As I work alone from my small office home office (SOHO), trying to achieve something as a solopreneur, the journey often seems like an arduous climb…
At times I wonder whether it’s worth it at all… The uncertainty, the lack of structure, the constant responsibility, with the switch being turned on even on weekends… And to top it all, no fixed revenue.
When you start as an entrepreneur, everything seems romantic… You feel the pathway is going to be full of roses, but soon the thorns begin to prick, and reality hits!
As you wander from one meeting to the next, using your own past experience and knowledge to understand who to partner with, and who not to…which project to take up and which to abandon, entrepreneurship begins to seem like a continuous painful game of decision-making.
Very often patience wears thin… The regular pitches, the constant networking and the endless hours of working can take a toll, making you wonder what you got yourself into.
But the journey can be fun too… The trick is to look for the positives…to cherish how far you’ve come, and to make the most of what you’ve achieved so far.
This feel-good factor can be gained by keeping the following tips in mind…
Cherish the milestones
Remember the small and big wins you’ve already made… Like getting your first client, putting a website in place, making your first pitch, creating a network of vendors, or even taking that first bold step to venture out on your own.
As an entrepreneur, these may seem like things you had to do to get started, but they are all steps that will help you inch toward your goal… You may be nowhere near that big launch or million-dollar funding, but you have covered some area…and that’s reason enough to feel good.
Celebrate special days
Mark the important days in your life as an entrepreneur, just as you would in your life… Celebrate the day you registered your company, go party with your first cheque, or have dinner with your co-founder to commemorate the partnership.
When you take time out to celebrate the good things that happened to you in your entrepreneurial journey, the struggles don’t seem that bad after all… When you value what you already have, it gives you strength to keep going, and create some more.
Create healthy environments
Don’t let your struggles as an entrepreneur get the better of you… It’s easy to become short-tempered, irritable and moody, if something doesn’t go your way…but don’t let those feelings get transferred to your team or family.
As an entrepreneur, you may have challenging days, but try and be graceful through such times. Spread good cheer instead, support those around you, and be willing to be supported yourself… You don’t need to take all the stress on your shoulders, let the people around you be part of the problem-solving process. This will create a sense of ownership for your venture among others too.
Build a discipline
Being your own boss, you may feel you can set your own hours of work. But it’s always simpler to work along with the world. Moreover, if your clients work regular hours, it becomes important to be available to them during those hours.
It’s tempting to get carried away and take more time over lunch, or watch a movie, or finish off some household chores during work hours, but try putting a discipline in place. This will help regulate your life as a solopreneur, and you will realise that you achieve much more at the end of the day.
Share your experiences
Yes, your journey, however difficult it may seem, will always benefit another. Today the avenues to talk and write about your experiences as an entrepreneur are many… And even the little experience you’ve gained, may just make someone else’s journey easier.
So share freely what you’ve learned so far… You can do this at startup meets in your city, by writing a blog, sharing your views on online forums, or by mentoring another entrepreneur.
Also, work more actively at being a connector… When you can connect someone to the right person, you are accelerating their journey, as well as your own…because a good deed always comes back!
Have no regrets
What’s meant to happen will and if it didn’t, you probably just got lucky — that’s true of entrepreneurship too. You may not realise it in the present moment, but if you look back, you’ll realise that deals that didn’t work or partnerships that fell through, or the funding that didn’t come in, all happened for a reason… You were probably meant to do something else, maybe something bigger!
So accept what the entrepreneurial journey offers you, and continue to learn from its lessons. The road may seem long — with multiple detours and speed-breakers on the way — but don’t worry you will reach your destination soon. And then one day, when you tell your startup story to the world, be sure they will be delighted and inspired!
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