I’m sure you’ve heard the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, I’d like to create my own that says, “It takes a community to become a solo success.”
I’ve been a solopreneur for 6 years now, but I was starting to think it was a bad idea. I loved being my own boss but the need to do everything myself was driving me nuts. I had to learn soooo many new things and it was starting to kill my confidence and creativity.
Although the term ‘solopreneur’ makes it seem like you’re working alone, I want you to reconsider. Just like raising our kids, building a business should not be done in isolation. You no longer need to be the martyr toiling away on your lonesome and second guessing every idea you have.
I did a survey recently for a new book project. I wanted to know more about business owners and their tendency to overthink their ideas.
Firstly, it was a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one that needs to check in for a stint at ‘Overthinkers Anonymous’. But secondly, I saw that over 60% of respondents were doing everything themselves even though the majority of them had been in business for over 2 years.
I realise when you’re first starting out this is the often your only option. Funds are scarce and you’re busy trying to get your head around all that is required. But this need to do everything can become a little addictive. We forget that it’s OK to ask for help and start to offload some tasks so we can focus on the creative and development side of the business.
So if you’re sitting there wearing your solopreneur badge with both honour and dread, here are a few reminders that will help you shake off that feeling of overwhelm and allow you to come out to play for a while.
Isolation isn’t necessary
You may be working from home but that doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit. Get yourself out of the house or out of your office and back into the real world as often as you can. Mix with other people, go to events or organise a meet up. It doesn’t have to be formal, it could just be a cup of tea with some business buddies.
The trick is to meet with people who get what you’re going through and understand the ups and downs of business. Friends are awesome, but they don’t always understand the journey of entrepreneurship. Getting you back in touch with other likeminded humans will give your spirit and motivation the boost it needs.
Collaboration is key
Collaboration does not have to be formal contracts and joint ventures. It can be simply talking to other business owners and sharing your ideas in way that benefits both parties. For example, I’m writing this post for HerBusiness. I get to share my ideas, they get to share vast amounts of awesome content with their audience and it’s a win win for everyone. The same goes for podcast interviews. I love being interviewed so I can share my insights and the hosts love to bring a different perspective to their audience.
Of course, collaboration can be much more, but if it’s freaking you out this is a great way to start. Collaboration also allows you to build relationships and broaden your network which will continue to open up new opportunities as your business evolves.
Autonomy is overrated
Independence is awesome, until it isn’t. Rather than spending months worrying or stuck about a decision, reach out for help. Hire a coach, engage a mentor or become part of a mastermind or business community. Having someone else there to give you guidance, support and a different perspective will save you time, money and angst in the long run. I’ve engaged many different coaches or mentors over the past 6 years and their support has been invaluable. These people will change as you do and as your business evolves. Seek the level of support you need and trust that your confidence will grow as you do.
Outsourcing is necessary
There are only so many hours in each day. Do you really want to spend hours doing jobs that no longer excite you or that can be done better by someone else? You can start small by outsourcing small jobs via sites like Upwork or Fiverr.
For example, I wanted to get some recent audio interviews transcribed but it would have taken me hours. A few minutes on Fiverr and I had a transcriber ready and willing to do it for me. I also outsource my bookkeeping and accounting even though I come from a Finance background. You can outsource design, tech or customer support. You’ll save time, dollars and sanity.
Creativity needs space
If you’re spending all your time working in your business, you have no time or space to get those creative juices flowing. Creativity needs space away from the busy work so be sure to regularly get out from behind your desk and go for a run, walk the dog or do something that lets your mind settle.
Creativity also comes from talking to others, collaborating and discussing your ideas. Without creativity in your business you’ll run out of ideas and start to feel stagnant. We all need to evolve and so does your business, so please give yourself time to create that.
I want you to become a success. So if you’re one of the many brave solopreneurs out there wanting to make a difference, be sure to give yourself the space and support you need. This is not the time to be standing fiercely in your solo status. It’s time to seek the support of your community to give your business the insight and upbringing it needs.