Working for and by yourself has become synonymous with a “freedom lifestyle,” but the truth is solopreneurship has its share of challenges, many of which other small-business owners may never face. Here are four of the most common and how to meet them head on.
1. Feeling Overwhelmed
One of the upsides of working for someone else is you have a relatively narrow scope of responsibilities that can be completed within defined business hours. There’s no such luxury for a solopreneur. As a team of one, you wear every hat in a juggle that can quickly have you trying to do everything yet completing nothing. There’s no magic bullet to stave off the state of having too much to do and too little time to do it, but rather many small measures you can take to better manage your time: Prioritize each day’s tasks, using the hours you typically have the most mental energy for focused work. Designate a couple of time slots to handle email so you’re not a slave to your inbox all day. Schedule the day’s social media posts and forget about them. Take advantage of time- and money-saving technology. And take at least one day off per week to recharge.
2. Bookkeeping Blues
The thing about all those hats you juggle is they don’t all fit the same. The most uncomfortable role for many solopreneurs is “bookkeeper.” After all, unless you started your own bookkeeping business, you probably didn’t strike out on your own because you were a finance whiz. Yet bookkeeping is the core of any business. There are two ways you can tackle this. You can outsource these duties to a professional accountant or bookkeeper. Or, to save money and while you’re at it shore up your own accounting skills, try a small-business accounting tool like QuickBooks.
3. Fear of Marketing
Plenty of solopreneurs get twitchy at the idea of marketing their business. But before you can overcome this phobia, you have to identify its source. Are you gun-shy about owning your awesomeness and proclaiming it to the world? If so, you’re at risk of sabotaging your business. Practicing a little self-help for your self-doubt can go a long way toward building your confidence. If you know your value but are just unsure of how to best get the message about it to others, you can easily educate yourself by speaking to other solopreneurs about what works for them and familiarizing yourself with the latest small-business marketing philosophies and techniques.
The water cooler is a lonely place for a solopreneur. Without employees and co-workers, you not only miss out on the latest must-see-TV chatter, you lack the sounding board to help you develop ideas, work through challenges, and just get time and space away from work. You can fill this void by developing a strong network. Make sure you’re connecting with other solopreneurs and small-business owners on your chosen social media channels, and make an effort to get out to a couple of networking events each year. More frequently, get out of the office with a friend or colleague for some coffee and conversation. And don’t forget to take some business cards.