Are you a solopreneur? If so, what is the biggest challenge you face?
I am curious if the biggest challenge faced by a solopreneur will vary based on the geography of the business (i.e. US vs UK vs India vs Australia, etc.). I am interested in identifying what solopreneurs feel is their biggest challenge. What's holding them back. If they could just solve this problem they would see a dramatic improvement in the success of their business.
If you are a solopreneur, I would appreciate your input. Please indicate your geographic home base when responding.
What menu should I pick for the company Christmas lunch? :)
Scott, the biggest challenge I have is finding ways to meet and build relationships with CEOs and other executives, the individuals who engage my services.
Balancing time between rainmaking and working on projects.
An entrepreneur is a person who sets up business or businesses, taking on financial risks in hope of profits. In other words it can be said that an entrepreneur is someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take the benefit of an opportunity and as a decision maker decides what and how much of goods or services will be produced.
Soloprenuers are some with the multiverse, multi-talented and diverse people. They try to perform different roles at same time like they are the project managers, a risk taker, an accountant, a marketer and a salesman etc. all combined into one.
The biggest challenge as a Soleprenuer is not multi-tasking but rather Balancing the budget that you have. So many startups get over extended in a financial sense. The people in charge get too excited with their purchases, or they spread themselves too thin, and an unexpected expense pops up, ruining everything. Have a tight budget written up and leave extra money for surprises. You’ll be glad that you did.
Making time to to work on your business not in your business.
There is no sounding board, no people to discuss and brainstorm with. There is no person that you have to explain why you are doing what you are doing. Time management also tends to be an issue.
I would have to say that there is never enough time for everything. Someone in my field has to be a polymath, and therefore my time is very tight. Sooner or later Ill have to take on some help, but again, I dont have time for interviews either...lol... I suppose its a good problem to have, that Im constantly working on new projects and exploring new avenues of my design business, but still. It would be nice to be able to take a breather every once and while and actually have a day off without the phone ringing, emails coming in or texts every fifteen seconds.
I think that the largest challenge faced by me, is that I sometimes need to have a "kick in the butt" to go along, when I have becomed too involved in things that has nothing to do with my present project. And also that I am talking a little to much to myself. So more than once I have had trainees to fill out the loneliness and also coming up with good ideas. Cause it can really be the lone wolf to work alone. I am often going to network, to meet people who are solopreneurs as myself.
I agree with Tom Fox. I run a speaker placement service (solo) based in the U.S. but with an international outreach. The biggest challenge is spending the right amount of time on my clients and also on growing the business and getting new clients. Tough balancing act!
Geographic Home Base - USA - My biggest challenge is fine tuning processes. My background is troubleshooting - (software test engineer) (Microsoft tech / phone support) - because of this I am always looking for better ways to handle my time. With the internet - there are so many things we need to keep up on. Social networks are key to our internet success.
So, utilizing WordPress (I am a WordPress web designer) I have found great apps that will sync my blog posts to my social networks - I currently have my blog posts going to (8) different social networks. + I just added Apple News to the mix.
This is what I mean by fine tuning processes. I also know which social networks sync with other social networks - example: If I want to post something to my Tumblr blog - I know that that posting will go to Facebook and Twitter.
If I want to post something to "Pack" - this is a dog social network that I belong to - that posting will go to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
If I want something to go out to the masses - I will do a blog post - however, I do have control over that as well - I can simply uncheck the networks that I do not want to have the information that I am sharing.
This saves me a lot of time - I also have appointed times (I schedule my time to post and do the internet stuff) I also have downloaded all the applicable apps to my iPhone - and I post and or share while I am out and about - If I have a doctor appointment and have to wait for a bit - I share stuff on my iPhone - killing to birds with one stone.
Adapting to technology is the key!
In my case it is getting a client to recognise they need your services.
I specialise in the Credit Management and Control sector of accountancy. Sadly in the UK Credit Management is not taken as seriously as it is in the USA, and sadly seen as a debt collection operation as to bad debt prevention.
In fact I prefer working on my own, particularly for a company/business that recognises that they have a very real problem, and allow me to get on with job and exchanging ideas how to improve the business, as opposed to the "magic wand mentality".
Yes, I work alone, and I have run my own business for a while but the biggest problem I face is getting people to take Credit Control seriously, and the cost of marketing. The term Entrepreneur is a bit of a misnomer since it can be interpreted in so many ways.
As a Sole Trader (as they are referred to in the UK), one of the problems is getting people to take you seriously as you are a one man band. Ironically the contrary is true in the building trade in the UK, where I would suggest 80% of sector are self employed, sole traders.
There are a number of issues in running a business either as a Sole Trader or as a Limited Company. As a Sole Trader, you are responsible for everything financial; i.e. if your business goes down, so do you (if you are not careful). Also you have two sets of tax returns, one for yourself and the other for the business if you are going to trade as an Unlimited company.
With a Limited Company, in the UK, you can be sole Director which protects you to the value of the companies share issue, in my case £100.00 However to all intents and purposes I am a Sole Trader and the precaution of the Limited Company was that they cannot touch my house, or personal belongings other than articles which belong to the business.
My situation, and those in the building trades, is different to many since my work is "virtual". That is to say I provide a service to a person/business/corporation. I have nothing that I can physically show. At least a builder can show a house or similar building that he has constructed. In my case the work is totally virtual to sell.
There are issues relating to advertising, which can be expensive even using the sites as FaceBook etc which are free and building your own web-site the problem lies with Search Engines being able to pick up on the words that the would be client expects to find. For example in Credit Control/Management, many people will look up the words "debt collections". Also the way you name your company can have an effect on the way these search engines work, and I have to admit I think that people rely on the internet too much.
Again, in my case it is a question of being a "bearer of bad news". As a Credit Controller or Consultant, people often call me in to actually deal with arrears of debt which they have allowed to build up. The problem arises when you have to tell them that much of that debt cannot be collected. Alternatively due to the fixation of many clients about the number of telephone calls to collect money is a direct ratio of money coming in.
As I have to explain to many clients, they have problems due mainly to a combination of poor accountancy, neglecting accounts where disputes have been raised and are seen too time consuming (see comment above about calls per hour = efficiency), as a result the difficult debt gets left behind which for the sake of some remedial work or a small credit note would result in payment. Instead invaribly the debt is allowed to rot in the 90 day coloumn and becomes a write off.
I have run my company for a total of 14 years, and although there have been personal issues not related to the market which I have had to deal with, the biggest problem is getting would be clients to admit they have a problem. Many don't like to hear bad news and I have been "fired" on a couple of occasions because the money wasn't coming in, or that I was spending too much time on one case. Also the other bad news you have to deliver is that some cases are going to have to be write offs, and actually the client company is in more serious trading difficulties than they thought.
Perhaps what is interesting is that larger debt recovery and Credit Management firms fair better in attracting trade than small, one man bands. Again I assume the assumption is that the large ones can carry higher voloumes: quantity, not quality. However the market is very competitive (as the buzz word goes).
I feel your pain as a sole entrepreneur. I guess we all have or are sharing in this growing pains. The first (there is more than one when we leave the corporate world and strike out on our own) challenge was to change my attitude. By attitude, I mean an self-inner culture change. Must be positive, confident and self esteem. Can not let rejection put you in a downward spiral. The outlook should be that the client failed to meet my system of qualifying for my expertise on a project. That leads me to the second challenge. Change from the traditional method of 'interviewing' a prospect to 'Your System'. The traditional method is basically a four step process - interest, presentation, close and then chase the order. With this system the prospect is in control of the process. You want to turn the tables so use 'Your System'. This includes six steps where you start to control the process - bonding and rapport with client, listening (by listening instead of speaking you will learn the truth of their pain and their real intent) to their pain, asking if their budget includes your price, instead of asking if they are the decision maker ask what is the decision process, then make a presentation but do not give away the store and finally following up for the sale.
Jim Skrydlak hit the nail on the head - workflow. I'm a graphic designer, and it's either feast or famine, as Mom used to say. Right now it's famine, and I feel like I'm dying.
Here in the USA, every solopreneur I know has the same problem - work flow. Either you have no work (or very little) or far too much. I'm a free-lance software developer, but this seems to be the case for graphic designers and others.
I am a solopreneur and the biggest challenge that I have limitation beyond my Potential. I can move to a limited extent. But whatever I gain or loose, it goes to my credit.
To me, the biggest challenge is managing workflow, particularly balancing time spent generating billable hours, marketing, researching, networking and financial tasks. I'm always looking for ways to standardize pieces of the process, or to generate enough revenue to outsource some of these tasks, but it's hard to get there. (Sometimes I get close, but I keep fielding curve balls which throw me off my game.) If I could sort this out properly I believe I could generate a lot more revenue -- and have more fun!
Interesting question, Scott. A little different from the usual stuff - appreciate it..:) Great answers too!
I'm more like Geoffrey Gyrisco. For me, as a consultant for multi-income online teaching, generating leads consistently is a big issue. I oscillate from paid ads to finding influencer to writing blog posts in order to reach out to my ideal clients. Second is, as Geoffrey mentions, managing time and work. But I think it's workable with the right type of CRM tool(s).
I'm from Kolkata, India.
I travel world-wide and teach. the first thing is to know the culture and manners of the country. For example words spoken in business in Japan by Americans is often misunderstood. A nod means I am listening - to Americans I means I agree. So many go home thinking they have done business with a handshake and find out it means nothing when they call back to confirm. In india, to greet and acknowledge the divine presence of the person who has come to visit is important. in return westerners must be gentle and genuinely interested in their ways. Then later to pitch with that in mind how one's business can help those people, rather than thinking about cash. The heart must trust first.
Being a Solopreneur the biggest challenge I face is new customers. My business is generally a non- repeat business. Word of mouth and customer satisfaction are very important. Also, trying to understand all the different marketing techniques for my business, which has no marketing budget, makes the issue even bigger issue. I am in Colorado USA.
One platform that manages the following:
- Client Emails
- Time tracking
- File Sharing
- Project Management Tools (like Asana)
- Calendar/Meetings/Conference Line Tools
And all of this, on my smart phone :)