There can be a lot of misconceptions about what being an entrepreneur means. Does it mean staying up to 4 am, crushing red bulls, and writing production-level code? Or maybe it means cold calling every local business and delivering a well-rehearsed sales pitch. From The Social Network to Silicon Valley, the media has certainly dramatized aspects of the lifestyle of an entrepreneur. So what does it actually mean? Well it certainly doesn’t have to mean being an E6 expert or practicing a Don Draper sales pitch. So let’s debug some common misconceptions about entrepreneurship

     1.) The business will succeed if you solve a real problem.

Unfortunately this isn’t the case and startups are inherently risky. Even if you create a product that solves a problem that people have, it doesn’t mean that customers will pay for it, or that there won’t be competition in the space. Here’s some stats about the success rates of startups:

  • About 70% of startups fail in their first years
  • 1% of startups that raise seed become a unicorn



     2.)  Being the founder of a company will make you more financially successful than an employee

In many cases, an employee of a high trajectory company can make just as much as more as a startup in the same industry, while exposing themselves to a lot less risk.


     3.) You can’t make a significant impact on the world as an employee of a large organization

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are many, many cases of employees within large organization who employed entrepreneurial thinking and developed revolutionary products. For example Bret Taylor created Google Maps when there were 1,000+ employees and Justin Rosenstein was credited with creating the like button at Facebook when there were 250+ employees. The fact is that user base and stability of a large company can create an environment where it is easier to test new ideas.


    4.) The everyday life of an entrepreneur consists of product launches and exclusive press releases.

While everyone has a different idea of what the lifestyle of an entrepreneur should be, it definitely isn’t filled with pushing the big red launch button all of the time. The reality is that being a founder of a company means wearing many different hats – which means long hours and high stress.


I hope this has cleared up some of the misconceptions of entrepreneurship and I’d like to conclude by saying entrepreneurial doesn’t have to mean founding a company. Every problem can be solved through an entrepreneurial mindset. If you take the tools and skill set that you learn through the entrepreneurial curriculum here at the Mason School of Business, you can apply them to wherever your career path takes you.

**Ideas from this post were taken from Sam Altman’s and Dustin Moskovitz video lecture