Toxic entrepreneurship is plaguing this generation. The idea that the best way to be successful and create long-lasting wealth by “becoming your own boss” is redundant. Entrepreneurship is romanticized online but neglects to mention the drawbacks.
In today’s mainstream media, entrepreneurship is heavily miscommunicated. Bailey Maybray of The HubSpot Blog stated “While not all business owners are entrepreneurs, all entrepreneurs are business owners.” Entrepreneurs profit off of changes and innovations within the market, while business owners just own businesses.
Social media changes what being an entrepreneur means and promotes an unachievable dream.
Toxic entrepreneurship content creates a false perspective of entrepreneurship and glorifies it. While it’s normal to be envious of others, it’s important to navigate social media with caution. View content with a grain of salt and understand that people are only showing the highlights. It’s hard to remember this when you are constantly overwhelmed with “self-made influencers” that inspire people with their lifestyle in such a harmful way.
In addition to harming people with misinformation, toxic entrepreneurs also harm the influencers they use to promote their products. Social media marketing is a common tactic of toxic entrepreneurship. A big part of social media marketing is influencer marketing, where a company will sponsor an influencer’s video to promote their product, hoping that the audience would be influenced to buy said product.
In Feb. 2022, TikTok user @luceroyesy posted a video warning people about a company she was collaborating with. The creator was sent contact lenses and when she put them in, her eyes began to get irritated. She believed that she was the issue until she looked into the lenses’ case, and saw a green-brown, moldy-looking substance forming at the bottom.
The company she was collaborating with was a small contact lens company by the name of Just4Kira. @luceroyesy wasn’t the only creator to be affected by Just4Kira. Another woman by the name of MariaNicole took to YouTube to discuss her bad experience with the brand, sharing that after receiving four different lenses and trying them all, her eyes hurt. She claimed that Just4Kira is not listed as an approved medical device by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), even though Just4Kira claims that its ingredients are all FDA-approved.
Brands immorally sell faulty products to gain a profit and grow their “empire.” “When toxic entrepreneurs value money over people, they fall into the ‘whatever it takes’ trap. They place success at the core of their values. That makes it easier to ignore how their actions affect others,” says Jessica Wildfire of The Apeiron Blog.
Toxic entrepreneurs don’t only sell harmful products, but false lifestyles. We hear every day how people are unhappy with their careers and feel that it’s too late to explore other career options and opportunities. People prefer to take the easier route of staying in an unhappy situation rather than starting back at square one, which is understandable. We are often told that work is not supposed to be fun, but why not? Why is enjoying your work and being passionate in your career field such a foreign concept in society? Why put all your coins in one basket just for the basket to inevitably break?
In some cases, people’s subjection to these insufferable careers stems from a lack of self-understanding. What do you like to do? What don’t you like? Discovering things you are interested in can allow you to not make that into a business, but to explore other career options. With hard work and dedication, the same characteristics needed to start a business, you can potentially be content in your career.
The stigma behind working for someone else is also extremely biased. People’s unhappiness within other jobs, whether faulty management, upsetting working conditions or discontent in their careers fuels the idea that they can do better themselves. Entrepreneurship is falsely promoted on social media, making it feel like an end-all solution, consequently fueling toxic entrepreneurship.