If you’re thinking of becoming a solopreneur, starting your own business, working for yourself, and having complete control over your own day to day, then it’s important to consider if you’ve got what it takes to stick with it through the highs and lows.
While as a solopreneur you have freedom and flexibility to follow your own ideas, dreams, or passions, you’re also solely responsible for the success, or failure, of your ventures. These are the key characteristics of a successful solopreneur:
Resilient to setbacks
Very few solopreneurs will find their big success with their first idea or opportunity. In fact, most will fail again and again and again before finding a viable venture that grows into a long term business opportunity. When you’re part of a team you can share these setbacks and losses with others, but as a solopreneur, you don’t have the same support, or the chance to step away from your failures.
You need to be resilient enough to pick yourself back up and try again with your next idea, just as determined and driven each time. You need to know how to learn from your mistakes, how to improve yourself and move on. You have to be self-reliant, and able to motivate yourself to start over each time things don’t go your way.
As a solopreneur, you need to be prepared to be constantly learning new things. Successful solopreneurs have a constant hunger for new knowledge, so you need to find ways to fit in learning at every opportunity. There are always more books and articles to read, more inspirational talks to watch, and more podcasts to listen to.
Try following entrepreneur focused blogs like The Suitcase Entrepreneur; and to keep yourself motivated and on track, listen to the Get Yourself Optimised productivity podcast. You need to stay competitive and up to date with the latest trends, updates, and news — being out of touch will see you and your business get left behind.
Focused on efficiency
Another key characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is knowing when and where to focus your efforts. It’s important not to try and do every single thing yourself from scratch. Use the right tools and software to streamline your work and improve your efficiency. As a solopreneur, you don’t want to waste your valuable time or basic, repetitive tasks, however important they are to running a business.
For example, use a calendar tool that can set recurring, regular appointments to keep yourself organized. When you’re working on your own it can be hard to juggle all your responsibilities and ensure that you’re actually working productively. Use project management software like Asana that can help you break down what you’re working on and track your progress. Use marketing tools for email and social media automation to promote your business without taking up too much time.
And instead of trying to multi-task and failing to get anything done, use a time management method like the Pomodoro technique to keep you focused and productive at all times. Being a successful solopreneur is about knowing how to work efficiently and effectively — there’s no need to work 23 hours a day and burn yourself out without actually achieving anything.
As well as being highly resilient and able to bounce back from failures, successful solopreneurs are also able to constantly adapt. The world is constantly changing; technology is advancing rapidly and markets are consistently evolving.
Successful solopreneurs are ultimately focused on making money — producing a product or service that will be profitable. And this means that although you had a good idea two months ago, in the time that it’s taken to lay the groundwork and set up a business, things have often changed dramatically. You need to be always aware of how things are shifting, what trends are emerging, and the impact that this might have.
The most successful business ventures evolve and adapt throughout so that they are always focused on meeting the needs and requirements of the market they’re selling to.
Aware of mental and physical health
While working for yourself often means investing yourself completely in your business ideas and extremely long hours, successful solopreneurs also know how to take care of themselves. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of late nights, early mornings, vast amounts of coffee, and regular takeaways in the office.
But being a solopreneur is a lot of pressure, and adding an unhealthy lifestyle on top of the stressful nature of the work is a dangerous combination. Setting a more regular work schedule, or booking in days that are completely switched off from work in the calendar every month, can reduce the risk of burnout.
Successful solopreneurs can recognize the value of taking a break to reset their minds and come back to work more inspired and full of fresh ideas. Incorporating regular exercise and healthy eating habits is also crucial to success.
These are the main characteristics of successful solopreneurs that anyone looking to make the leap needs to consider. The most important thing is mentally preparing yourself for setbacks and failures while putting in place the processes and tools to help you stay motivated and productive.
Photograph by Vlada Karpovich