Why Being A “Solopreneur” Is B.S.
I can already see the angry mob of freelancers and one-person business owners with pitchforks and flaming torches rounding the corner in protest.
But before you stick it to me, I hope you’ll stick with me and read on.
How Do You Define “Solopreneur”?
Surprisingly, Urban Dictionary has a straightforward, no-nonsense description:
“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.”
It’s that second part of the definition and its contrariness to the first part that has me thinking we might sometimes apply the wrong mindset to our solo businesses.
We Do Very Little “Solo” as Solopreneurs
The phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child,” applies in some way to us as solopreneurs, too. We’re adults, of course, but our businesses are constantly evolving. They have to or they won’t survive.
We’re faced with ever-changing…
- Technology for communicating, collaborating, and executing administrative tasks.
- Client needs.
- Competitive pressures.
- Economic conditions.
- Tax and accounting laws.
- Business regulations.
- Personal and professional highs and lows.
I guess if you’re a super solopreneur you can leap tall buildings and keep up with all of it on your own, but the rest of us need help from a variety of other people and businesses.
We learn to do business better with the help of…
- Tax specialists – You might not need a CPA, but a professional tax preparer can ensure you’re following the rules and not missing out on any deduction opportunities.
- Lawyers – Tip: I have membership to LegalShield Pre-Paid Legal Services which, for a low monthly fee, gives me access to an attorney whenever I have legal questions. You might want to check it out.
- Bookkeeping specialists – While I retain my own books in Quickbooks Online, I had an expert help me set up my company accounts and every few months I schedule time with her for a checkup. She usually finds one or two things I should have entered differently. If you’re keeping your own books, how confident are you that all is correct?
- Business advisors – You can save yourself from going down a wrong path by simply tapping into the honesty and experience of other professionals. Whether through a formal mentoring program, mastermind group, or by simply turning to someone you respect and trust, you can get affirmation and avoid pitfalls by sharing your challenges and asking for advice.
- Competitors – You heard me correctly. None of us can serve everyone. Not all clients or projects are the right fit for us. I value my relationships with other writers for many reasons. Among them, the ability to refer prospects to someone else who has the capabilities and capacity to take on projects that I cannot.
- Project partners – As a freelance writer, I alone can’t always serve a client’s needs. Sometimes they need website design or print design work in addition to the content I produce. You’ve probably encountered similar situations in your business. We sometimes need professionals in complementary fields to fill voids in projects.
- An Assistant – I realize not all solopreneurs will either be able to afford one or absolutely need one, but a helping hand can alleviate some administrative pressures. When your amount of billable work for clients has expanded and you find it difficult to keep up with other business tasks, you might consider an independent virtual assistant to help you. My assistant, Rose, has been helping me since March of this year with research, proofreading, and other odds and ends. I don’t know how I managed without her. With her help, I don’t feel pulled in as many directions, and I’m better able to focus.
Striving For Success as a Solopreneur: Don’t Go It Alone
So while you and I call ourselves “solopreneurs,” we depend an awful lot on others. I don’t really believe being a solopreneur is B.S., but we should never lose sight of how much easier we can achieve success if we get help from others.
By Dawn Mentzer
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