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Solopreneurs are flexible, dedicated individuals who are so passionate about their business that they’re willing to go it alone. To find success in their endeavors, they must often assume every role in their companies.
Inevitably, wearing all these hats will lead to some obstacles at the beginning of one’s entrepreneurial journey. The key is understanding how to anticipate and overcome those challenges.
Here, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council share some of the biggest challenges every solopreneur will face and strategic ways to avoid or solve them.
Forbes Coaches Council members share ways to solve or avoid the biggest challenges every solopreneur will face.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Understanding Where You Want To Go
The biggest challenge for a solopreneur is clearly understanding where you want to go. Do you want to remain a one-person business, or are you looking to grow beyond that? In either case, adding some element of scale and leverage to the mix is required to escape the trap of purely trading “hours for dollars.” If you don’t, you essentially “own a job,” and you don’t own a business. – Glenn Grant, Selfassembled Ventures
2. Not Having Enough Time In The Day
As a former solopreneur, I noticed there were just never enough hours in a day to get everything done. No one is an expert in every task that needs to be done. One simple way to solve this is finding independent contractors for specific projects who are experts in their own niche. That way, you are not responsible for payroll, but rather just paying per project while growing faster. – Reelika Schulte , Dream Lifestyle
3. Outsourcing The Wrong Tasks
Solopreneurs committed to getting help might hire a virtual assistant, only to then unconsciously (and unfairly) ask the assistant to “do it all.” Many of these tasks are inherently tied to brand, strategic direction and sales, yet fall in their lap. Leadership needs to remain with you. By making a conscious commitment to having one-on-one and team leadership sessions, you can avoid this mistake. – Sundae Schneider-Bean, Sundae Schneider-Bean GmbH
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4. Knowing When To Let Go Of Certain Things
When do you stop doing everything in your business? There is a saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Solopreneurs often find themselves working around the clock, overwhelmed by the details of creating and running a business and energetically depleted. Those who learn to leverage other people’s skills can focus on their sphere of genius. – Lyssa deHart, Lyssa deHart, LLC
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
5. Not Being Mindful Of The Roles That Are Yours Alone
As a solopreneur, you are the boss; you must manage all of the responsibilities that are part of being a boss. That includes managing time, money, people and overall company health. Accept that you’ll have to work harder than you ever have, and accept that it will take longer than you thought. By being mindful of the roles that are yours alone, you can at least choose whether the effort is worth it. – Doug Holt, Doug Holt Online
6. Spending Too Much Time In The Business
As a solopreneur, it’s important to remain a visionary and see your path forward. When you take on all of the roles in your company, you run the risk of spending all of your time in the business and not on the business. This can stunt your growth and give you the false feeling that you have to have your hand in all aspects of the business to be successful. – Angie Wisdom, Angie Wisdom Life & Business Coaching
7. Finding The Right Balance Of Tasks
When your role is to be the strategic visionary as well as the day-to-day taskmaster, balance is key. Prioritizing what is most important and takes the least amount of effort is one key way to alleviate the greatest challenges. While you may not be able to do everything, you can do something. Finding balance and prioritizing what matters most can help the solopreneur overcome obstacles. – Denise Russo, School of Thoughts
8. Stabilizing Your Finances
The inability to stabilize your finances so early on is why most solopreneurs take the title. Lack of money to outsource or invest in technology leads to more owner responsibility. Headcount equals cost and adding help is near impossible with an unstable financial foundation. Alleviate this by writing a detailed business plan and securing investors and staff before launching. – Amera McCoy, McCoy Consulting LLC
9. Not Setting Aside Time To Work ‘Above’ The Business
Solopreneurs are often chained to the business, spending significant amounts of time in the business making things work. This hinders their ability to work on scaling the business and building the support structures required to scale the business. This can be alleviated by having a set time in the schedule to work “above” the business, seeking opportunities to grow and develop. – Claudine Reid, PJ’s Community Service
10. Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Many people start a business because they have the drive to build something they are passionate about and/or have an expertise in. The challenge as a solopreneur is that you no longer get to focus on just your superpowers, and you are spread thin. You can alleviate this by committing to prioritizing, outsourcing what you don’t love doing whenever you can and keeping your focus on the big picture. – Jackie Insinger, Insinger Insights
11. Not Having Clear Priorities
Solopreneurs are often subservient to their work, rather than developing the life of freedom they had planned for. If this is you, you have to get crystal clear on your priorities and eliminate or outsource everything that does not create a massive impact on your business. Take a step back and look at your goals, tasks and calendar and remove the nonessentials. It is a mindset of doing less, but doing it better. – Melissa Eisler, Wide Lens Leadership
12. Keeping Up With Everything You Want To Do
The biggest challenge is keeping up with all that you want to do. The key is to begin outsourcing tasks, and not just because it will begin to alleviate the burden of doing it all yourself. It also helps you to prioritize what really needs to get done. Finally, it helps you remain accountable and inspired to take the next steps when you have to answer to someone else about what needs to get done. – Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching
13. Trading Time For Money
Most solopreneurs have expertise in some product or service but are selling themselves short by trading limited time for money, and they will hit an inevitable plateau. Learn what an acquirer would value and what would prevent them from seeing your company as a worthy acquisition. With this knowledge, and in the same number of hours per week, someone can build a company that will outlast them. – Christine Rose, Christine Rose Coaching & Consulting
14. Trying To Multitask
One thing that is clear is multitasking doesn’t work. For solopreneurs, identifying what’s most high-value and requires personal attention versus what’s important but needs to be outsourced is the biggest challenge. Everyone has their own formula for success. For every decision, be it to do it yourself, acquire the skills or outsource, consider the cost in money, time, opportunity and energy. – Chuen Chuen Yeo, ACESENCE