There's a misconception that keeps those with dreams of owning their own business from following their dreams. It's a misconception that's not only false but dangerous to the small business community. It's not true that every entrepreneur sits in a rundown apartment somewhere in Silicon Valley, eats boxes of cheap "mac and cheese" and stays up all night building the next big startup. Most entrepreneurs aren't living in poverty hoping to someday sign the papers for millions of dollars in funding only to see their dreams become the next worldwide craze.

SEE: The 10 Greatest Entrepreneurs

The real landscape of entrepreneurship is much different and the reality is more mainstream than the model seen in the movies. According a Kauffman Foundation study, entrepreneurs are more likely to be between the ages of 45-54 and of minority descent. They may be starting businesses as second careers, but even those entrepreneurs don't paint the right picture.

Another misconception is the notion that businesses have to start with a "bang," which could mean lots of time, quitting your day job, sacrificing family time and taking a big personal and financial risk on a dream that may not succeed and burden you with large amounts of debt.

In fact, many business owners start their businesses as side ventures. They don't quit their day jobs, but instead use the skills they've learned to start a side businesses. They aren't expecting these businesses to pay the bills, but they don't limit themselves on growth either. Starting small keeps the startup costs low. If it does fail, they have lost very little. How do you start a side business? Here are a few tips.

Make It Scaleable
So you love to cook? You could start a restaurant that will take a full-time commitment and a lot of money or you could start a weekend catering business or a mobile food truck. A business where you provide small services on your own schedule can grow as much or as little as your time allows. Look for those opportunities while you're starting out.

Limit the Formal Marketing
You want to gain business, but investing in large marketing efforts could have two negative effects: you could waste a lot of money on a campaign that produced very little business or it could produce so much business that you don't have the time to handle all of the orders. Instead, focus on word-of-mouth advertising and let the business grow debt free.

SEE: Starting A Small Business

Compartmentalize
If you're going to keep your day job, try not to mix the two businesses. The job that pays the bills and offers health insurance and a retirement package deserves the bulk of your time and energy, even if you've lost some of the passion for that position. Then when you get back home, concentrate on your side business.

Don't Expect It to Be Easy
Before starting your side business, consider your expectations. If it's going to be a part-time effort, expecting to rival your full-time competitors in the first few years is unrealistic. You don't have to be the biggest to find fulfillment. Having the expectation of doing something you enjoy while making a little extra money is a healthy and appropriate goal.

The Bottom Line
If you have dreams of starting a business, don't fall for the misconception that you have to quit your job and put all of your time and money into your idea. Instead, start small and see where the business takes you. Starting a business for the enjoyment of doing what you love is just as noble of a pursuit as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur starting a dotcom is.

SEE: 5 Common Small Business Mistakes

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    The 10 Fastest Growing Green Startups in 2016

    These social entrepreneurs adopt triple bottom lines that champion urgent environmental problems while generating returns for shareholders.
  2. Retirement

    Roth IRAs Tutorial

    This comprehensive guide goes through what a Roth IRA is and how to set one up, contribute to it and withdraw from it.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Multilevel Marketing Isn't Always A Scam, But It Often Is

    Nerium and Amway are popular direct sales companies that recruit new buyers and sellers to make a profit. Sadly, many direct sales firms are scams.
  4. Professionals

    Is A Stockbroker Career For You?

    Becoming a stockbroker requires a broad skill set and the willingness to put in long hours. But the rewards can be enormous.
  5. Professionals

    Broker Or Trader: Which Career Is Right For You?

    Both brokers and traders buy and sell securities, but there are some subtle differences between the two careers.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    10 Characteristics Of Successful Entrepreneurs

    Do you have the qualities of a successful entrepreneur? Those who do tend to share these 10 traits.
  7. Investing

    5 Up and Coming Social Media Startups

    Although the days of Facebook's dominance aren't close to being over, here are some new creative platforms gaining traction on the worldwide web.
  8. Investing News

    Public Vs. Private Tech Valuations: What's Driving the Divide?

    The gross valuations over the past five years are more indicative of the market than the true value of the company itself.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Moderna Therapeutics: An IPO Candidate in 2016?

    Find out the reasons why 2016 may be the year when highly valued biotech company Moderna Therapeutic files for an initial public offering (IPO).
  10. Personal Finance

    Don't Sign That Non-Compete Without Reading This

    Non-compete contracts aren't just for high-level execs these days. How to protect yourself if your employer – or prospective employer – insists you sign one.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Do working capital funds expire?

    While working capital funds do not expire, the working capital figure does change over time. This is because it is calculated ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does escheatment impact a company?

    In recent years, state governments have become increasingly aggressive in enforcing escheatment laws. As a result, many businesses ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How much working capital does a small business need?

    The amount of working capital a small business needs to run smoothly depends largely on the type of business, its operating ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What does low working capital say about a company's financial prospects?

    When a company has low working capital, it can mean one of two things. In most cases, low working capital means the business ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can mutual funds invest in private companies?

    Mutual funds can invest in private companies, which may come as a surprise to many investors. It is rare for a fund to have ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center