One of the biggest shifts in today’s business and entrepreneurship landscape is the advent of the solopreneur.
One-person businesses are on the rise, especially because a single person can now leverage technology to scale their output to a surprisingly high level.
Having the agile flexibility of a one-person business can work to your advantage, because you can respond much faster to new market opportunities.
In some sense you could compare being a solopreneur to manoeuvring a fast motorbike, whereas a traditional office-based business with a large team moves more like an 18-wheeler.
On your solopreneur motorbike, you can handle corners a lot quicker and respond immediately to sudden changes in the road ahead. Big trucks need a lot more room to turn and take a lot longer to do so.
But to continue the analogy, motorbikes are also a lot more dangerous. Sure, you can turn corners faster, but you also might fall off.
You’re a lot more exposed to risk, because solopreneurship is not without its challenges.
Are You Making The Biggest Solopreneur Mistake?
I have been a solopreneur myself several times, and I can say from experience that the biggest mistake any solopreneur can make is to neglect collaboration.
I have done this in the past, and I have vowed to never do it again.
What do I mean by collaboration though? Surely if you’re collaborating with people, you’re no longer in the one-person business category?
This is only partly true. Firstly, there isn’t really such a thing as a one-person business, because if you look hard enough, you’ll realise that there are always more people involved.
Not only that, but there is also another completely hidden secret about collaboration that you’ve almost definitely never heard of. More on that later…
Why You Need To Network As A Solo Entrepreneur
What I can say from my own experience is that attempting to be a lone wolf when you are running a business is a recipe for disaster.
You might think you’re different – I did – but I can assure you that you’re not!
There are many forms of networking, but if you don’t take advantage of any of them, you risk some real downsides.
If you remain isolated as a professional, you cease to be one.
The last thing you want to do is to limit your exposure to advancements in your industry, miss out on potential collaborations, or not realise growth opportunities.
One of the biggest things for me was the realisation that you can waste huge amounts of time if you do things purely alone. You can spend months on a project without realising that it is in fact just a massive waste of time.
Having the perspective of even one other person can help you avoid situations like these.
Networking Strategies For Your One-Person Business
Considering that you are operating alone, especially at the start, you won’t have any meaningful contacts in your industry.
One of the best strategies for changing this is to attend conferences and workshops in your industry.
When you have access to hundreds of highly relevant people in one venue, you have the best possible opportunity to start creating relationships and friendships with others who are in your field.
If you don’t have access to such events, then the next best thing is to do the same thing online.
Nowadays, especially post-Covid, online events have become very sophisticated and are usually very well put-together.
They usually offer virtual networking spaces that allow you to create meaningful connections with other people who are attending, perhaps even from the other side of the world.
Delegation As Collaboration
Along with networking, delegation is the other vital form of collaboration that you can’t do without as a solo entrepreneur.
Of course, if you were to employ even one other person, then you couldn’t call yourself a one-person business anymore and this discussion would no longer apply to you.
But nowadays, internet tools allow you to delegate with ease, even without any employees on your books.
Freelancer platforms like Fiverr and Upwork give you access to an almost infinite pool of freelancers with an endless array of specialities.
This can really help you as a one-person business, because it is basically impossible to grow your business if you plan to do everything yourself.
Bringing in other people to handle some of your tasks allows you to free up your own time for strategizing and growing the business, which is what you really need to be doing if you want to be successful.
Your Best-Kept Collaboration Secret
When it comes to collaboration in a one-person business, this is the million-dollar secret that almost everyone is missing.
The most powerful form of collaboration you can put into effect as a solopreneur is what I call ‘Self-Collaboration’.
You’re probably wondering what on earth that means. Maybe it sounds like some sort of vague self-help thing…
Self-Collaboration essentially means that when you are working on your business, all of the forces inside of your head are in balance and able to move freely when and where they need to.
If you are able to achieve this, your results will surpass all of your expectations.
This concept is derived from Effective Intelligence (EI).
What EI teaches us is that each individual has their own set of thinking preferences and biases, which can either work in or against their favour, depending on the task they are currently tackling.
For example, some people naturally enjoy creative thinking and using their imagination.
These people are great assets to a business when innovation is called for, when the market is crying out for a new idea to fill an opportunity.
But when it comes to refining that idea and doing all of the detailed research to ensure that it’s sound as a business model, these creative type people are usually not so useful because they lack the inclination to detail.
In that situation, you need an analytical person. And of course that same analytical person is probably not so useful when it comes to the creative ideas step that I mentioned first.
Every business requires these different types of thinking, as well as many more, in order to function successfully.
This presents a huge challenge for a one-person business, because one person has to fill all of these different roles that require hugely different thinking styles.
The only way to achieve this great feat is to play all of these roles at once, and the only way to do that is to first understand what type of thinker you are.
With that information, you can then calibrate your thoughts accordingly, especially when you consciously understand that your current task requires a different type of thinking to the one that you naturally prefer.
The Rhodes’ Thinking-Intentions Profile gives you that unfair advantage you need, because it gives you full visibility over your mind, allowing you to make the conscious adjustments you need to remain agile and effective.
Get hold of your thinking profile today for free right here!