Boo! What’s Most Terrifying About Being a Solopreneur

Fear. I think every solopreneur feels it to varying degrees throughout the stages of their careers. And with good reason; starting and running a business can be scary stuff.  You have elements of uncertainty. You have to work hard – really hard.  You have to deal with things that are sometimes out of your control (personally, that’s the one that frightens me the most!).

As Halloween creeps up on us, I thought I’d share a few of the ghoulish and gruesome challenges solopreneurs face as we establish and build our businesses.

Face Your Fears: The Most Terrifying Things about Being a Solopreneur

Putting Yourself Out There – Networking

This is paralyzing for some solopreneurs. They hesitate to put their best foot forward for fear of sounding conceited, and they dislike networking.  No, not everyone is a “salesperson,” but you have to get out there (face to face and via social media) to build connections and let people know about the value you offer.

Dealing with Numbers – Business Financials

Business financials are spooky to many of us.  Heck, my hands got all cold and clammy just writing this.  When you run a business, you have to learn some of the basics though. You might also want to get the help of a book-keeping professional – even if only to periodically check your Quickbooks or other platform to make sure  you haven’t made any errors.

Wondering, “Am I good enough?”

Especially when starting a business, you might feel trepidation at competing with other solopreneurs and businesses who have been around longer than you. How do you get over that? Confidence and competitive research. Take stock of your strengths and capabilities and learn whatever you can about your competitors to discover what makes you unique and gives you an edge.

Too Little Work. Too Much Work.

If you do a lot of project work as a solopreneur, you might experience cycles of feast and famine. Not having as much work as you want or need can lead to some nervous nail-biting. But having too many projects at one time can also be hair-raising. How do you find the right balance? While not all of it is within your realm of control, you can level things out a bit with careful planning, choosing clients and projects wisely, and knowing your capacity limitations.

Experiencing Failure

Sheer terror! None of us go into business expecting to fail, yet failure comes in all shapes and sizes. Even solopreneurs who have run successful businesses for years deal with failures along the way. Who hasn’t lost a bid on a project or lost a client for some reason or another? Not everything will go the way you want it to all the time. You’ll slip up. Unforeseen circumstances will throw a wrench into your plans. Become mentally agile so you can roll with the punches, learn from your mistakes and misfortunes, and keep your eyes on the big picture.

Life as a solopreneur certainly does put forth some things that go bump in the night, but none should stop you in your tracks and turn you into a business zombie. Stand courageous and show those ghastly entrepreneurial fears who’s boss.

What things have scared you most during your career as a solopreneur?

By Dawn Mentzer

2 comments on “Boo! What’s Most Terrifying About Being a Solopreneur
  1. Priya says:

    Solopreneur…nice new word. The idea of networking used to scare me a lot before, still does but not that much. These days I’m scared of being called ‘entrepreneur.’ Not that i have called that many times but just once few days ago and i sometimes still wonder, why. I think doubts are part of solo working life.
    Thanks for sharing this post. I enjoyed reading it.

    • dawnmentzer says:

      Hi Priya! Thanks for writing! It’s great that you’ve gotten more comfortable with networking. I’ve been fortunate in that networking is one of my all-time favorite things about being a freelancer. A lot of my friends in the biz HATE visiting trade shows and going to mixers, but I love those sorts of things. I’d probably do a lot more of it, but too much of it can interfere with getting work done!

      What you mentioned about being called an entrepreneur is interesting – and I think it makes sense. Maybe you’re feeling some pressure to meet certain expectations or achieve certain things. As you said, self-doubt is something that seems to at one time or another affect most people running solo-businesses. We need to get over that! 😉

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