There are always challenges associated with operating one’s own business venture. Some challenges are formidable while others are merely annoying. Many are common and probably inevitable. Anticipation and preparation are the best defenses and can mostly be addressed in your business plan and its subsequent updates.
Employees can, on occasion, walk into their office, close the door, and choose to be non-productive for most of the day. Solopreneurs do not have that luxury. We must meet or exceed the expectations of clients and prospects every time and hit a home run whenever we walk up to the plate.
Solopreneurs are often faced with a lengthy daily to-do list— client work to perform, a meeting to attend, a workshop to develop, a class to teach, an event with probable networking potential to attend. Furthermore, there are business operations to maintain, such as financial management, marketing, prospecting and customer service. Every item is mandatory.
Over time, fatigue and a sense of being overwhelmed can develop. Even depression can manifest. The successful Solopreneur must learn to manage and prioritize routine tasks and in fact consider removing some from the plate through outsourcing. The judicious use of technological tools that save both time and money is smart management, as they help business processes and customer service operate seamlessly.
Click here and here to assess no-cost and low-cost apps that not only record the time you spend on project work, but also invoice clients and in some instances, accept accounts receivable payments online.
The reality of a single-person shop is that services that generate billable hours cannot be delivered unless the founder is on the job and able to produce them. That means, if you’d like to attend a multi-day skills training session or take a one or two week vacation, be certain to allow adequate time to make key preparations that will help you to discreetly step away from center stage for a few days.
Tasks that you’ve outsourced, e.g. invoicing or bookkeeping, can continue as pre-arranged, but the production and delivery of the services that are the business must be put on hold until you return. Learn how to prepare your business for your absence (in this case, a vacation) when you click here.
HOW TO GROW
You work alone and that is why you are called Solopreneur. To promote the expression of your creativity and ingenuity, it will be wise to remove certain routine tasks from your plate, as noted above. Grow your organization by giving yourself adequate time to concentrate on the money making functions of a business owner: client acquisition and retention, recognizing potential new revenue streams, including niche markets you might enter, effective and timely business strategies to implement, collaborations, beneficial partnerships and networking.
If you elect to continue to perform all administrative tasks as you work to grow and sustain the business, quality control might become an issue. Spreading oneself too thin is inadvisable and may result in sub par work, diminished customer service, poor decision-making and fatigue. It is far more preferable to spend the money on outsourced help so that you can maintain or enhance the expectations of your brand.
In closing, I reiterate that when you write a business plan, you will be encouraged to acknowledge and prepare in advance for most of the business challenges mentioned. The initial marketing plan, financial plan and business model will keep you from falling prey to client list, money management and growth challenges.
Thanks for reading,
Image: Mosaic depicting the Amazon queen Melanippe, courtesy of the Haleplibahce Museum in Urfa, Turkey.