By Dawn Mentzer – Solopreneur & Freelance Writer
On Sunday, I traveled out of town for the day to witness my niece’s baptism. During the pastor’s sermon, she talked about taking responsibility – and action – to effect change and progress. Wishing and praying are all good, but at some point you’ve got to put forth effort into “doing” something rather than “hoping” that it gets done. “You reap what you sow,” she said…in all aspects of life.
That applies to us personally and also professionally. And it’s precisely why it’s especially relevant to solopreneurs. Our personal and professional lives are so closely entwined that all the things we do (or don’t do) impact us full-force.
More significant, however, is that our actions – or inaction – can affect those around us. Others, too, reap what we sow.
Whether you’re embarking on starting a business or are already in business for yourself, you need to be aware of that and be sensitive to those who might be caught in the “cause and effect” of your choices.
Here are a few of the ways others might reap what you sow as a solopreneur and member of the business community:
- Lack of (or lower-quality) family and friends time – If you let business pressures consume you 24/7, you either won’t have time to spend with your loved ones, or you’ll spend time with them, but not be “present” mentally and emotionally. Evening meetings, administrative catch up on weekends, missed dance recitals or soccer games…
- Cash-strapped existence – If your business hasn’t quite taken-off in the financial department, those closest to you might be enduring some dollars and cents consequences. No dinners out, fewer packages at Christmas, no vacations…
- Guilt by association – If your business (heaven forbid) finds itself in a public relations crisis, you – and those most closely associated with you – will suffer the wrath of public opinion as well. Product or service safety issues, questionable accounting practices, verbal statements that alienated or degraded (intentionally or not) a person or group of people…
But it’s not all bad! Keep in mind that those around you also reap the good things that you sow:
- Accessibility – Depending what type of business you run, you might be more available to your friends and family because you’re not tied to an 8 to 5 routine. Long lunches with old friends, mid-day book-reading gigs at your child’s elementary school, being there when your aging parents need assistance…
- Respect – If you’ve made a positive name for yourself in the community, those closest to you will bask in the glow of your good reputation. Acceptance, good will, opportunities…
- Work ethic – Your desire and drive to achieve, while striking a balance between your personal and professional life, will inspire others to do their best. Courage to go beyond their comfort zone, willingness to take intelligent risks, determination to work hard for results…
The most important thing to understand and embrace is that as a solopreneur, you have a responsibility to yourself – and to others. Although there are always going to be events and circumstances beyond your control, you are the primary master of your actions or apathy. Use your influence wisely.
How have those around you been affected by your initiative and actions (or lack of)?
More on responsibility and Small Business:
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