The Dangers of Solopreneurship

close up shot of a solopreneur text on an envelope

And how you can overcome them

I’m a loner and running a business as a solopreneurship. Nothing energizes me more than spending time alone. Spending too much time with people drains me. And if you put me in a room with a bunch of people I don’t know, I struggle mightily.

Yet, on the other hand, I can get up in front of a room and give a speech and talk with little trouble. I guess it’s all those years of public speaking being part of my job at the university.

And when the pandemic hit, and my university job switched to remote work — a trend that continued for almost two years — I was beyond excited. While I enjoyed most of my coworkers, working from home was my introverted self’s dream.

And during that time, I decided that I didn’t want to return to the office full-time and scaled my efforts in my copywriting business, which at that time I was running in part-time hours alongside my full-time university job. So I buckled down, grew my business, and on July 31, 2022, I left my full-time job to pursue my freelance copywriting business as my full-time gig.

I was officially a solopreneur, and eight months later, I still am, running my business all by my lonesome help, hiring out minimal help, for better or worse.

And I’ll be honest with you, solopreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be downright tough some days. In fact, many studies show that solopreneurs suffer from worse mental and physical health than their traditionally employed peers.

But if you’re aware of the challenges, some of which I outline below, and create a plan for how you’ll overcome them, you can find happiness and thrive.

Loneliness and Isolation

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If you’re a social person, this may be one of the more difficult aspects of solopreneurship. I’m an introvert, so I thrive in a quiet house and not seeing a lot of people, but this is a challenge for some.

There are a few ways you can combat this. If you’re able to work in more bustling environments, even setting up shop at a local coffee shop or library can be a way for you to get your people to fix. In my city, we have a few co-working spaces as well, where entrepreneurs can go to have a dedicated workspace but have others around them.

And, of course, forming strong online communities can help you get your dose of social connections. I belong to several online communities where I can interact with other entrepreneurs. Some of the groups host online socials or career-related events to create that camaraderie you may be looking for, too.

As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, make a plan for how and when you’ll get the social connections you need, whether that’s making regular plans with friends or other entrepreneurs. My local area also has various business groups with monthly meetups, so check for these opportunities in your community, too.

Financial Instability

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Your income as a freelancing solopreneur can be inconsistent.

As you build your business, make sure you have multiple streams of income and a robust client base so that if you have a client or two leave or one income source declines, you have other options to pay your bills.

I waited almost a full year of making five figures a month before I left my full-time job. I wanted to ensure my business was sustainable and a few good months weren’t a fluke. In addition to my freelancing on Fiverr, which is my main source of income, I also established a presence on other freelancing platforms, advertised my services on LinkedIn, am building my own website, and have created coaching and mentoring programs. I also have courses I’m building to provide a diversified client base and income opportunities.

Paying off as much debt as you can before fully embarking on your journey can be a great strategy, as is having a cushion in your savings account. Also, consider what you’d do if your income takes a substantial dip. Will you be able and willing to take on another full-time job? Move in with someone or rent out a room? Sell something? Though we don’t like to think about these things, having a contingency plan is critical. Always be prepared.

Inconsistent Workload

Similar to the advice above, if you can diversify your efforts, you can increase your chances of keeping work coming in. Establishing strong relationships with clients can help you keep consistent work, too. For instance, if you’re not on a retainer with a client and you see an opportunity to create such an opportunity, propose that to your client. If you’re a copywriter, maybe proposing a monthly order of regular blogs or something similar can be an option. The more clients you have on retainer, the more steady your work will be.

Diversifying in other ways can help, too, like coaching programs, mentoring, courses, paid newsletters, and more.

Overworking

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When you work for yourself, you can feel the need to be on 24/7. I’ve experienced this a bit. Though I work fewer hours overall compared to when I had a full-time job, I don’t always feel like I can truly disconnect. For instance, when we go on vacations, I often still put in some sort of work. Because as a one-person business, if I don’t answer the messages, who will?

Having strong boundaries can help you overcome this. Set work hours for yourself and stick to them. Create a plan for how you’ll communicate any breaks or absences to your clients.

If you want to expand your business efforts and even hire a virtual assistant for a few hours a week, this can be a low-cost and low-lift way to help you eliminate the need for always being on, especially when it comes to responding to routine messages or requests.

If you dream of working for yourself, run toward that dream. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. But it’s important to be realistic about the challenges you might face and create a plan to tackle them. There’s always a way around any challenge, and having a level head and planning ahead for them will help you make smart decisions when the time comes to make them.


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