3 Myths About Entrepreneurship - Inching towards an office with a view
I remember receiving a card with a picture of a hippopotamus standing on the edge of a diving board. The inside of the card read, “Congratulations on taking the leap of faith.”
The beginning is like that.
I subletted a tiny office with no windows, which symbolized the personal absence of light. There was no Plan B for me, just some insecurity and profound fear of failure. At that time, I reasoned that any office was better than no office at all. There was an element of certainty woven into my decision-making, and not going for it would have felt worse than going for it. That’s how I knew I was on the right path.
Now that I’m here (read: light-filled office in downtown Boston), I’ve reflected on three myths that slowly crumbled as I pursued the entrepreneurial path.
MYTH #1: ENTREPRENEURIAL WORK IS ALWAYS FULFILLING
There’s a mystique around entrepreneurism that suggests passion is always fulfilling---that somehow when you’re an entrepreneur, you immediately go for the dream and you won’t settle for anything less.
That’s simply not the case.
I started working with children and adolescents not because it was the dream but because it fit my professional comfort level. I paid for all business overhead, and lived with a roommate in an apartment that hadn’t been renovated since the mid-1980’s.
It was a time to live meagerly, when any income went directly back into my practice. I pushed away voices that said, I should be making more money or I should be more successful.
The thing is you’ve got to start somewhere and, all too often, entrepreneurs spend money they don’t have or conclude failure because they expect fast returns. Instead, I took baby steps and experienced incremental (and sometimes explosive) growth.
Sometimes we’ve got to concede in order to gain experience; or pay the bills; or work in a crappy city; or take a part-time job while we build our side hustle.
I gave up material security in order to be my own boss, so that one day I’d have the pleasure of getting up for work everyday (whenever I wanted), and merge my career and calling into one.
MYTH #2: ENTREPRENEURS SHOULD HAVE SPECIFIC GOALS
Goals change over time. And if they don’t, you’ve invited stagnation.
As I got older, I began to build confidence and was better equipped to handle adults. I slowly transitioned my practice to meet the demand, and because the co-creation happening in the therapy room was something really powerful.
I found myself calling upon my personal experience, connecting with adults the way two people who speak the same foreign language do. Without sharing my story, they could tell I understood theirs.
A therapeutic relationship is one built on trust, and can revolutionize inner transformation; I think when people work with me, they sense that authenticity.
Had I clung to my early (very specific) goals, I wouldn’t have experienced the career satisfaction I do today. It’s an example of how the Universe presents you with opportunities that are outside of your periphery (and goal charts).
MYTH #3: KNOW AND RETAIN YOUR CLIENTS
Clients discontinue therapy with me over time, only to return throughout the years during their transitions. My job is not to cling to my clients, but to empower them so they don’t need me anymore.
Running my own business is the same. It means knowing the market, demonstrating flexibility in the face of shifting needs, and mobilizing my practice. When you pull the trigger, things can happen quickly. Know when it’s time to seize the opportunities so you don’t pigeonhole yourself (and your clients).
I became an entrepreneur to pursue my fullest potential; and that means following the ever-changing nature of business and people.
Want to learn about five more myths? Checkout what Entrepreneur.com has to say.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valentina Verani is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, and registered yoga teacher who runs her own private practice based out of Boston, MA. Her advice has been featured in Boston Magazine, Dr. Oz's The Good Life magazine, Medium, and Well+Good. She is a wife and mother of two who has traveled the world and enjoys spending time with her family on the South Shore and Cape Cod. Valentina loves lying in savasana at her local yoga studio. For more about Valentina, visit her website and Psychology Today.