So, you’ve decided to branch out all by your lonesome and start a business. Now, you’re free to set your own hours, make all of your own decisions and work in the manner that you best see fit (which may or may not include bunny slippers and pajamas!), or so you thought. But being a solopreneur also has its own set of unique challenges that you probably didn’t even see coming. So, here are a few tips for overcoming some of the challenges that arise when you go it alone:
(1) Manage Your Tasks
When you are working as a solopreneur, every task within your business rests on you. It can be a real struggle to handle every aspect of your business by yourself and manage your time accordingly. I always advocate for writing out every single task within your business that needs to be taken care of, from marketing and selling to completing the work once a project is secured. Then, prioritize each task in order of importance so that you are always working on the most pressing task, rather than whatever whim enters your mind at that particular moment. And if there is a particular task that you are not very good at or always seem to avoid or procrastinate on, you can outsource it or hire a virtual assistant to complete it for you. This will really help you manage your time and tasks appropriately.
(2) Keep Your Work Space Separate
One big difference between working at an office versus working from home is that your office and your home are now one and the same. This can make it really difficult for solopreneurs to maintain a healthy work/life balance, since there’s no physical distinction between the place where they work and the place where they relax. The temptation to work at all hours of the night or, conversely, the temptation to goof off when you should be working can really be a big issue for solopreneurs. And so can having family members or roommates talk to you while you work because they don’t really see you as “at your job”. A great way to overcome this challenge is to separate your work area as much as possible from the rest of your home life. Try to put your office in its own room (preferably with a locking door if you have others living with you) and keep it for work purposes only. If you don’t have an extra room for an office, find the most unused part of your home and set up shop there. You can even use room dividers or curtains to create some kind of a physical barrier for your office. Another solopreneur option is to get out of your home and use a business center like my client Regus offers. This can be a low cost option to really help you focus on your work and keep distractions to a minimum.
(3) Step Away from the Desk
Another big challenge for the solopreneur is feeling isolated. When you are working by yourself, you miss out on having others around you to help brainstorm ideas, solve problems, and even blow off steam. You also miss out on the networking help that others can provide, since it’s unlikely that your cat Scrambles can direct you to a great new customer or IT professional. So, make sure to set time aside each week to get out and meet with colleagues over coffee. Expand your networking circle through networking events. Follow up with potential clients over lunch. If you don’t have much of a network, you can start with social media to cultivate relationships and then, take those online interactions offline. Even going out for a walk or to grab a cup of coffee can lead to making business connections. So, step away from the desk and grab those business cards. These kinds of interactions will definitely help you feel less isolated and will help grow your business, too.
What other solopreneur tips do you have? Please share them below.