Solopreneurs: Honesty, Authenticity and Courage
If 2020’smayhem and maladies taught solopreneurs anything, it was the value of authenticity and honesty. The virtue of courage, where the value of honesty resides, was tested repeatedly. For business owners trying to survive in the a face of a grossly mismanaged pandemic and ongoing racial injustice, there was no hiding from the long list of questions, such as
- What are my core values and how do they show in my business?
- Will I need to pivot my services and products?
- What do my customers need right now to feel cared about and important?
- Do I have the physical and mental energy to do what is needed?
- Where can I find reliable guidance and support?
- What do I need to stop doing right now to stay in business?
- Who can I trust?
And, yet, single-owner LLCs and sole proprietors continued to create experiences that felt right and familiar for customers. They provided moments of normalcy in a tumultuous year. Sometimes it came in the form of artisanal bread produced at the ultra-local level and delivered to your doorstep. Or meditation and movement offered by yoga instructors teaching outdoors or via video to keep their communities connected. Maybe it was personalized fitness and conditioning brought by a masked instructor, helping to reduce anxiety and keeping people fit. Lessons of all types were offered from in-person studios, living rooms and virtual settings—even drumming instruction for children!
Fellow independent, one-person business owners shared their challenges and coping methods with Box52 Coaching. Here are some key take-aways.
Keep Your Vision Front and Center
It is not enough to write a vision statement for a business plan. Believing and sharing that vision of how the world will be better because of your product or service is equally, if not more important. Post it in a prominent place where you work, live, and look (like on your phone!). Refer to your vision often and use it as a touchstone when making difficult decisions.
Find Financial Fortitude
Being your own boss means doing a deep dive on your values around money. Consider questions like the following:
- How comfortable are you without a predictable paycheck?
- What does financial security mean to you?
- How will you stop undervaluing your service or product and begin to charge what it is worth?
This is NOT an area to avoid or put off. Questions about what you are or aren’t willing to do for a profit are better answered before you are in a financial bind. It takes serious resolve to endure the ups and downs of generating revenue each month. Establishing a separate bank account for your business will prevent many headaches in the future. Find more important tips here to reduce money management worries.
Put Your Biz First with Boundaries and Drop the Guilt
It is HARD to let go of the feeling that you must work ALL THE TIME when it is you and only you taking care of your business. Build in regular reminders that you are your best self when you are comfortable and relaxed running your business. This means taking breaks and keeping your life multi-dimensional. Create a routine to shape your work day. This strategy is especially critical if you operate out of your living space. Scheduling work hours helps to eliminate the feeling that you should be doing something else, like caring for your home and any other beings who live there. It also helps those around you to know when they can gain your full attention, rather than becoming another interruption. Tackle guilt head on. It wastes your precious energy.
Take Care of Your Body/Mind
As a certified health and wellness coach, I can’t emphasize self-care enough. Rest (sleep and other forms) allows vital physical processes to occur in your body. Dr. Matt Walker, a sleep guru with degrees in neuroscience and neurophysiology, shares why soundly snoozing is important. He offers six tips for getting more and better sleep.
Eating a balanced, nutritious diet provides a quality source of energy to stay focused and to meet your business demands. Keep fruits, veggies, and nuts handy to snack on. Drink water. You can add edible essential oils or slices of fruit to make water taste better without extra sugar or sugar alternatives.
Whether you call it exercise or not, find ways to include more movement in your day. Dance, walk, run, bike, swim, snowshoe, chair yoga, kickbox, spin, or roll. Whatever your body is capable of doing, do it. Just be sure to get it into your daily routine. Your brain will thank you, along with the rest of your body. Need more proof? Check out this article about all the benefits.
Stop putting off preventive and routine medical care. Find a new primary care physician and go for an appointment. Schedule with the dentist. See an eye doctor. The upfront time and effort it takes to do these tasks can be frustrating, but it is worth the investment. Being healthy is not a guarantee, and many individuals manage chronic illness while leading their business. Remember, taking care of yourself is a type of insurance for your business. Suze Orman, whose whole business is money, shares her personal denial and ultimate health consequence here.
Seek Out Support
Even though you made the leap to be on your own, you are not alone. Find other solopreneurs to brainstorm ideas. Connect with local business groups or like-minded social media groups. Sign up for an account with the Small Business Development Center in your region or state. Talk to family and friends about how they can support you in clear, concrete ways. It can help them to feel purposeful and can get you help when you need it. Stop believing that successful people do things all on their own. It’s a fallacy. And, as we learned at the beginning, being honest with yourself is crucial to making your business thrive.
Hiring a coach is an outstanding way to define your goals, address your fears, and gain clarity about areas that need attention. You get a confidential space to express yourself and support in setting up actions and accountability strategies to meet internal and external expectations for your business.