Ahhh, the beauty and promise of a new year.
A time for resolutions, product launches, and the germination of new ideas that will become new small businesses. One of the most exciting things for me these days is how the technology and connectivity has allowed virtually anyone to step away from the rat race and become a small business owner, if they so choose.
Uber, Spotify, UpWork, and hundreds of other resources allow entrepreneurs and small business owners two critical things - a method to sell and a method to find resources that used to be hard to find and costly to acquire.
In other words, technology now offers the smallest of the small businesses a virtual incubator to help drive their growth.
There is, on the other hand, a dark side to all this - many folks taking on the mantle of the "solopreneur" don't understand the challenges of being the business. Sole operators who are doing everything themselves have long been the exact problem that small business needs to correct to survive, but let's look at the glass as though it was half-full and see if we can't nip a specific bad idea in the bud before the 2018 crop of new small businesses blossom, shall we?
First of all, solopreneurs are attempting to do everything themselves. This, of course, flies in the face of everything we, as a species, have accomplished. We're social creatures and, as a result, we collectively compile different skills and then trade on those. Thus, in the villages of old, the blacksmith didn't bake bread, the baker did. The blacksmith paid the baker and vice versa.
Today, you own a small business and SHOULD be having someone else build the website, a professional preparing your taxes, and contracted help to handle intricate details of work that isn't in your wheelhouse.
So why go it alone? You can't be everything to everyone, but you can have a team, even if they are only contracted for certain scenarios. For the smallest of the small business owners, though, every accountability rests on you. You are the only one who knows if you made the necessary calls to close a deal. You know what time you started working this morning - or how long you took for lunch. Remember, as a business owner, self-accountability - and I mean real self-accountability - is a hard thing to do to oneself. We've all heard, and likely used, the same excuses about tomorrow, or where the blame rests, but in the end, the solopreneur brushes their teeth with the entire team in the morning and any failure on the part of the business rests with them.
At the same time, that suggests another aspect of the solopreneur that isn't talked about, but I see as being one of the critical flaws in that as a business model - the solopreneur is lost in his or her own world.
I've talked about, many times, the idea of team and comradery, but it is just as important that any business owner have the chance to interface with others and "let their hair down". If you aren't supported by strong and positive people - friends, family, even business associates, then the negativity can be overwhelming. If you insist on going the solopreneur route, then you need to ensure that the cadre of people you surround yourself with can provide positivity and good advice, not negativity and discouragement.
If this is THE year for you, then go into it with your eyes wide open and the keen understanding that building your own business is among the most gratifying things anyone can do. It is also one of the hardest. Remembering the importance of teams for support, skills, and even systems, really is the difference between success and failure and - more importantly - between enjoyment and frustration.