The biggest challenges as a solopreneur
Working for yourself and on your own seems like a dream come true. You can manage and grow your business the way you see fit. No one can talk you into it and you don't have to worry about employee management.
In the United States, such solo self-employed people are often referred to as "solopreneurs". The word is a combination of the two terms "solo" and "entrepreneur". It refers to a person who acts in an entrepreneurial manner, i.e. recognizes and courageously seizes opportunities - and does so alone and without a team. The term is closely related to the Lean Startup idea, which is about shortening planning processes: just do it and go to market as quickly as possible, get feedback and learn from it.
As a solopreneur, however, you also face some challenges that entrepreneurs who work with teams and partners usually don't have to deal with. These range from not being able to exchange opinions with colleagues and partners to possibly being overwhelmed given the workload you have to handle alone.
We have compiled some of the biggest challenges you face as such a lone wolf and how you can overcome them below.
Combating possible loneliness
One of the biggest challenges is not having a team to easily collaborate and share with.
Even if you're solo self-employed, that doesn't mean you have to do everything on your own. Seek out business advisors and mentors and schedule regular calls and visits. Share ideas with like-minded people. This will prevent you from feeling isolated.
Organizing time properly
There are only 24 hours in a day - 25 if you skip the lunch break - goes the saying. The hardest part about being a solopreneur is that you have to divide your time between sales/marketing and delivery, finding the right balance.
It doesn't help if you spend a lot of your time trying to acquire new business, but can't complete it on time due to lack of time. On the other hand, it is also not wise to focus fully on getting things done without worrying about future orders. Additionally, constant back and forth is detrimental.
Define blocks of time for each task. This will allow you to fully concentrate on what needs to be done at any given time.
The sheer number of marketing, tracking, operations and service tasks can be overwhelming.
Record tasks to be completed on a to-do list and prioritize them. Each evening, schedule the most important three to five tasks for the coming day that must be completed no matter what. If there is still time after completing these tasks, you can tackle other tasks from your list.
A Kanban board is a brilliant visual tool that provides an overview of the current work status and contributes to the optimization and continuous improvement of any business process. Visualizing work on a Kanban Board increases productivity and eliminates chaos in your workplace. Use the Kanban board in Merlin Project to prioritize your tasks.
Solopreneurs rely heavily on their skills. But they also need to learn the areas of business management that are not core competencies. As a result, they quickly get bogged down in the pursuit of knowledge and skills, tying up time unnecessarily.
Focus on the purpose of the business and devote the majority of your time to it. Missing knowledge can be compensated for, if necessary, thanks to the help of third parties.
Don't hide your light under a bushel
Many solo self-employed professionals struggle to sell themselves to their clients. They can't convey their value and the benefits to the customer.
You started your own business because you are convinced you can offer something that others need. Write down at least 10 ways you add value to the people you work with. As an aside, you can also use these arguments for your branding and marketing.
Network with like-minded people
Whether you just started your business or have been a solopreneur for a long time, self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy can creep in when you least expect it.
Find an industry peer or colleague and schedule regular meetings. This not only allows you to share best practices.
Learning, participation and networking are important
There is not just one "biggest challenge," there are several. Always keep the following guiding principles in mind:
- Continue to educate yourself: Make sure you are always learning, keeping up with new trends. This will keep you meaningful, timely and relevant.
- Contribute: Volunteer, join a club or teach.
- Network with others: When you contribute and learn, networking usually takes care of itself.
As a solopreneur, you have all the freedom you need and are accountable to no one. However, you should still not isolate yourself from others. Exchange ideas with others - networking is one of the most important aids to successful work. Accept help in areas you are not comfortable with. Pay attention to your time and task management.