The Entrepreneurial Myth is a well known phenomenon describing the mistaken belief that the ability to do something well such as carpentry, fixing cars or baking bread, automatically makes you capable of running a carpentry, garage or baker’s business.
And, one of the biggies that proves the existence of the myth is how many brilliant people are put off starting their own business by the thought of having to sell to people; it really makes some folk sick to the stomach. And, if you never sell anything then you don’t have a business. The myth seems to hold up.
Let me digress for a minute.
When I was much younger I loved tinkering with old cars; oh, wait a minute, I still love doing that. The difference in the old days, was that I stretched that love into actually buying and selling used cars at the cheap end of the market; I was pretty successful and enjoyed it immensely, but I never once had to sell a car.
The carpenters, mechanics and bakers who fail at business make one BIG mistake. They think that as soon as they are in business that they somehow need to act differently, or in the case of the baker, knead differently 🙂 That lame joke was only partly frivolous as many otherwise brilliant craftspeople, fall at the first hurdle thinking they need to be different now, that they have to learn to sell now, that they have to become a big business guy now…none of this is true and a lot of times can be the direct cause of business failure for one main reason…they took their eye off the quality of the product.
I didn’t have to ever sell a car because my cars were good!
You don’t ever have to sell your carpentry, web design, bread or car maintenance services until you let them become sub-standard and the time your most likely to do that is when society convinces you that you somehow need to change to fit your new business owner role.
When I say my cars were good, I chose them well, I stuck to a small range of models that I really understood, I fixed the problems they had, I made them look like they had always been well cared for and maintained and I never tarted them up. I wasn’t any better at business than the next guy, but my cars were honest and would stand up to any inspection.
My competitors were using all the old (and obvious) tricks like stuffing holes with newspaper and filler, using thick gear oil to quieten down rattly engines, removing the bulbs from warning lights on the dash, painting the tyres black etc etc.
In the end my cars sold themselves which is just as well because I not only hated the idea of selling (still do), but was totally hopeless at it.
Marketing is another subject all together. You’ll need to attract people to your freedom business before they can judge how brilliant you really are. It’s an art and a science and it can be a lot of fun. More on that next time.