Research shows that more than 41 million American adults currently work as solopreneurs. These are professionals who work independently at the helm of their own business. They are consultants, contractors, freelancers, and other enterprising experts dedicated to growing their brand without any employees. As such, they're responsible for filling every role, from sales and marketing to IT and technical support. While this challenge can be fulfilling for some people, it can be overwhelming for others. Before you go down this route, it's essential to make sure your personality is well-suited to work alone. Read on to learn seven traits that most successful solopreneurs share.
1. Undying passion
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after 12 years, he confronted the staff, saying, "People with passion can change the world for the better." He emphasized the importance of passion for the growth of a person as well as a company. Above anything else, a solopreneur must be passionate about the mission and goals of their company. If you're apathetic toward your cause, it will show in everything you do. As you spread the word to others and seek to grow your brand, they'll be able to tell instantly if you're genuine or just going through the motions.
When you are passionate enough, the internal zeal will drive you through the long hours of behind-the-scenes work and the inevitable rejections you'll face along the way. It will be easier to stay motivated and on course. When choosing your field of business, start with a topic you're interested in, and it will be that much easier to cultivate that enthusiasm.
It's one of the elements of solopreneurship that spark initial interest, but remember what it ultimately means. No one is standing over your shoulder, but it's still your responsibility to get everything done. Do you find it easy to stay on task and on time when you're the only one around? The story of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, is of self-motivation and determination. While working at a desk job, he started his company, Blue Ribbon, which imported track shoes from Japan and sold it in the US market. Despite his hectic career, lack of funds, hostile relationship with shoemakers, and time management problems, he was able to grow the company to a $100 billion sportswear corporation.
While working alone, staying accountable and responsible will require using project management tools and apps to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. It also means accepting the blame when a deliverable isn't up to par. If you require prompting to get started or prefer to start a job at the last minute, this pursuit might leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
3. Gritty perseverance
As a solopreneur, you have to be willing to stay the course, even when it gets a little rocky. Expecting to succeed effortlessly at every juncture is unrealistic and a sure recipe for discontent. Understand that you will experience failure along the way. It might be a small obstacle, or it could have a colossal impact. Either way, if you're dedicated to your cause and willing to see those challenges as growth opportunities, you'll be better positioned to turn those setbacks into setups for future success.
When J K Rowling, author of the infamous Harry Potter books, approached publishers in 1995, she was rejected twelve times. Finally, Bloomsbury bought the manuscript and published the first novel in the series in 1997. Since then, more than 500 million books have been sold worldwide, generating $7.7 billion in revenue. It only happened because J K Rowling didn't back down during her tough times. Perseverance is a dedication to stick to your goals, no matter what or who tries to impede your progress. It means seeing the bigger picture and pressing onward, even when it seems that the odds are stacked against you.
4. Out-of-the-box ingenuity
To stand out and build a following, solopreneurs often have to venture outside the norm. How can you position your idea in front of a room of investors, pique their interest, and encourage their participation? How can you design your logo to be as dynamic and distinctive as possible? What tools and techniques will you use to launch your digital marketing campaign or build your social media following?
Remember, there are millions of other people who share a dream similar to yours. To outpace the competition, you'll need plenty of ingenuity. You'll need to position your brand differently from the rest and help others see that same vision.
Do you love the idea of building your own business but don't have enough knowledge to build a website or launch an email marketing campaign? When it comes to the intricate details of your enterprise, not staying updated and exploring new avenues can put you at a significant disadvantage.
For example, so many people do not know about the availability of new domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .ONLINE, .SPACE, .SITE, .FUN, etc. So, instead of getting a relevant, more contextual domain name for their idea, they end up with a long-clunky domain name such as www.mynewbizness-idea.com when they can get www.businessname.site or www.mybusiness.online.
6. Ability to brave the boldness
Many solopreneurs begin their journey after working in a traditional 9-to-5 job and realizing it wasn't for them. This means they left a comfortable, salaried position to set off into the unknown. In general, how risk-averse are you? If you prefer to play it safe and fear rejection, being a solopreneur can make you feel anxious and tense. After all, until your company starts generating an income and building buzz, you'll likely be working for free.
This requires a great deal of boldness, along with both courage and confidence. You have to be willing to believe in your dream, even when no one else does. To those on the outside, you might even seem a little crazy at first. If you're excited to pursue your passion without a guaranteed safety net, this is the field for you. Oprah Winfrey is the perfect living example of boldness. Oprah Winfrey has come a long way from a poverty-stricken childhood to becoming the first and the only black multi-billionaire in America. She braved the rough childhood when she used to wear dresses made out of potato sacks, took bold decisions, and climbed up the ladder of success with her sheer grit and determination.
Especially in the beginning, your margins might be razor-thin, so it pays to be as resourceful and frugal as possible while not corners. While you don't want to cut corners, you should research the most cost-effective way to accomplish your tasks. Can you access a virtual assistant to help you troubleshoot a computer issue instead of taking your machine to an IT expert? Can you ask friends and family members to pitch in when necessary? Understand that watching your bottom line doesn't make you stingy. It makes you a smart business owner who's looking at every avenue possible to conserve resources and build capital.
While there are people who have the personality to become a solopreneur, it is possible to learn your way into this role. You don't need to have all of these character traits in spades, but you should be ready to develop them.
Setting off on your own is exciting, gratifying, and at times, a little scary. However, most people in this field can attest that the risk is worth the reward. Be confident and be ready to launch your new brand in the most dynamic way possible.
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