The Urban Dictionary defines the word “solopreneur” thusly: “An entrepreneur who works alone, “solo,” running their business single-handedly. They might have contractors for hire, yet have full responsibility for the running of their business. ”
I personally have been a solopreneur for close to five years now. I wouldn’t change anything about this workstyle, but it does have its issues. (Believe me, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks by a margin of about ten to one.) Having said all of that, I would like to talk about solopreneuring. A few pitfalls that I have encountered. And, how you can possibly avoid these pitfalls.
Hopefully, this article will help you decide to jump in and solopreneur yourself, or at least give you enough information so that you decide to pass it up and move on to something else.
Let’s start off by talking about my history and how I got into solopreneuring.
A Bit Of History
You can read more about me here on the About Page on this website. In a nutshell, let me tell you my story.
I have a varies career history, but for some crazy reason it breaks up into sales and marketing, on the one hand, and teaching, on the other. My last “job” was as a mathematics teacher at the high school level. I loved teaching, but hated a few things too!
Specifically, I hated being in a big organization. Especially the public school system, which is more like a giant Alice In Wonderland clone than a real educational system. I was closer than I wanted to be to the nonsense, too, because I let my much loved principal talk me into being the department head, It’s amazing how few levels you have to rise in Education Land to get into a Strawberry Fields world, where “nothing is real”. Just for the record, I adored the teaching part!
While being a teacher, though, I discovered that you could do more with the Internet than just send emails. I discovered the whole world of internet marketing. For a few years, still while teaching, I made extra money mainly as an Amazon affiliate. Interestingly, as I made more and more money as an Amazon affiliate, what I call my Inner Entrepreneur started screaming to be let loose.
One summer about five years ago, I just couldn’t take it any more. I was slated to go back to work in a few weeks. I picked up the phone and called my vice principal. I told her I wasn’t returning.
But then…how was I going to make money?
What I Do As A Solopreneur
As soon as I hung up the phone, my mind went into overdrive trying to formulate a game plan. I already had, kinda sorta, a game plan. I mean, I had been dreaming about this day for literally a few years.
I took stock of my skills, search engine optimization, a certain skill with what was then called Google Places, and I had a ton of online writing experience. (I had over 700 articles published on EzineArticles. I still make money from them, after all this time!)
So, I went into business helping local businesses navigate the Internet. Didn’t take me long to land my first client, either. About 2 hours in fact. I did this by cold calling local opticians to see who needed work on their website or Google Places listing. Why opticians? Who knows? But I got an appointment that same day, and the next day I walked out of the appointment with an $800 check in my hand.
We’ll talk at the end of this about what you can take away from all of this. Having said that, I think taking massive action will top the list!
Problems With Solopreneuring
Now I was my own boss! I could set my own hours, and work as much or as little as I wanted to.
Well…one thing is I worked way more than I did in my job. Of course, not having a 45 minute commute each way helped. And, not having to wake up and shower and shave until mid-day helped, too! The thing about working in your pj’s is really true. It’s very appealing!
Handling fulfillment and prospecting for new business was an issue though. I would normally get a client, then forget about sales and marketing while I worked on that client’s project. After I was done, I had nothing in the pipeline.
That still goes on, by the way, but in a much more manageable form.
Another issue was just my inexperience running a business. And since I was a solopreneur, I really didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. I made all the classic mistakes, besides forgetting the keep the marketing funnel filled, that is. Everything from not putting aside nearly enough for my taxes to getting so lost in new projects that I lost site of the main goal.
I course corrected. I worked hard to overcome the challenges. I still do! I wouldn’t change this for the world, though.
My main business, which is a product creation business in the Internet marketing niche, has allowed me to have a lifestyle I only before dreamed of. It’s also been responsible for me making friends with really cool people from all over the world. (You see, there are others like me and we tend to find each other via social media.)
Had I to do it all over again, I would definitely do it all over again!
Taking The Plunge
So, you’re still here! You’re still reading this! Well, I’m guessing that might mean that this topic is of interest to you. The big question people ask me is how do they cross the proverbial abyss and go from employment to fulfilling self-employment?
I would love to answer that question! Truth is, I don’t know!
Me? I just got fed up and decided to throw caution to the wind and take the plunge. I can’t in good conscience recommend that you do that. I personally landed on my feet and thrived. I don’t know if you will.
Tell you want, though. There is someone you can ask about this. Yourself! One of the big things I’ve learned being a solorpreneur is to trust my intuition. It has never let me down. If you’re interested in this, I would suggest you sit down in a quiet place and just ask yourself who it is you want to be and what is it that you want to do with your life? The answers will come (along with the means) as soon as you start honestly seeking them.