Want me to tell you the dirty little secret thing your mother never told you about being a solopreneur?
Want in on the big lie everyone’s been telling you and maybe you’ve even been telling yourself?
Don’t worry, I’ll tell you. I’m not that kind of a tease. But, before I do, I should tell you something else, which is:
The reason your mother never told you about the Big Solopreneur Lie is because, when she was getting her own career on track, there was no such thing as a solopreneur.
Now ready for the truth?
There’s still no such thing as a solopreneur!
Here’s the thing: No one really goes it alone.
The Big Solopreneur Lie
Apart from the fact that we are all one (you can read all about that on my personal blog, Crazy Beautiful), as a business owner, even a freelancer, you cannot build your business completely by yourself. Nor, ultimately, would you want to.
Let’s take a look at how I built my own business.
The first thing that happened when I couldn’t figure out how to configure my WordPress site (not this one, my first website; I didn’t even try to build this one), was that an acquaintance I met in a class I was taking offered to help me out. Then, he went above and beyond normal levels of generosity by creating my logo (which I love!) — for free.
The second important thing that happened was that a friend took a chance on me and hired me to build his custom website. From there, another friend hired me to lead a social media training at her nonprofit.
Things really took off when I joined BNI (an international networking group), hired a business coach, and started getting Yelp reviews.
Now, I have business partners in Bucharest, and subcontractors I could not get anything done without.
Does any of this sound like I am alone?
The Big Solopreneur Truth
What is true, though, is that for the first couple of years I felt really alone — and scared. Fortunately, I was so sleep-deprived I don’t really remember the fear . . . .
Here’s what’s really important to think about: Your business depends on relationships. The best thing you can do for your business is build stellar relationships with clients, vendors, and subcontractors.
Entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs, are passionate, and often single-minded, people who aren’t afraid to test new ideas and uncharted territories. Strangely, they often don’t have the best people skills because, fundamentally, what they are passionate about is ideas.
If you fall into this category, you can still leverage your passions to foster great relationships. Think about your relationships as a form of research, a way to learn more about your business and your industry.
When you meet with people, you’ll be exchanging information about a topic of shared interest. Ask lots of questions. Learn as much you can. People love to talk about themselves and their passions, so you’ll be giving as you’re getting.
Consider who you would most like to do business with, and start getting to know these people first. Since most people get the heebie-jeebies when they think of networking, think of this as “Un-networking.” The un-networking approach has some important benefits.
First, it feels natural to focus on learning, sharing, and developing your expertise. Your business will grow with you at a pace that’s right for your developmental phase (and you won’t feel “salesy,” another heebie-jeebie inducing term).
Meeting with all kinds of people will help you stay fresh and open to creative possibility.
The mere act of taking a break from you work will help your mind work better.
Finally, here’s something unexpected: If you live, like I do, in a walkable city, you can get exercise by walking to your meetings. Growing a business is demanding, and can be very hard on your body. Walking to meetings obviates the gym and preserves your health. Even if you don’t live in a walkable town or city, getting up from your chair is a great practice — and surprisingly difficult — practice.
Here’s the take home: Being a solopreneur is great. I love it! It allows me autonomy, authority, and lots of creativity. Now that I’ve admitted I’m not alone, it’s a lot less stressful, as well.
What’s your opinion: Is no (wo)man an island? Or is it every (wo)man for (s)himself?
Do you need digital marketing services? Please connect with us for a complimentary digital strategy session! Just click the button below to get started.