By Rieva Lesonsky

In many ways, when you start a business you are making a declaration of independence. So with the Fourth of July approaching, I thought I’d take a look at some myths and realities about just how independent you’ll be as a small business owner or entrepreneur.

When you start a business, you’ll be your own boss.

Reality: As an entrepreneur, you have many bosses. They’re called your customers, and sometimes each of them will be so demanding, you’ll wish for the days when you only had one boss telling you what to do.

When you’re an entrepreneur, you can do things however you want to do them.

Reality: No one acts in a vacuum. If you want your business to be successful, you’ll need to test your own ideas against what the market wants. Market research before you start, and customer surveys after you start, will tell you if the way you want to do things is in tune with what the market wants.

When you’re a small business owner, you’ll have a lot more free time.

Reality: Every small business owner I know is laughing maniacally as they read that. If you expect to have more free time than you did as an employee, you’re going to be disappointed. Prepare to work twice as hard and twice as long.

If these are the realities of owning a business, why does anyone do it? Well, these aren’t the only realities. Being an entrepreneur does offer plenty of opportunities to be creative, set your own course and do what you want to do (just not all the time). Being an entrepreneur is kind of like what they say  about having kids or joining the Marines: It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love. And if it’s right for you, you’ll know it—and you’ll love it.