Just about everyone has considered the idea of being their own boss. In fact, it’s safe to say that those who aren’t willing or able to take the entrepreneurial plunge have daydreamed of it at least once or twice, especially when feeling overworked, frustrated, or unappreciated at work.

Being An Entrepreneur Doesn’t Give You A Golden Ticket

One of the more popular shows on network television, Shark Tank, has turned entrepreneurism into competitive reality entertainment, with prospective entrepreneurs presenting their ideas to a panel of wealthy and accomplished “sharks.” It’s hard not be enchanted by the idea of leaving a ho-hum job in a cubicle or behind a counter and riding a brilliant product or business idea into an early retirement. However, as with many professions that are glorified on television and in movies, becoming an entrepreneur is not a golden ticket to wealth and success, and there’s certainly no guarantee of success. Becoming your own boss also means you’re now the boss, and the buck (and everything else) ends at your desk. Projects and tasks that may have been handled by other professionals or even separate departments at your old job are now on your plate, and all of the freedom you expected to enjoy when working for yourself may really just mean the freedom to work longer hours and take on more responsibilities.

Ask The Right Questions

Of course, being an entrepreneur isn’t awful – in fact, we think it’s a wonderful thing, and we love to see others take the proverbial plunge. That being said, it’s important to know what you’re getting into from the offset and, perhaps more importantly, where to seek help when you’re overwhelmed or at a loss what to do next. You’ll likely be asking a lot of questions, and knowing where to seek accurate and helpful information that answer your questions in the right way can make a huge difference in the success or failure of your new career.

Seeking Out the Right Sources

While it may seem like busy professionals may be unable or unwilling to share their knowledge and wisdom, the opposite is actually true. Most successfully business people enjoy sharing the knowledge and wisdom they’ve accrued throughout their careers, and with the growing popularity of business-oriented websites that present freelance content like Inc.com and Forbes, business seminars and business development courses like our very own Go Ahead. Dream Big., and thriving blogs, social media services, and online communities like LinkedIn and Facebook Groups, there’s never been more opportunities and platforms to both share and acquire the information and insights you need to succeed. However, it is also important to remember that the democratization of publishing has also lowered many of the barriers that once existed between legitimate business experts and those seeking to take advantage of would-be entrepreneurs with costly and often bogus or unhelpful guidance and information.

Investigate Your Sources

It is always a good idea to investigate the source of the information you gather, which shouldn’t be difficult. Most articles, blogs, and LinkedIn posts include either a bio or a link back to a social media profile with a bio. Plus, be wary of writers who seem to be only presenting enough information to get you to purchase an expensive book or class. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a business professional monetizing this sort of sharing, most reputable authors, speakers, and coaches will allow their credentials and client testimonials to sell their products, rather than trying to rope in customers with dubious or over exaggerated claims. Finally, before you make a commitment or alter the course of your business plans based on advice provided by a fellow entrepreneur, it is a wise idea to either corroborate the information through other sources or to seek out additional information on the subject. While competent business people and entrepreneurs generally know what they’re talking about, it’s a bad idea to make a sizable or significant investment based on advice that may turn out to be risky or questionable.

In our next post, we will discuss the most effective ways to ask business experts questions online.