Entrepreneur Quotes to Ignore

Entrepreneur quotes… there’s a lot of egregious fiction (lies) about entrepreneurship in today’s social media. Some are uninformed, some are merely funny… and some can bankrupt you.  Here are my “favorites”.

“I’m starting my business because I want to be my own boss”

So you actually started your business and now you’ve discovered the awful truth.  You have as many bosses as you have customers.  Worse yet, if you’re really succeeding, you’re getting stuck with more bosses and they’re becoming more demanding. In a highly regulated business the regulators also want to show you “who’s the boss”… and they can.  Not like customers, because they buy your products, but because as regulators they can say “no” and make it stick.

“I work for myself because I want to control my own destiny”

Just when you thought you had a handle on the moment your world changed.  Your competition one-upped you.  The economy braked hard and your customers don’t have any money.  You’re being dissed in the social media and it’s hammering your online sales.  And many, many more.

As an entrepreneur you can decide your own destiny… if that means giving up and going home.  But if you’ve got grit, you left the fiction of controlling your own destiny in a trashcan (please tell me it wasn’t labeled “recyclable”).  You face business facts, and fit your business to the real world.

“Entrepreneurship is about risk-taking”

The “entrepreneurs” who swallowed this fiction are now former entrepreneurs.  The rest of us are trying NOT to take risks.  Here’s some information about the way real (read, surviving) entrepreneurs minimize business risks.  This is one of those entrepreneurship ideas that are downright dangerous because you might take it literally… and that will bankrupt you.

“We’re teaching <pick_your_demographic> how to be entrepreneurs”

Entrepreneurship can’t be taught. If it could, Harvard and Stanford would have taken over the Fortune 500. Videos and podcasts may be inspiring; books may be informative; that very expensive curriculum you’re halfway through may be teaching skills and helping you make contacts… but it’s not teaching entrepreneurship. It’s teaching building blocks… and not the most important ones, by any means.

(One recent news article showed a group of kids with a group of investors; the kids were learning box-checking and presentation skills. Nice exposure… now let’s have them start lemonade stands and really learn about business.)

Entepreneurship can’t be taught… but it can be learned.

“The top 10 <pick_your_geographic> for entrepreneurs.”

Oh, really? Now, go visit Kickstarter and punch in a location… any location.  In every state there are entrepreneurs hard at work building businesses. The truth is, they’re everywhere.  If pressed, I’ll admit that the best place for an entrepreneur is next to a customer.

“Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle.”

Oh, come on.

Let’s speak a little truth to each other. You hope your customers are running your business; you’re dodging the destiny elephants; you spend a lot of time minimizing or side-stepping risk; you’re learning from experience… every day; and you don’t need an entrepreneurial lifestyle because you already have a life… that you’d like more of.

Don’t believe anywhere near everything you can read in the social media’s entrepreneur quotes.

Want Something Useful and True That You Can Read Right Now?

Here’s something that’s somehow escaped much of the blogosphere.  But it’s truth you can believe and use right now.  The essentials of entrepreneurship are  known as business tradeskill.  We’ve posted a series about it, starting with a definition of the elements of tradeskill.




  1. Carol Orris says:

    Way to address these popular myths! So often, we are told that to be in business for ourselves means we are accountable to no one. On the contrary, we are accountable to our customers to provide excellence in every service or product we offer. It takes grit, and determination to run a successful business.

  2. James Ojuok says:

    This is hitting the nail right on the head. Most of us go into business with this kind of mindset, unfortunately we never get too far. Training young entrepreneurs on this facts is so essential and I hope this reaches many people. Kudos!

  3. Are these your own quotes? Loved this one
    “I’m starting my business because I want to be my own boss”
    Brilliant Website!

    • Chris Chadbourne says:

      Robert, no, they’re not my quotes; they’re quotes I’ve often heard from others. It’s sad to hear people write and say those kinds of things, because the reality of starting and running one’s own business is so different.

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