are distorted in some way. In my work, I have encountered this often and at times I’ve even fallen prey to the notion that the entrepreneur’s life far outweighs that of a 9-5 worker. There are undeniable benefits to being an entrepreneur, but it’s hard work and not for the faint of heart. Entrepreneur duties can be vast, and if you are running a solo business, you’ll find yourself wearing multiple hats. Here are a few fictitious facts I’d like to dispel so that you have the right hat for every occasion.
Fictitious Fact: Isn’t There A Grant For That
One of the major hats you will wear is as a financier. You will be responsible for financing your business, staying on budget, breaking even and hopefully making a profit. You’ve probably heard through the grapevine that you can get a grant to start your business. It’s kind of true.
There are different types of grants available to businesses, but many of them are geared towards non-profits or businesses serving a need to a disenfranchised group. Although they are highly competitive, there are those grants that cater to women entrepreneurs such as the Amber Grant and the Tory Burch Capital and Fellowship Programs. You can search grants by state at Grant Watch.
Thinking about launching your own business? Before you leave the 9-5, start an entrepreneur savings account and put back a little each paycheck to build up your entrepreneur nest egg. You will need it for essentials such as building a website, purchasing goods and promoting your brand.
Fictitious Fact: If I Build It They Will Come
If you build it they will come, but only after you have done a series of other things as well. This is where your marketing hat will come into play. You will build a website (or hire someone to do it), create promotional materials to spread the word, as well as devise a digital strategy including social media and ad buys.
Merely believing you can do any one of these things alone, and build a blooming business, is just a dream. There are many tools to help you get started from your Microsoft software to online entrepreneur havens such as Canva and Sprout Social. Many sites such as these either offer free versions or free trials. Give them a try!
Fictitious Fact: I Like It, So Will They!
In the first few years after Oprah left her popular daytime show, she was sure that she would have immediate success with her OWN Network. But unfortunately the network’s popularity didn’t come right away. But a lesson she learned was to know what the people want and meet them where they are. Brand strategy is essential to any marketing campaign that you develop. Start with research. Know your business, market and product.
“You have to meet people where they are and love them at the level they can receive it.” – Oprah Winfrey, Founder and CEO of OWN Network
Fictitious Fact: Friends and Family Are My Best Allies
Without the financial support of family and the emotional support of friends, I would not have been able to accomplish everything that I did. Family and friends can be a tremendous resource and promoter for your business. But it is important to understand that family and friends can only do so much, and in some cases they can be a hinderance.
Sometimes those closest to us try to protect us and avoid being brutally honest, even though it is needed. Maybe your cheerleader mom doesn’t get why your macrame bags aren’t flying off the shelf, but a retail expert might have words of wisdom for you. Your best friend might need a job, but does she have the skills you need for your business. Time to don that management hat!
Don’t blur those professional and personal lines. It could be detrimental to your business. Don’t ditch the support of family and friends either, supplement it with advice of professionals or a business mentor. Most cities have a Small Business Administration (SBA) that offers counselors to aspiring entrepreneurs. Give it a try!