10 Truths About Entrepreneurship That Will Surprise You

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While nearly 20% of the country is out looking for a job, take the road less traveled: start a company.But before you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, there are a few misconceptions that need to be set straight. 

Elizabeth Edwards, author of Startup: The Complete Handbook for Launching a Company for Less, reveals some surprising truths about self-employment.

1. Health insurance is a lot cheaper (and easier to get) than you think.

According to eHealthInsurance.com, a 30-year-old can get health insurance for $50 per month -- and it may be even better than the coverage you get with your employer's plan.

2. Startup finance is personal finance.

The most important thing you can do to ensure your success as an entrepreneur is to get your personal finances in order.

Why? Because initially, your take-home pay as an entrepreneur is going to be, on average, half of your normal salary, so you need to curb your expenses. The more you cut, the longer you'll last.

3. New is not necessarily better.

Not every new idea is a good idea. You may generate 100 startup concepts before you find one that will work.

At the very least, do some back-of-the-envelop calculations to help determine whether a business model is feasible before you risk your life savings on it. Here are a few ways to test an idea for profitability and feasibility.

4. VC's are not the biggest source of funding for startups.

The vast majority of companies are financed by the entrepreneur themselves (bootstrapped) or through loans and investment from friends and family.

For any entrepreneur with a profitable business model, there are hundreds of sources for financing -- the trick is to find the best (and cheapest) source of capital.

5. Most startups run out of cash before they run out of time.

Don't get billed to death by your lawyer, designer, and web developer before you even launch. Most of the things that you would pay someone thousands of dollars to do, you can do yourself.

Get a do-it-yourself guide to personal finance, feasibility, branding, marketing, advertising, PR, IT, and business law. Spending a few bucks on a do-it-yourself startup book will save you tens of thousands on professional services.

6. The first few years are gruelling.

In the first two years, entrepreneurs work almost 50% longer hours than their employed peers. Even worse, on average, their take-home pay is about 50% of their former salary.

Plan accordingly and make sure that your personal finances are in order -- and that your spouse or significant other is on board.

7. In the long run, entrepreneurs are wealthier.

On average, entrepreneurs earn twice as much in income as their employed peers and have six times as much in net worth.

While the first few years might be tough, it's worth it.

7. Initially, you'll be flying solo

90 per cent of companies don't hire employees in the first year, so the home office will be a little lonely at first.

Keep your relationships fresh and develop new skills -- you're going to need them. From accounting and IT to marketing and sales -- it's all you.

9. You'll have more security and flexibility as an entrepreneur.

10. Execution is the number one predictor of success.

Bill Payne, famous entrepreneur and angel investor, has sage advice for entrepreneurs: talk to customers.

Find customers, create marketing and distribution channels, and make sure that there are folks on the other end willing to buy what you're selling. Business plans are great, but it's great execution that brings home the bacon.

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