In American society, we’re everyday inundated with so much media in the form of television, cinema, art, and journalism that it’s impossible not to get smacked in the face with archetypes of every kind. There are the age-old, generic ones: LeBron James is The Hero bringing Cleveland its first basketball championship; Harvey Weinstein is The Villain exploiting his power to take sexual advantage of actresses. Then there are more modern, action-specific archetypes like The Entrepreneur.
And because the roles of The Hero and The Villain have existed throughout all of human history, we subconsciously assign certain traits to both archetypes, and, despite it being a much newer archetype, so too do we associate certain behavior with The Tech Entrepreneur. But, while we’re likely to allow that heroes and villains come in a variety of forms, it seems that every entrepreneur in tech must fall into one of two categories: the socially inept genius or the hypercompetitive go-getter. The problem with these characterizations is that they’re incompatible, and, in reality, many entrepreneurs possess traits from both of those archetypes. So we’ve decided to dispel some goofy preconceptions about tech entrepreneurs and the life they lead. Here are 7 common myths we should all rid ourselves of:
If you’re a tech entrepreneur . . .
1.You’re a young white guy who rides a bicycle around the inside of his office building.
Actually, 500 women-owned businesses are started every day in the US. Actually, Baby Boomers are twice as likely to start a business Millennials. And nonprofits like Code2040 are making major headway in connecting top African American and Latino tech students with major companies in an effort to remedy tech’s diversity problem, and, in a greater sense, to bridge our country’s racial wealth gap. Below, you’ll find some graphs from Inc.’s “State of Entrepreneurship 2017”:
2. You wear the same outfit for two weeks straight and talk strictly in binary code.
As much as we glorify American eccentricity, it’s actually the well-rounded, socially capable entrepreneurs that stand the best chance of success. Unless you’ve invented something that will alter the course of human history, chances are you’ll have to be organized, willing to gamble, like to learn, like to lead, like to network, and not only be to accept failure, but be able to rise up from failure. Sorry if you’ve already bought a bunch of Steve Jobs turtlenecks.
3. Being your own boss means everyday is equal parts Shark Tank and Motley Crüe afterparty.
The daily grind isn’t glamorous. Being your own boss doesn’t mean that you’re 100% in control of your work day. Between the endless external factors that affect your decision-making, your unpredictable work schedule, the mini and major failures you’ll have to navigate, and your personal relationships that may suffer, life as an entrepreneur is no Hollywood script. Oh, and then you have to continually find enough people who will buy your product or service.
4. Or being your own boss means you’ve locked your personal life inside a tiny box and sent it out to sea.
We often hear mega-successful entrepreneurs brag about “sweat equity”—those 60, 70, or even 80-hour weeks that helped them get to where they are. But just because you’re working long hours doesn’t mean that you’re efficient with your energy, and thus efficient with your productivity. Of course, the ability sustain productivity over long work days will differ from person to person. Nonetheless, every entrepreneur should step back and reevaluate their daily routines.
5. Your product or service will make billions. Or you’ll fail miserably.
Yes, over half of new businesses fail. So that means that all of the ones that survive are raking in billions, right? Actually, as of 2014, the median revenue for small business revenue was just under $400,000. Fame and fortune shouldn’t be your #1 goal. Instead, think about your business surviving its first 10 years, because:
- 80% of businesses survive their first year
- 66% survive their second
- 50% survive their fifth
- 30% survive their 10th
As one of the nation’s emerging innovation and entrepreneurial centers, tekMountain strives to provide tech startups with the access to mentorship and funding that will help them survive all of the early shakeups. With over 40 startups in-house, we’ve built from the ground up a vast international network of likeminded, forward-thinking people that foster the collaboration we need to create the technologies of tomorrow.