The evil rich. Those much maligned 1%-ers. They made their millions off the backs of the working poor, right? Or, they inherited their parents money and spend their time globetrotting around the world like your typical trust-fund baby. Maybe most of them are Wall Street types who in are bed with both Democrats and Republicans, embodying everything that is broken with government today. Who knows, maybe they were just lucky? I mean, somebody has to win the lottery, right? WRONG.
Undoubtedly, there are people who meet the descriptions above. If all you watch is cable news and social media, you might think virtually ALL rich people meet those descriptions. The funny thing about the truth, though, is that it exists whether you know it or not. Facts are facts, and ignorance doesn’t change them. In their phenomenal #1 bestseller, The Millionaire Next Door, Drs Thomas Stanley and William Danko extensively document the profile of an average millionaire in America. Among other things, they note the following:
Average age = 57
Approximately 66% are self-employed
Approximately 75% of self-employed are entrepreneurs (the remaining 25% made mostly of professionals like doctors, lawyers, etc…)
By in large, financial success (net worth above $1 million) in America belongs to those who own their own business. And not always big businesses – small to medium size businesses make up the majority of success stories. So, why don’t more people start their own business? There are more reasons than I’ll address here, but there are several lies about business ownership that people have accepted as truth – let the debunking begin.
Lie #1 – You need advanced education/training to own a business. TRUTH: Education is helpful, but not required. You do need to be highly education about the inner workings of your business, and the products/services you sell, but formal education is a luxury, not a necessity. Your passion and commitment to being successful trumps your education level – every time.
Lie #2 – Starting your own business takes a lot of money. TRUTH: It depends on what you are starting. If you’re talking about a huge, multi-national franchise then, yes, expect to dole out a million dollars or more to get started. But, most of the time, that’s not the case. If you are self-employed, the start up costs may be very minimal – in the hundreds or low thousands of dollars, depending on what you do. Starting a home-based, or network marketing business usually costs only a few hundred bucks to get up and running. And make no mistake, that is a legitimate industry and growing every minute. The internet has revolutionized business – ALL business. If you’re serious about owning your own business, coming up with a few thousand bucks should not take very long.
Lie #3 – Owning your own business takes up a lot of your time. TRUTH: Actually, this isn’t a lie. Don’t kid yourself – owning your own business DOES take up all of your time. At least it does in the beginning. But, if you build your business correctly, you will eventually leverage your time through other people (employees, contractors, partners, etc…) and systems you put in place in order to free up your time. After all, what is the point in having a lot of money without the free time to enjoy it? The most successful business owners work their business, but they don’t allow it to consume them.
Those are 3 lies that keep people from starting their own business. I’m sure there are more, but in 15 years of owning my own these are the 3 I have spent the most time refuting. However, there are other lies about business ownership. These lies are typically rooted in jealousy/envy or justification as to why that person doesn’t own their own business. The list here could probably go on for days, but here are a few of the most popular:
Lie #1 – Business owners are greedy and materialistic and only care about themselves. TRUTH: The most successful business owners are servant leaders, putting other people’s needs first. Self employed people and small business owners often go WITHOUT a paycheck in the beginning. If they have employees, the business owner only gets paid after everyone else. They are fulfilling a need in the marketplace and by providing VALUE, they reap a reward. The more people they help, either with a needed product, service, or opportunity, the more financial gain they get. Welcome to Economics 101.
Lie #2 – Business owners take advantage of tax loopholes, and that’s not fair! TRUTH: There is no such thing as a tax “loophole” – that is a completely made up term to generate anger and resentment. These are simply legal incentives written into the tax code to incentivize business growth and development. Now, are there some really dumb tax laws? YES. Remember, though, business owners don’t write the tax code – we just follow it. It takes a while to make money in business, and just when you think you are about to turn a profit, you get to file your franchise tax. Then you pay your payroll taxes. And insurance premiums. And unemployment tax. And worker’s comp insurance. And quarterly tax estimates. If anything, small and medium size businesses need more “loopholes,” not less.
Lie #3 – Business owners take advantage of friends and family to make money. TRUTH: Where do I begin with this one?! News flash: every time you spend money at a business, someone is making a profit! Just because you ask friends and family for their business doesn’t mean you are taking advantage of them! I commonly hear this as an objection to not starting a home based business, but it happens with brick and mortar business opportunities as well. All businesses – ALL – succeed based on your hard work, the systems you put in place, and the VALUE you provide to others. If you don’t understand how a business actually works, take the time to educate yourself.
Do you own your own business? Have you thought about starting one? Quit thinking and start doing! Start it part time and on the side if you have to. Follow your passion, provide value to others, and start pursuing your own dreams instead of building someone else’s. Are there other lies about business that I didn’t mention? Leave a comment below and share with your friends!