Let’s say you have a great business idea, and you feel like you could see it through from concept to execution. You can envision yourself as the fresh young founder of a new company. But there’s one hitch in the road: other people.
Maybe you just like working independently. Maybe the very thought of managing a team makes you want to buy a mountain cabin in the middle of nowhere. If this is you then maybe, just maybe, there’s a different road: the path of the solo entrepreneur.
But first, you need to ask yourself, what is a solopreneur? And, more importantly, are the risks worth it?
In short, solopreneurship is the ability to own, manage, and run your business all by yourself. This can be a good thing! As a solopreneur, you don’t have to deal with the financial responsibility of more partners, and all of the profits are completely yours. Furthermore, you have total flexibility in the number of hours you work. And of course, you can also choose to work on whatever projects you choose: from building your own websites to creating virtual storefronts, all from the comfort of a café or a cozy couch in your pajamas.
However, being a solopreneur isn’t all roses and cherries. Life as a solopreneur, especially if done full-time, can lead to a lot of uncertainty and stress, and there are stark downsides to going it alone.
The greatest among these is the fact that you likely won’t have a steady flow of revenue. Unless you get incredibly lucky and score an instant niche in the market, you may not make money every month. Clients will appear and vanish as well, leading to frequent fluctuations in how much you make from the business.
Of course, this isn’t an unsurmountable hurdle; you can plan for the real possibilities of losing clients or sudden market recessions through savings and budgeting. But it will likely require more forethought going solo than it would as a member of an entrepreneurial team.
And as a solo entrepreneur, sick days can be real problems; when you aren’t working, neither is your company. This can put stress on vacations as well, though you can take a laptop with you on vacation to avoid the possibility of generating no income at all during that time.
Finally, the last thing you need to consider before taking the solopreneur route is: can you handle it? Solopreneurship can be lonely. Shouldering all aspects of the business on your own can be a lot of work. Ask yourself these questions before you consider striking out on your own:
- Can I handle running a business on my own? If not, how much help can I expect from parents, teachers and other mentors who are more experienced and knowledgable?
- Do I know other people who are running a business solo, and how are they handling it?
- Am I willing to keep up with social media management, building a website, and managing the financial side of the business on my own? Again, are parents, teachers and others in a position to help?
- Am I willing to trust myself to handle the big decisions without the safety of a group?
- What would make me happier, working as a team, or going solo?
If you’ve gone through those questions, and you feel ready to go solo, great! The best time to start working for yourself is now.