A “solopreneur” is an entrepreneur who works alone, or solo. I’ve heard variations of this definition, but it’s really as simple as that. Having been a solopreneur myself, I would recommend to other entrepreneurs that you go solo at least once in your career. Being truly on your own can really teach you a lot not only about yourself, but also about the aspects of entrepreneurship you like and are good at. Plus, that solo experience may help you work better with partners in the future. If you’re thinking of starting a business by yourself, then consider these issues that I learned to look out for in my time as a solopreneur.
Focus vs. Burnout
As an entrepreneur, focus is important and self-regulation is tough, though it comes easier to some than others. As a solopreneur, focus is essential because the buck stops with you — so get really good at it If you’re not already. But too much focus can cause burnout, especially if it looks like things are not getting better. If that’s the case, concentrate on small wins and modest improvements, and find an accountability partner to help you gain that perspective.
Things you don’t like to do, but your business needs
To use a personal example, I hate bookkeeping, so I find creative ways to avoid it. But it’s an important, though not urgent task that can make or break my business, so I get it done. For me, scheduling works. When it comes up on the schedule, I’m as hard on myself as I need to be to avoid procrastination and complete the task at hand.
Things you don’t know how to do, but your business needs
Don’t set things aside just because you don’t know how to do them. This is especially important if you’re dealing with government forms. Delegate, outsource or take a crash course. I prefer delegation, which, in the case of a solopreneur, is most likely the same as outsourcing. But if you can’t afford to do that, try to barter with a subject matter expert in exchange for providing one of your skills, or just buckle down and develop that skill yourself.
Feedback and Accountability
I’ve found it’s useful to have a sounding board, but working alone, it’s hard to develop one. You don’t have a board of directors yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create one among friends and/or colleagues who have similar experiences and that you trust. Obviously don’t share your detailed intellectual property and trade secrets if you’re not comfortable doing so, but you can always discuss high level issues and strategies. Sometimes just a different perspective will jog your brain to help discover new creative solutions to any problems you face.
Soloprenuership comes with unique challenges, and this list is by no means complete. But don’t let that discourage you – sometimes the only person who needs to believe in you, is you. And with that belief, your venture may grow into a rewarding and fulfilling business. As you grow, remember that you’re not alone. We can help you fill out any roles you’d like to delegate.