While entrepreneurs are generally understood by the world at large, the word “solopreneur” is still working on gaining traction in the wider business community. A solopreneur is often defined as a business owner who has no intention of hiring employees. often refer to themselves as solopreneurs, since it has a slightly more serious ring.
If you’re considering quitting your job to go into business for yourself, know that there are pros and cons to making this choice and working alone.
If you’ve spent years operating under the thumb of a boss who didn’t begin to understand what you do, it can be incredibly freeing to think of just doing your job without needing to negotiate a team lead or manager who isn’t appreciative or even competent. In many ways, it is.
You get to focus on your work and stop trying to explain yourself to people who don’t understand your process. However…
No One To Hold You Accountable
People often think of themselves as incredibly self-motivated, but when they are entirely reliant on their own time management skills, may find that they struggle more than they anticipated. There are many tools on the market to help busy people manage their time, from analog bullet journals to high tech apps and browser extensions to gamify doing your work. But you have to use them.
You Make All the Decisions
If you’ve ever sat in a meeting and thought “If I were the one running this place,” solopreneurship might be for you. As someone working for themselves, you get to run your business exactly the way you want. You decide where resources are allocated, which clients to work for, and how to interact with the public. However…
You Make All the Decisions
As a solopreneur, you make absolutely all the decisions. If you’re great at budgeting and fantastic at client management but struggle with marketing and time management, you’re going to struggle as a solopreneur. Some solo artists may outsource the parts of their work they’re not good at; for example an expert graphic designer might hire someone to manage their blog and social media profiles. But you need to be able to honestly acknowledge what your strengths and weaknesses are and accommodate them.
No Office Politics
One of the most frustrating situations in an office workspace is when you need to do things in a more complicated way or follow out of date rules because the people you’re working with are going to make your life more difficult if you don’t.
Office politicking, keeping track of who is friends with who, knowing how to get what you need from management, and all of those small social details, is incredibly frustrating for many people. If this isn’t a natural skill that you have, figuring out how to navigate these situations can be almost impossible. Walking away from that sort of environment and getting to focus on your work can be fantastic. However…
No One To Chat With
You might think that being away from all the office gossip will be a relief, but actually being in a quiet workspace for days can be difficult. For the most part, people like to be social to a certain degree. If you feel isolated, you might turn to that great time waster, social media, to get your people fill. Without a boss peaking over your shoulder to make sure you’re still on task, you can easily spend the entire day looking at cat Vines on Youtube and get none of your work done.
Many solopreneurs enjoy visiting coffee shops, collaborative workspaces, or even just having some time set aside to hang out with other freelancing friends. This helps to negate some of the sense of isolation.
The cons of being a solopreneur are all manageable, but it’s easier to navigate if you know going into the process what your hurdles are most likely to be. You can plan ahead to mitigate the challenges you’re most likely to face. Hire a blogger, find someone to do your accounting, and rent a desk at the local coworking space once a week. Make friends with your neighborhood barista. Come up with a plan to network at the next Chamber of Commerce mixer.
Once you know what your challenges may be, solving them can be easier, and can make being a solopreneur work for you. Solopreneurs tend to be hard working DIYers who do a lot to make the economy work, even without hiring employees. Whether you call yourself a gig worker, a freelancer, or a solopreneur, being proud of your ability to work for yourself is a great start.