Like all myths it’s very far from the truth.
Any entrepreneur who tries to do it all alone is likely to learn the hard way that regardless of how talented or clever you are, there are simply not enough hours in the day for you to succeed when you are working totally alone.
Like all myths the assumptions surrounding entrepreneurs are largely unspoken and so can lodge themselves in your subconscious, just waiting to trip you over. They include:
• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ just do it.
RESULT: If you can’t do it alone, you must be inadequate.
• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ instinctively know how to succeed
RESULT: You can’t ask for help without losing face.
• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ are supermen /superwomen.
RESULT: If you are an entrepreneur you must be the best at everything you do. This is particularly damaging for entrepreneurs who are also hands on parents, such as mumpreneurs – the pressure to be the best in both areas can be incredibly destructive.
• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ work alone 24/7 for years to succeed, and may fail many times before they succeed.
RESULT: Overworking and poverty are almost carried as a badge of honour, and it’s still seen as somehow suspect to not work at least 6 days a week and late into the evening.
• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ are always on their mobiles, wheeling and dealing, never missing a chance.
RESULT: You must always be available, on the end of the phone or email, day or night.
The reality is that everyone has particular strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others, and by working within a team you balance each other out to create a strong ‘whole’. Solos are inherently weak, and by working in a team you can also achieve a good work/life balance more easily, something that is essential not just for you, but for the health and wellbeing of the people around you.
Teamwork will also help you avoid burn out, one of the greatest (and unspoken) issues facing entrepreneurs. Burn out occurs when you push yourself too hard without adequate downtime, and can lead to a number of problems, including poor judgment, low productivity, and developing an aversion to your business, which is obviously very bad for you, your business AND your reputation.
So, the myths that entrepreneurs fly solo, overwork by inclination, and are ‘superbeings’ are very bad for your health and your longterm prosperity if you buy into them – you have been warned!
Written for The Coaching Academy, 2010