Fed up of corporate world? Getting fired? Want to turn your passion into a real business? For whatever reasons you may have, solopreneurship often comes up as an answer. However, here’s the cold, hard truth. It’s not for everyone.
Some who have embarked in to the journey were giving up and went back into the corporate world. The blog post you are reading right now is my attempt to help you turn your dream into reality. Okay, let’s do it, shall we?
Do you really know what a solopreneur is?
Many who are entrepreneurs often don’t realize that they ARE solopreneurs. They are different from what the world thinks about entrepreneurs: Those who drive in fancy cars and always on the phone with someone. Solopreneurs are often your guy or gal next door with big ideas and passion about what they are doing – and they are doing it not for a boss.
Solopreneur = going solo
Solopreneur is, well, going solo with your entrepreneurial journey. While others are forming a partnership, looking for funding, setting up an office with cool equipments and fixtures, and launching a million-dollar startup, solopreneurs love the idea of starting small and staying small.
Typically working alone, some solopreneurs do have their own team, typically suppliers, freelancers and other sole proprietors who can help and complement their business.
Some solopreneur career paths include copywriting, web app building, consulting, flower arranging, home staging, and many, many more.
A case study: Me!
I am a solopreneur. Plus I work from home, online. I don’t have a workplace to go to. I, in fact, am location independent – I can work anytime, anywhere I want. I can do everything my way – I love the freedom and it’s more important for me than multi-million dollar annual revenue.
Yes, I am willing to trade money with my freedom.
Instead of adjusting my life to my business, I do things the other way around; I build my business around my lifestyle.
I’m not a lifestyle entrepreneur just yet, but I am on my way 🙂
I am running a web business from my laptop. As long as I have an Internet connection, I’m good to go.
I build and run websites of any kind: Blogs, directories, and so on. I have many roles: I am a blogger, webmaster, web designer, web programmer, online influencer, and Internet marketer.
I wear many hats – I develop content; I manage clients; I promote my business; and so on – and when I’m overwhelmed and burnt out, I just outsource a task or two to my trusted network of freelancers.
What does it takes to be a soloist?
Passion and interest of what you are doing are not enough – you need more than those two to be a successful solopreneur. How so?
It’s simple – just like in any kind of business, things are not always positive; there are ups and downs along the way, and when you are not starting your journey right, you might end up giving up because everything is so different from what you envision things to be.
The right mindset
Yes – the first and foremost thing you need to have is the right mindset. You need to have (many) myths debunked and fundamentals covered before you embark on your journey.
You also need to manage your expectations – lying around on the beach while having your business run by itself is a possibility, but you need to do many things right in order to do that, including the right choice of business niche and develop the right system to run yours.
Most of the times, you are required to work long hours to get things started up, and that’s including weekends; you need to spend many sleepless nights to devise a plan to grow your business; you don’t have a sick pay – if you sick, you might not be able to make money for the day; are you ready for such obstacles?
To get things smoothly, check out this small list of articles you need to read BEFORE you get started into solopreneurship:
The tools of the trade
Okay – passion, checked. Mindset, checked. Now you need tools to make things happen.
Depending on your niche, you might need different sets of tools. To give you some ideas, here’s a cool solopreneur infographic released by UniTel Voice – click on the infographic for a larger version:
‘got all revved-up? I’m sure you do. But take my advice: The best thing a solopreneur can do is to stay grounded and manage your expectations. The upsides are obvious: Freedom, independence, and so on. But you need to know the challenges, as well.
Highlighting the challenges doesn’t mean that I am a skeptic; I’m not – solopreneur is a dream career for me and I wouldn’t trade it with any kind of career – especially 9-to-5 jobs!
I feel the need for me to give solopreneurship challenges its own section, simply because many entrepreneurs adopt “just do it” mentality. I like that, but I like a “managed” version; I like the “just do it… with extra care” mentality.
For me, there are two challenges every solopreneur will face, eventually:
You have to wear many hats
This is an obvious – you can’t escape it. Going solo means you need to manage everything from product development to accounting to marketing. Sounds exciting? Well, if you are a great multi-tasker, this might be a great entrepreneurial career for you.
For those of you who want to be a solopreneur, be warned – you might end up busy putting out fire, rather than growing your business.
The best solution for this is via outsourcing; you can definitely outsource your back office activities – doing accounting, managing receipts, handling phone calls, and so on. Subscribing to services like what BackOps.co is offering or hiring a virtual assistant will definitely get you back on track (growing your business) in no time.
It’s pretty lonely up here…
When you are doing everything all alone, you tend to isolate yourself from your community. This can be very lonely, at times. You definitely need to network with like-minded people, both online and offline.
This video can pretty much describing the challenges you have to face, including the solution available:
Have a peek into solopreneurs’ lifestyle and learn from them from this online newspaper:
Are you ready to launch your solopreneurial career?
So, are you ready to take action? I’m sure you do.
It doesn’t take a giant leap to start… just take baby steps and be sure that chances are, you will suck on your first try. No worries – you will learn along the way and improve the quality of your products and services.
Just be sure you do your due diligence to ensure that you are starting up as smoothly as possible.
Good luck in your solo journey!