If you’re a solo entrepreneur you have much more responsibilities than the average working guy or gal. That’s not always a bad thing and, in most cases, the payoff will be much higher in the end. That being said, there are a few things that you definitely need to do when you work on your own in order to be as successful as possible. With that in mind we put together a number of excellent tips for solo entrepreneurs to do just that. Enjoy.
- Get out of your home or office regularly. When you’re working alone it’s easy to forget that there are thousands of other people out there doing the same thing who may be able to help you in some way. Getting out to lectures, workshops, networking events and even to the local coffee shop catch-up is vital to staying in touch and making sure your ideas don’t go stale. Meeting new people and learning new things about your business or industry will give you the impetus to grow and the inspiration factor of doing these things is very high.
- Put effort into making and maintaining your professional contacts. When you’re not part of an office community you can quickly become isolated and, indeed, depressed and alone. Surrounding yourself with an excellent group of people who share your opinions and ideas is a great way to avoid this and, if you do, you also have a great base of people who will be your advisors, your word-of-mouth marketing team and even your cheerleaders. Simply put, just because you work alone doesn’t mean you need to be alone.
- If you have ‘gut feelings’, listen to them. It takes a while to develop but, once you do, ignoring your gut feeling comes at your own peril. If you know your business and your industry well, pay attention to what your gut tells you and, if it’s not good, make sure you listen.
- Involve your family (to a point). If you work from home it’s easy for the line between home and work to become blurred. It’s even harder when you have children and so, when possible, involve them in your business making decisions so that they realize what you do and what it takes to be successful as a solo entrepreneur. In most cases, when you involve your family in some of your decisions, they will be much happier with whatever outcome you have.
- Work with a mentor. There is simply no way to know everything or everyone in your business or industry and, if you have a pressing question, need advice or need some guidance, having a mentor to bounce it off of can be very valuable.
- Set boundaries for your work life and personal life. While flying solo can be very rewarding it also has a tendency to take over your life. Don’t let that happen as it can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction. Take time away regularly to do things that you enjoy that are associated with your fellow business.
- Get rid of distractions. Working from home has plenty of distractions, including television, friends & neighbors, chores and so forth. Having a set schedule or a ‘work only zone’ in your home will prevent you from getting too distracted or having family or friends distract you too often. If, for example, your children know that they can’t bother you when the door to your office is closed, you will cut down on distractions immensely.
- Avoid online distractions. Just as you can waste an awful lot of time watching TV or doing the laundry, you can also waste a ton of time checking your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn social media pages. In some cases this leads to a false sense of productivity but, in reality, it’s just as wasteful as those other distractions. Better to put aside a specific amount of time per day for social media and, once that time is over, get onto something else.
- Remember to stay humble. Simply put, most people would rather work with someone who is humble and thankful then work with the ‘best’ if that person is an annoying jerk and a show off. (Harsh yes, but true.)
- Keep an eye on your cash flow. When you’re a solo entrepreneur you can’t rely on that weekly or biweekly paycheck and indeed, in many cases, clients will pay you later then they promised or not at all. Also, remember that you’re going to need to use a good bit of the money you amass to pay taxes and don’t let high numbers for you into thinking that you have more than you do.
As a solo entrepreneur you’ll find that the highs in your career can be in the stratosphere and the lows can make you feel like staying in bed all day long. Finding a balance between the two is vital and will help you to overcome the ups and downs with better ease. If you have any questions about entrepreneurship, setting up a personal IRA and other personal finance questions, please let us know and we’ll get back to you with answers as quickly as we can.