Have you ever thought about starting a business as your own boss and only employee? Known as being a solopreneur, this route to business ownership is increasingly popular, especially with Type-A personalities who have a hard time letting go of control. Surprisingly, though, these solo operators often find that they are their own most difficult employee – even if they have past managerial experience.
One way to prepare for the challenges of self-employment is by pursuing additional management training before embarking on your new business. Though you may not have staff to manage, understanding common operational challenges can help you nip your own bad habits in the bud.
The Complexity Of Management
We often think of managers as being, first and foremost, focused on people. The reality, however, is not that simple. Explore the topics covered in an accelerated management program and you’ll quickly see that the balance is a bit different. While soft skills are important for managers, most also need to be skilled financial managers, use quantitative models to make timely decisions, and be master strategists. These are the types of skills that underprepared solopreneurs may overlook as they get started.
The Struggle With Self-Management
Given that many of a manager’s responsibilities aren’t immediately interpersonal, how does “managing” yourself represent a unique challenge? There are several ways this manifests, including:
- Failure to separate funds. If new solopreneurs don’t clearly separate their personal and professional finances, they may arrive at a muddied understanding of their financial outlook. You can’t make good financial decisions if you can’t clearly evaluate your business’s performance.
- The time management gap. You may think that your focus on your business makes you good at time management, but those aren’t the same thing. That’s because the typical manager actually gets to clock out at the end of the day. Even if you might check your emails in the evenings or on the weekends, only a select few sectors really expect around the clock work. Make sure you’re taking time away from your business, for self-renewal.
Another major time management problem among solopreneurs is the tendency to focus too much on your favorite parts of your business. It’s great to leverage your skills to do something you’re good at, but the fact is that even the boring, difficult parts – balancing the books, working with contractors – need your attention. Without a manager overseeing your work, you need to manage those transitions on your own.
- A closed circle. To build a successful business, you need to network, but being a solopreneur can be like operating in an echo chamber. Part of being successful as a lone operator is opening up your circle to include more voices and a wider network. Your inner circle may be hesitant to question your decisions or offer critiques, and they probably know a lot of the same people that you already know. Look for new voices who can help you build valuable connections and offer alternative perspectives.
Are You Ready To Be Your Own Boss?
The growth of solopreneurship is an outgrowth of our changing economy – of the expanding gig-based workforce and the desire for work-life balance, but going it on your own isn’t easy. It requires pushing yourself past the comfortable and exciting parts of your work and into the difficult, stressful areas. Most of all, it involves making sacrifices.
Maybe you’re just planning to go it alone until you get your business established or maybe you’ll be a one-man show forever, but either way, being a solopreneur will prepare you for anything the future may have in store. It all stems from a simple lesson: if you’re willing to stretch yourself into those uncomfortable places, you can get ahead.
Now put on your manager hat and get to work.