What’s The Point of Being A Solopreneur?
In 1977, Debra Sivyer got an investment from a banker to start her own business in Palo Alto, California. She’d had some success baking cookies for the Oakland A’s – everyone told her how delicious they were, thanks to her use of real, fresh ingredients – so she thought she could make it on her own. Her own husband, however, was incredulous, and claimed she wouldn’t make $50 on her first day.
And of course, on that first day, when she opened her doors, nothing happened. Debra remembers that day well.
“I open up the store. I’ve got all these cookies. I had brownies. And I wait for the most amazing cookies sales. I just know it’s going to be a smashing success. And here I am waiting, waiting, and the day’s starting to wear, and it’s getting closer to mid afternoon, and I had a couple of customers walk in to see what was going on, but nobody actually made a purchase. I thought everything I had worked for, everything I had dreamed of, everything I had thought was possible wasn’t happening. It was pretty hard.”
Why Do We Put Ourselves Through That?
Becoming a solo and starting your own business means taking an extraordinary amount of risk. If you invest a bunch of money in a mutual fund that goes under, you’ll lose that cash, certainly. But when you invest in a business, there’s both time and money, and your reputation, at stake.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just keep working for someone else?
Of course. But easier isn’t what solopreneurs are looking for.
[Stop. If you’ve already started your business and begun the solopreneurship journey, scroll down to the comments and leave a note: why did you do it? What made you want to become a solopreneur? Ok, thanks! Please continue reading.]
So, What’s The Point of Being A Solopreneur?
There are actually a lot of reasons why people decide to become a solopreneur. Usually it’s about addressing a negative aspect in your life and turning it into a positive aspect. For instance:
Job Hate – probably the #1 reason people strike out on their own is that they don’t like what they’re currently doing. Either they dislike who they work for or with, or perhaps are unhappy with the constraints of working within a structured corporation… or maybe they just don’t like spending their time making money for other people. Whatever the case, getting out of their current job and into a better one is a huge motivator.
Lifestyle Hate – working a traditional job typically means going into work from 9 to 5, then back home, and repeating the next day, day after day. It’s routine and it’s monotonous… and you’re stuck there. It’s even worse if you’re in a small town or economically challenged region, as your options for change or moving become increasingly limited.
Income Hate – of course, if you’re working for another company, that means you’re likely stuck with a predictably low income and few, if any, raises or bonuses. Many traditional employees are unable to radically impact their income through their normal job, and therefore start looking at the alternatives.
And all of those are good, valid reasons for wanting to capture that solopreneurial spirit and grow your own business.
But that’s not the real reason.
The real reason, the point, of being a solopreneur is deeper than that. It has to do with personal fulfilment and accomplishment. You see, the real reason why you should become a solopreneur is to Do What You Love. (Yeah, that was our theme for Valentine’s Day, for good reason.)
Pursuing the “dream of owning your own business” really boils down to making sure that each day you get to wake up and be excited about that day. About all of it’s potential. You ought to love your business and what you do so much that you can’t wait to get into it.
That also means that you’ll have so much drive and passion, you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.
Let’s go back to Debra, but this time, I want you to hear what else she has to say.
“I open up the store. I’ve got all these cookies. I had brownies. And I wait for the most amazing cookies sales. I just know it’s going to be a smashing success. And here I am waiting, waiting, and the day’s starting to wear, and it’s getting closer to mid afternoon, and I had a couple of customers walk in to see what was going on, but nobody actually made a purchase. I thought everything I had worked for, everything I had dreamed of, everything I had thought was possible wasn’t happening. It was pretty hard. I’m not going to close the book on history and say, “If only…” I’m going to do whatever I have to make this thing work.”
Right after she had that thought, she picked up a tray of her delicious cookies, marched out of her store, and started handing them out for free to anyone who walked by. Within moments, she had people standing in her store, wanting to buy more.
She didn’t come home that day with $50. She came home with $75, and the encouragement that comes with success.
Debra’s husband? That was Randy Fields, who went on to help her develop her business “Mrs. Fields Cookies” into a huge success. It was hard work, but it paid off.
As Warren G. Tracy’s student put it, “Solopreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
Be prepared for challenges and tough times, but also be focused on making sure that you’re moving in the right direction for your life.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
That’s why you want to be a solopreneur. To achieve what you truly want to become.
If you haven’t already, you should sign up for our mini-course on solopreneurship. Over the course of a few days, we look at many other successful solopreneurs, and the challenges they had to overcome. Funding. Failures. Focus, and other topics that will help you position yourself to be a success. Sign up below to have the free course delivered to your email.