I’ve been a solopreneur since 2005, and I can honestly say, though all the ups and downs, I’ve loved every minute of it.
The Solopreneur Life is an amazing way to take control of your life and build something you’re proud of. Quite possibly, it’s the ONLY way.
Going solo gives you freedom that you don’t get as a worker bee. It gives you control over who you work with… the way you work… and when.
As a solopreneur, YOU decide how much income you want. You have the power to generate it.
But too often, we forfeit that power. Not intentionally, mind you. It just… happens. Because we never step into the fullness of the opportunities in front of us.
To be clear, if you feel like you’re stuck, it’s not your fault.
All of us face three giant obstacles every day. They don’t just stall us out, they slow us down, hold us back, and sometimes derail us altogether.
What are these obstacles? In just a minute, I’ll share them with you. But first, let’s talk about the five problems every solopreneur faces when trying to build a profitable business.
The 5 Biggies for Solopreneurs
What are the challenges that hold us back as solopreneurs? These five tend to rank high on the list.
Problem #1: Steady Income
For solopreneurs, it’s almost always feast or famine. You’re looking for work… so you come up with a campaign to generate some income… and it flops, putting you back at zero.
Or it does 10x better than you ever expected. Now you’re swamped with work, wondering how you’ll meet all your deadlines.
You need to be able to stabilize your income, so you never worry about how you’ll pay the bills or how you’ll get everything done.
Problem #2: Getting Clients
The market is constantly evolving. What worked five years ago most likely isn’t working anymore. Which means you’re always having to tweak your process and refine your client-closing skills.
As a solopreneur, you’re the revenue department and the sales team. You must always be watching your profits, looking for leads, and having sales conversations. But these are high-level business skills. And if you haven’t refined them before hanging your shingle, you need to fast-track your learning.
This is one of the biggest problems for new solopreneurs. And it can take years to refine your sales skills.
Problem #3: Getting Paid Professional Rates
Once you’ve learned how to get clients, this becomes the biggie. So many solopreneurs compete on price, your clients honestly believe they can get away with paying pennies on the dollar for professional services.
Think coaching and training are any different? If your course is popular, you’ll get emails from people fussing at you for charging competitive rates and begging you to let them in for free.
Problem #4: Burnout
Most solopreneurs agree burnout is a huge problem. To generate the income we need, we often burn the candle at both ends. We ignore our health, relationships, and hobbies. All in the name of building a business we can be proud of.
But we can only do that for so long before we pay the price. Burnout can kill our joy and suck all our energy. When that happens, instead of a business you love, you’ve got another job.
Problem #5: Having Enough Hours in the Day
Your business is growing. Great! But more work requires more time. And after a while, there’s simply not enough time in the day to get everything done.
If You Can Relate, You’re Not Alone
These five problems are almost universal. The only people who don’t struggle with them are the solopreneurs who have a background in business growth and leadership. They’ve already figured out the processes and systems that keep these problems at bay.
The rest of us…
We learn the hard way: trying to figure things out on our own… making mistakes… trying again…
The truth is we didn’t get into business to be a business manager. We got into business because we care about the work we do… the solution or transformation we bring to the world… the feeling of pride when the guard rails are removed and we reach our highest goals.
The business side of things? Ugh!
This Is Why So Many Businesses Fail in the First Few Years
The five problems we just talked about are just the surface of a giant iceberg. We have to go deeper to see the three obstacles that slow your success and threaten to drive you out of business.
This obstacle comes from Problems 1, 2, and 3. Failure to generate a steady income, get clients, and get paid what you’re worth, are all symptoms of a bigger problem…
And that’s lack of business know-how.
The truth is, there’s more to running a business than announcing to the world that you’ve got something to sell. You need to know at least a little business strategy, marketing, and sales.
We hear so often that all we have to do is build a website or learn an in-demand skill to start raking in the money, we get excited about that vision and fail to realize that even our solopreneur business is… well… a business.
It doesn’t help that we’re working alone. We don’t have weekly strategy meetings. We don’t have a board that can guide our decisions. We wear all the hats, whether we’re qualified or not.
But this lack of strategic knowledge seriously endangers your business. Without some basic business acumen, you can’t build a business that pays the bills.
Which brings us to Problem #5. Not having enough time in the day leads to…
I call this obstacle the Time-Income Conundrum. Basically, to earn more income, you need more time. But to regain control of your time, you have to turn away work and give up potential income.
It’s a lose-lose!
When you don’t have the business skills to make smart decisions that will grow your business, what do you do? If you’re like most solopreneurs, you make up the difference by working harder.
So you put carve out the hours to get the income you need.
You work hard.
You work long.
And at first, it does make up the difference. Simply by putting in more hours, you can grow your business and hit your income goals.
But that teaches you that Time = Income.
And that’s a mistake!
Once you buy that, you start clocking more hours, never realizing that it’s not time that gets you to your goals. It’s strategy.
Which brings us to…
We all know this, but it’s easy to ignore it: Non-stop work simply isn’t sustainable.
It tears down our health. It harms our relationships. It robs us of the freedom that drew us to the Solopreneur Life in the first place.
This can be a killer. Literally.
Once you fall into the Time-Income Conundrum, it’s easy to stop taking care of yourself. You may be able to get away with that for a short time. But your body is a machine. If you don’t take care of it, it slowly stops performing.
That’s Obstacle #3: the lack of self-care.
The worst part is, you don’t always see it coming.
Over time, your body and mind become so exhausted, you can’t perform at your best. Burnout is the best-case scenario. If you keep pushing through, you’re likely to suffer a heart attack or other health crisis.
When keeping your business alive is more important than keeping YOU alive, you’ve got Obstacle #3. And this is when many solopreneurs give up and take a J.O.B.
And the biggest tragedy of all? If they had been given the right support, they’d probably still be in business, meeting or exceeding their goals.
Three Business-Breaking Problems. One Simple Solution
When you’re struggling with these three obstacles, it can seem overwhelming. Deep down, we know the solution. We’re just hesitant to admit it because it seems counterintuitive.
As solopreneurs, we work solo. And we think that’s how it has to be.
But here’s the truth: No one — and I mean NO ONE — can succeed without input, support, and guidance from other people who have been there and done that.
That’s why Big Businesses outperform us. It’s not that they have more people to do the work. It’s that they have a built-in mind hive. When they’ve got a problem, they gather in a conference room, everyone sharing their best ideas. Where one person is weak, someone else makes up the difference.
Not so for the solopreneur.
When you’ve got a problem, you have a conference meeting of ONE. There’s no team by your said giving you feedback on your ideas. There’s no one to give you a fresh perspective or expert guidance.
As a solopreneur, you’re the only expert in the room.
I get it. For years, I tried to go it alone. I watched as other solopreneurs came from behind and passed me up. I’d watch their business take off and wonder what they had that I didn’t have.
I knew my skills were good. And I was pretty sure my business strategy was on point.
Then it hit me…
They did have something I didn’t have…
An active network.
They had solopreneur friends who they could call on when they had a question… people they could collaborate with… partners they could work with on complex projects.
The ones with friends in their corner are always going to win.
The Choice Is Yours
As a solopreneur, the choice is ALWAYS yours. On most days, that’s a good thing. But when you have a nightmare client… a project that just won’t come together… or a legal challenge that scares the bejeebies out of you…
You want help making those choices.
Which is why you must find your support group. To succeed as a solopreneur, you can’t fly 100% solo.
Going it alone, on average, takes about 10 years to figure out the basics of your business and feel like you know what you’re doing. But even then, you’ll have other challenges. And there’s no reason to face those challenges by yourself.
Together, we really are better.
So don’t wait another minute. Find your tribe. And plug into the power.
If you’re looking for a high-value coaching community that gives you ongoing training to build your business PLUS a thriving network to support you along the way, check out the Hub, by Solopreneur Life. Our mission is to see YOU succeed.