7 startup myths perpetuated by Hollywood

Whether it’s HBO’s Silicon Valley or ABC’s Shark Tank, we have always had a love affair with the startups and entrepreneurs behind them. Launching a business and going from rags to riches is a huge part of the quintessential “American Dream.” Unfortunately, as Hollywood tends to do, they’ve glorified certain aspects of the startup culture and created a number of myths that simply aren’t true.

1. Good ideas mean success

Ideation is not necessarily indicative of success. This is a principle that most people don’t realise. They assume that development and monetization of a good idea is easy. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. It’s possible to have a good idea and still not be successful. There are hundreds of other factors that come into play and you must be willing to work hard to transform your idea into a tangible product that’s worthy of being purchased.

2. The perfect team = your best friends 

We all have this idea of working with people we love. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend the work week with their best friends? And while you may have some talented friends, it’s not always smart to mix business and pleasure.

When you have a group of friends working together, it’s easy to get distracted. It’s also hard to correct each other without fear of offending or damaging personal relationships. That’s why it’s important that you reach beyond your inner circle and find co-founders and workers who aren’t just convenient, but also talented.

3. You get work in an awesome office 

You know a startup has officially scaled beyond anyone’s wildest expectations when the company is able to afford one of those lavish Silicon Valley offices that’s complete with trendy furniture, open layouts, cafeterias, and perks. While it’s possible that you could have one of these offices one day, you certainly aren’t going to start out with one.

More than likely, your first office will be located in one of the following places: a musty basement, cramped living room, hot garage, or dilapidated office park. You simply won’t have the funds to pay for the space and amenities that you would like to have.

4. Growth is fast 

Every startup grows at its own pace, but you shouldn’t expect to reach six or seven figure sales in the first few months. It could take years to reach this kind of revenue, and it’s important that you remain patient. Don’t get discouraged by a slow beginning and take full advantage of every opportunity you have to learn.

5. Young talent supersedes experienced professionals 

You don’t have to be a young, hip millennial to work in a startup environment. In fact, there’s value to be extracted from mixing and mingling age groups and demographics. In this sense, diversity creates stability and enhances creativity. While young talent is valuable, consider hiring some experienced professionals. A lot of times, the latter are better suited for getting your company off the ground.

6. Startups let you travel the world 

Somewhere along the line, people developed this myth that entrepreneurs are afforded insane amounts of flexibility and freedom. And while this is true to an extent – you do have the ability to set your own schedule – you aren’t going to be travelling the world anytime soon. Instead, you’ll be working 50, 60, or 70-plus hours per week. Sleep is the only other thing you’ll have time for.

7. You Have to Raise Millions of Dollars 

Because of the popularity of funding shows – such as the aforementioned Shark Tank – many entrepreneurs operate under the false assumption that you must raise millions of dollars to grow. Once again, this isn’t true. Not only is it possible to self-fund using a variety of creative methods, but every dollar of venture capital money you receive is a portion of your business you’re giving up. Don’t wish for things you don’t want!

Balance Your Expectations 

Are there instances in which an entrepreneur launches their first startup and quickly grows it into a million-dollar company within months? Sure, but there are plenty more instances of slow, modest growth. It’s imperative that you balance your expectations and don’t believe the Hollywood-inspired myths that permeate today’s culture.

Feature image: Gnaphron via Flickr.

Anna Johansson


Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Ventureburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.