We love to valorize the entrepreneurial spirit. Using your own ingenuity and savvy to provide something that people need is one of those bedrock beliefs about society that you take for granted. If it's not striking out on your own because you're inspired, it's the legend of the hustle — working a million gigs to string together a career that's all yours.
Lots of people who might otherwise go out on a ledge and start their own businesses hang back, though, and researchers at Penn State University think they may know why. According to a new study, we may be more intimidated by barriers to entry than we should be. "There is a real strong connection between well-being of people, economic growth, and entrepreneurial activity," said coauthor Abdullah Konak. "There are a lot of reasons why people don't want to become entrepreneurs, but one of those reasons is that they see barriers."
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In many cases, the researchers found that simple exposure and education can go a long way toward knocking down those barriers. "For example, take a simple step, like registering a business," said Konak. "One lesson we use is to have the students go to a government website and search for company names and whether the business they are visualizing is registered. Then, the students learn the steps of what it takes to register a business in Pennsylvania."
If you've got an idea and would like to take that leap, don't be afraid to ask even the most mundane questions about how it all works. Once you see a business in action and understand its moving parts, taking the risk you want becomes a whole lot easier.