Research shows that around 7.5% of working people fall into the solopreneur category in the United States: that’s nearly 16 million people. Though the number is impressive, only 33% of solopreneur businesses survive for ten years or more. Large companies have entire departments to educate and empower their workforce, whereas solopreneurs often miss out on such resources.
Being a solopreneur is not just about independent schedules or work from anywhere. Right from discovering and establishing a business niche to dealing with the reality check of a one-man army, these are few common difficulties that solopreneurs face.
Let’s examine some of these challenges, and how solopreneurs can handle and overcome them. In addition to the below pointers, this comprehensive business guide for solopreneurs might prove helpful.
Being the founder, marketer, writer, brand strategist and technical executive of your own business is an amazing thrill. Most solopreneurs know the last-minute rush that comes from owning all the responsibilities of their own business.
Wearing so many hats on a daily basis, while certainly fulfilling as long as it is manageable, can become too much for one person to handle.
How to Manage Multiple Responsibilities:
- Always take a ‘bigger picture’ look and plan a long-term schedule.
- Before diving into all these responsibilities at once, evaluate the most crucial needs and plan tasks accordingly.
- By prioritizing and planning the work before actually getting started with it, multiple roles can be managed efficiently and effectively.
2. Finding a Business Niche:
A solopreneur without a plan is like a ship without a compass. The business keeps moving but doesn’t go anywhere. When asked “Who is your target audience?”, no solopreneur should say “Everyone.” That is a problem. As any Marketing expert knows, that is a waste of Marketing budget and efforts—both of which are in short supply for the solopreneur. And this isn’t just about Marketing. The solopreneur needs to be specific about their offerings: what the service and product will be.
How to Decide on a Business Niche:
- Firstly, solopreneurs needs to strike a balance between what will make them a decent profit, and what they are really good at.
- Solopreneurs need to focus on one specific target audience. Make a smart move by choosing the right demographic, and ensure that your product or service, as well as your Marketing efforts, cater to them.
- The target audience can always be expanded later, but it helps to have one direction to focus on, especially as a solopreneur.
3. Work-Life Balance:
There are a lot of perks to being a solopreneur, but workloads can occasionally pile up and take away this freedom. Even if someone decides to take on fewer customers, emergency requests can come up. This may not happen every day, but solopreneurs know that contingencies like this happen at least twice a week. During such events, prioritize work over personal time.
How to Manage a Work-life Balance:
- Set up strict boundaries between working hours and time for yourself.
- Plan and make decisions based on priorities, in advance.
- During emergencies and critical client work, consider hiring a part-time resource or a freelancer to help you out with that particular contract alone.
4. Time Management:
“Time is the most precious resource,” goes a popular saying. Managing time is a difficult business challenge for the solopreneur. The challenge is to utilize your time well. There are no do-overs, so you have to make every minute count. The more successful a solopreneur gets, the busier they become. A one-member team takes much more time to complete work. For this reason, a solopreneur can only take up fewer projects. There’s no workaround other than bettering your own organizational skills.
How to Utilize Time Efficiently:
- Start tracking time on a daily basis. Measure productive time, and non-productive time.
- Use a timer to work in 25-minute sprints, with five-minute breaks to keep yourself from burning out. Take time to plan a Marketing campaign or think through each project’s completion.
- Block out chunks of time to focus only on getting a particular task done.
- Another part of time management is eliminating activities that waste time. For instance, don’t waste time opening emails every 15 minutes. Don’t pick up the phone every time it rings. Block time on the calendar to do these tasks a couple of times a day.
5. Hiring and Scaling the Business:
Many solopreneurs have this definition of success: doing everything by themselves until they retire. Solopreneurship doesn’t have to be that way. Especially when a business starts tasting bigger success, hiring somebody becomes a necessity. It’s crucial that solopreneurs stay practical when it comes to financial decisions, but waiting too long to make a necessary hire could harm the business.
How to Hire and Scale Your Solo Business:
- The decision should be made depending entirely on ROI.
- Hiring can help a solo business owner manage excess work efficiently. The business can take on more projects, and manage current clients even when work requirements start getting heavier.
Being a solopreneur isn’t a holiday by any stretch, but it can kick-start a fulfilling chapter of your career if you’re willing to do what it takes. If you’re a solopreneur already, take advantage of the tips and industry knowledge we’ve put together, and pave your own way to your definition of success!