The journey of solo entrepreneurship can undoubtedly be an exciting one. You set your own hours, work from anywhere you want and answer to no one but yourself.
On the flip side, because “solopreneurs” work alone, they often feel the emotional impact of isolation, loneliness and self-doubt. To combat this, it’s crucial to proactively seek social interactions and support from other professionals in your situation. Here’s how Forbes Coaches Council members recommend overcoming the biggest challenges of solo entrepreneurship.
1. Participate In Industry Organizations
Joining and actively participating in industry groups has been vital to my success. Instead of reinventing the wheel or learning through trial and error, I’m able to bounce ideas off peers and learn from their expertise. In addition, I’m never alone. Look for organizations with an active e-list or group where you can share ideas or challenges and get immediate feedback. – Candace Barr, Strategic Resume Specialists
2. Block Out Time For Business Development
Not getting a paycheck regularly has several challenges, like balancing sourcing new opportunities with giving your existing clients your best. One of the keys to managing this is scheduling time for activities based on your natural productivity cycles — for example, setting aside mornings for brain-challenging work and giving yourself some afternoon time to respond to emails, post to social media, etc. – Rebecca Henninger, Rebecca Henninger Career Services
3. Find A Business Coach
Being a solopreneur is a lonely journey, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial. One step you can take is to hire a business coach. A good business coach will create a safe space for you to share your burdens, validate your emotions and offer the shift in perspective required to inspire you to get creative with new ideas and solutions. – Michela Quilici, MQ Consulting and Business Training, Inc.
4. Reach Out To Your Network
The biggest challenge is living in a self-imposed echo chamber. To combat this, I consciously reach out to my network and schedule lunches and phone calls with people I respect and who will provide insight and challenge me. I try to be aware of my strengths and weaknesses and schedule time with people who complement both. Ask people to challenge you, and thank them when they do. – Gary Bradt, Bradt Leadership, Inc.
5. Use Social Media For Engagement
When used properly, social media can be utilized for more than building a brand. With the proper focus, it can be a great tool for developing meaningful relationships with professionals who face similar challenges. Find those individuals in similar situations and create engagement. Solopreneurs never have to feel alone in their struggles. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
6. Join Or Lead Your Own Tribe Of Entrepreneurs
The mindset of a solopreneur means you are independent and have core values different from others. The biggest challenge is isolation: not having like-minded persons to share your frustrations and never-ending new ideas. The solution is to join or start your own entrepreneur tribe via Meetup.com, Facebook or LinkedIn. – Daniel Ortiz, Latino Success Academy
7. Use Helpful Apps To Free Up Time
Wearing all the hats is the biggest challenge for me. As the owner, salesperson, booking keeper, admin, designer etc., it often feels there is not enough time or energy to do everything well. Using helpful apps for scheduling, time blocking, accounting and invoicing frees up the mental and emotional energy to concentrate on the important things. This way you feel and look well-organized. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC
8. Join A Coworking Space
Recently I realized my productivity was suffering from constant distractions and interruptions at home. I joined a coworking space, which has allowed me to bring more structure into my workday and to build community in person. I still have the flexibility to work from anywhere, but most days find myself eager to come into the office, and my productivity has already skyrocketed as a result. – Jean Ali Muhlbauer, The Muhlbauer Companies, LLC
9. Build Your A-Team
Being a solopreneur can be challenging and, at times, overwhelming. Without the structure that you have working within an organization, it becomes fundamental to create your own structure within your business. You should create an A-team to support you on the journey. This may include coaches, mentors, service providers, outsourced team members and health professionals to keep you at your best. – Loren Trlin, Life You Love LLC
10. Join A Mastermind
Solopreneurs can easily get stuck in a rut due to their isolation. It’s quite tempting to bury your head under a pillow rather than motivate yourself to jumpstart the day. Masterminds not only alleviate the feeling of being alone but also provide something to look forward to as you prepare to share in the next session. Masterminds also allow you to gain fresh perspectives on old problems. – Niquenya Collins, Building Bridges Consulting
11. Schedule Weekly Coffee Breaks With Other Solopreneurs
I have several friends who are also solopreneurs, and we schedule weekly coffee breaks with each other to ensure we step away from the keyboard and have some social time. Most of the events that we attend are networking events, which require our professional faces, so the coffee breaks are often times to vent about work issues or to talk about upcoming projects. – LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group
12. Hire Good Help
The best investment you can make in your business is in other people. Find the areas you excel at and laser in on those areas, then hire people to help with everything else. You don’t need to hire full-time staff, either. Make use of virtual assistants (VAs) and contractors who can make your job easier and allow you to focus on the areas you’re most talented in. – Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, CaffeinatedKyle.com
13. Talk About It Anyway
Friends and family only know how you feel and what you experience as a solopreneur if you tell them. It is normal for them to make assumptions and see the benefits, but if you need support or just a listening ear, tell them. As with anything in life, those who really support you will do so even if it’s in an area they are unfamiliar with. – Lesha Reese, Lesha Reese, LLC