People used to think the Earth was flat. (And some of them still do, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary!) Given this fact, it’s not difficult to see how stubborn business myths would persist. If you want to be successful, unlearn these six silly beliefs ASAP.
1. “Think positive.”
No amount of positive thinking can change reality. If you wear rose-tinted glasses all the time, you’ll develop blind-spots that could cripple your business.
You’ll fail to notice technological advances that could make your product or service obsolete. You won’t be aware of competitors who could steal your market share. Your business may implode as a consequence of excessive optimism.
For a better balance, combine “optimism” with “productive pessimism.” I’m not saying you should expect the worst. But you should be mindful of potential threats that could undermine your efforts. Otherwise, you might not realize those dangers exist until it’s too late. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2. “Pursue your passion.”
Passion makes life exciting. It feels good to participate in a task, hobby, or activity that gives you a sense of purpose. That said, passion doesn’t pay the bills.
I’m passionate about fitness. This led me to launch an online coaching service. While I wasn’t an awful fitness coach, it also wasn’t my strongest skill or talent (which raises the difficulty of converting leads into customers).
A few years later, I became a freelance writer. I’ve been writing for thirteen years — four of them professionally — so it was easier for me to market this service. Persuading people is less difficult when you can present yourself as an expert or authority figure.
This doesn’t mean to do work you hate. No amount of money is worth a miserable existence. However, you should build your business around a combination of passion, innate talent, and profit potential. If you get that intersection just right, you won’t have a hard time finding clients or customers.
3. “Timing is everything.”
There are exceptions. If you identify an opportunity to capitalize on a trend or technological advance, pounce on it. Assuming that isn’t the case, there’s no such thing as a “best time” to start a business.
You’ll always be struggling with something. That could be a divorce, job loss, financial hardship, or death in the family. Teach yourself to move forward despite these struggles. Obstacles will always be present. Don’t fear them.
4. “Build it and they will come.”
I cringe every time this statement is uttered. How did this become an inspirational quote? It’s nothing more than an excuse for laziness. You can’t host a concert, fail to advertise it, and expect an audience to show up. That’s idiotic!
The same fact applies to starting a new business. Your clients and customers won’t magically land on your website. That requires a lead generation strategy. If you’re not intentionally driving traffic to your website, don’t expect to close a sale anytime soon.
5. “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
You’ve never built a website in your life. You couldn’t even name the common coding languages (much less figure out how they work). Your computer skills are limited to typing, Internet browsing, and answering emails.
If that sounds familiar, you have no business designing your own website. You’ll waste hours on a website that looks shoddy at best. It’d make more sense to invest in a quality web design from a trained professional.
You’re not a writer. You have no idea how to write eye-catching headlines. You’ve never published a blog or article for public consumption. Your writing has been limited to note-taking and private journaling.
If that describes you, it makes no sense to write your own content. Words have power. You need to know what triggers influence people to click “Share” or “Buy Now.” Otherwise, your efforts will be wasted.
6. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
This business myth deserves an eye-roll. I’m sorry, but how unrealistic is that? Every business involves back-end tasks that aren’t fun. If you expect to “love” every second of work, you’ll set yourself up for huge disappointment.
I write for a living. Writing itself? I love it! But my freelancing business requires me to do several tasks I don’t enjoy. For example: I’m not a fan of writing pitches, answering emails, or submitting invoices. But if I didn’t do that stuff, I’d go broke in a hurry.
Maybe someday your business will become so successful that you can outsource all of the tasks you find deplorable. Until then, embrace those necessary evils. You might not “love” them. But your business will benefit from the work. Do what needs to be done (not merely what you want to do).
If you want to provide your friends with a reality check, share these business myths on Facebook and Twitter. They’ll appreciate the advice.
Read More Articles by Daniel Wallen:
- 10 Things Highly Effective People Don’t Do
- 5 Painful Business Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make
- Freelancing 101: How to Set and Negotiate a Rate You Can Live With