Myth 1: You need money to start a business
Nonsense, says Walker. You need an opportunity and a sales order. Then you need the passion and the drive to ensure you’ll succeed. When Walker started Student Express, she was divorced and heavily mortgaged. Walker worked double time, keeping her day job for five years after launching Student Express. She used her VISA card to lease office space and buy furniture, and hired one manager to oversee operations.
Myth 2: Entrepreneurs are lone wolves
“I had 250 school buses,” says Walker, “But I could only drive one bus.” It’s the people and the team that will build your company. Walker worked hard to create a culture of inclusiveness at Student Express by giving her staff the respect and direction that inspired them to do their best each day. One tactic Walker employed: continuously soliciting the ideas and advice of staff on everything from their jobs to customer-service issues.
Myth 3: Entrepreneurs are born, not made
It helps to have the right instincts, says Walker, but like musicians, entrepreneurs must want to play, must enjoy what they do and, above all, practice to do it well. Walker spent years in the corporate world before seizing the opportunity to start Student Express. Her leadership abilities were learned on the job. Successful entrepreneurs, she says, continually seek out opportunities to learn.
Myth 4: Entrepreneurs are risk takers
Instead, entrepreneurs do their homework and seek input and advice from others before committing to something. Still, they’re not afraid to follow their own instincts, “even if it leads into uncharted waters,” says Walker. “My greatest risk was not to take advantage of the opportunity of Student Express when I saw it.”