Now that technology allows us to receive information in a moment’s notice, it is easy to access the knowledge we need with a simple swipe or click. However, sending Google off on a digital errand is akin to opening Pandora’s box, ensnaring undesired, highly glamorized information in the search results. Unfortunately, this can lead to an unrealistic representation of any given topic.

When it comes to business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, digesting the content that is out there can be a constant struggle. ‘Entrepreneurship porn’ portrays stories of highly successful founders that can do more harm than good. It can lead to expectations that are realistically beyond reach, ultimately setting entrepreneurs up for failure.

Media Does Not Portray a Real Picture of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are in the spotlight more than ever before, most notably due to the influx of television shows showcasing startup stories. Reality shows such as Start-Ups: Silicon Valley and TechStars portray common themes about entrepreneurs and their companies. The idea that startups are mostly in the tech industry; are valued at millions, sometimes billions of dollars; feature young, successful leaders; and originate on the coasts are a few recurring themes of these shows.

In reality, only a small fraction of founders will experience the same level of success as serial entrepreneur, Elon Musk. However, stories of modest startups with founders who can still enjoy a fulfilling life are downplayed, which in turn makes that avenue seem fruitless. Another commonality among some big name entrepreneurs is that they dropped out of college to focus on their startups. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, both dropped out of Harvard. Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College shortly before starting Apple, and Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, dropped out of New York University. While these individuals went on to become billionaires, most startup founders are not that lucky. A college degree could come in handy in the event a startup doesn’t take off.

The Social Media Effect

Numerous studies have shown that social media can have a negative effect on self-esteem. By looking at friend’s and colleague’s social media accounts, it’s easy for individuals to compare their lives with what’s going on in other people’s lives. With a whopping 72 percent of adults using Facebook, most of which are engaged with the site on a daily basis, it’s easy for them to feel bad when their accomplishments don’t measure up.

Social media makes it incredibly easy for startups to communicate with their customers and showcase their successes and achievements. By rarely sharing downfalls, followers only perceive a glamorized version of these businesses. It’s easy for budding entrepreneurs to compare themselves to these success stories and think they can’t make it..

Expectations Are Through the Roof

A great deal of myths are circulating about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Many of these false beliefs have turned would-be startups away from a venture that could have been profitable. David Rye’s book, How to Start and Operate a Business: Winning the Entrepreneurial Game, talks about the most common myths out there. The idea that entrepreneurs are risk takers, motivated to get rich, and give little attention to their personal lives are a few myths that are debunked. These traits are not inherent in all professionals, but assuming there is a need to possess them could stop entrepreneurs in their tracks.

With TV and social media playing an integral role in shaping how people view what it takes to be an entrepreneur, founders place high expectations on themselves, feeling the need to aspire to levels that were never the goal in the first place. Instead of taking everything in stride, there is a constant need to keep up.

This can be damaging to the potential success of these startups. Founders would do better to ignore the hype and consider their business and growth potential with a sober mind. Preparing for what just may be a grueling moonshot will make success even sweeter if and when it comes.

2017-06-19T15:02:34+00:00 February 8th, 2017|Blog, Finance|0 Comments

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