Do you have an idea for a business that solves a problem in the marketplace? Are you considering taking that idea and turning it into a reality? If your answer is YES, then you are joining numerous others who have become entrepreneurs in the past two years. All those who become small business owners are entrepreneurs, but not all are solopreneurs. These folks are the sole employee of their business. They are equipped and happy to run their business independently.
Advances in technology have enabled people to launch solopreneur start ups. Some of these are from home. Using a computer and resources available online can get the wheels in motion. However, taking your idea and turning it into a successful, full fledged business, requires more. Successful solopreneurs share some similar traits.
The following outlines 7 characteristics found in successful solopreneur’s. They are significant. You don’t have to rate off the charts in all seven, as one may offset the other. However, being aware of them will help you determine if you are cut from the solopreneur cloth. Here are the seven.
Seven Traits Found in a Successful Solopreneur
Trait 1: Passionate
According to Richard Branson, a British billionaire, entrepreneur and business magnate, the best advice he could give “anyone is to spend your time working on whatever you are passionate about in life.” Now, just because you are passionate about your small business idea doesn’t mean the venture will be easy. However, when it is something you love, a labor of love so to speak, it makes the journey worthwhile.
Passion is the fuel that sparks many of the additional traits of successful solopreneurs. It is what makes work enjoyable and enables a person to to fulfill their goals. Furthermore, passion captures the attention of others. It prompts them to take an interest in a venture. They will want to ask questions and learn more about it. Finally, it is what enables a solopreneur to get through numerous challenges. In essence a solopreneur is, more often than not, their own cheerleader.
No doubt along the journey passion may wane. However, there are ways to nurture it back. Taking the time to consider the purpose of the work, and the benefit it is offering to others can reignite passion. Also revisiting what your like to do/strengths helps. Once reminded there are ways to adjust and adapt the work. For example if accounting is not your strong suit a freelancer can be hired. That way you can devote your energy to your strengths. Finally, rest is an important consideration for keeping passion alive. When passion is combined with contribution success is likely.
Trait 2: Self-Discipline
A trait that follows on the heals of passion is self-discipline/self-motivation. If a person is energized and motivated by others, solopreneur ship may not be for them. As a solopreneur there is no boss overseeing your work. The only person(s) a solopreneur is accountable to is themselves and future clients. Working alone means being able to motivate yourself to work, set goals, learn and grow each day.
Of course everyone faces those times when they would rather pull the covers up over their head and stay in bed (we all have those days). But, being your own boss means having the discipline to overcome that temptation. Furthermore, if it is a home-based business boundaries between work/personal (home) life need to be set. Working from home can be distracting. As a solopreneur it is essential to be disciplined to avoid those distractions. Earlier last year I wrote an article to address this very issue. Successful solopreneurs have the ability to turn on their own motors and keep them running.
Trait 3: Flexibility
A solopreneur is a multi-tasker. As a result they need to be flexible/adaptable. Part of developing and maintaining this trait is to be open minded. A more recent term to describe flexibility is “pivot”. This term was coined by Eric Reis in his book “The Lean Startup.” In essence it is one’s ability to abruptly change directions. He discovered that companies such as “Twitter, YouTube, Groupon had abruptly changed course before they achieved success.” According to Forbes a pivot may be necessary in your product, or revenue, model or operations and so on.
Circumstances, technology and markets change and evolve. In spite of the original plan there is a need to be able to assess your circumstances and adapt. The recent pandemic is one major circumstance where businesses had to be flexible and pivot in order to survive and thrive. A successful solopreneur stays aware of current trends and evolves, adapts and pivots as necessary.
Trait 4: Tenacity
The fourth trait of a successful solopreneur is tenacity. Some call it determination, others unwavering grit. Whatever you call it the solopreneur needs it in order to push ahead, no matter the obstacles or setbacks. There is no doubt that solopreneurs face failure and rejection. The trick is to keep learning from those experiences.
Tenacity is perhaps the most significant characteristic that separates those who establish their businesses and thrive, and those who do not. As the saying goes, ” When the going gets tough the tough get going.” Being persistent and tenacious in the face of challenges will likely take you and your business to new heights.
Trait 5: Creativity
You have come up with an idea that meets a need in the market. My guess is you are somewhat creative. This quality serves the solopreneur well. There are numerous areas where this trait is powerful. It is needed in the branding process (logo, website, packaging). As an idea is pitched to others, creativity will enhance the presentation. And, as alluded to earlier there will be bumps in the road. Creativity enables a person to think outside the box for resolutions.
At times, no doubt, solopreneurs face a creative slump. That is why it is important to take time to rejuvenate by doing something that inspires you. For some it is listening to music, other it is taking a walk in nature. Whatever gets the creative juices going, take the time to do it.
Trait 6: Organized
As you can well imagine there are numerous aspects to running a business alone. To name a few there is marketing, accounting, administration, and customer service. This is challenging for the solopreneur. It requires organization skills and focus on efficiency. Many solopreneurs come by this trait naturally while others have to cultivate it. Being open to learning and applying the principles learned develops this trait.
There are numerous tools/apps that can help organization and efficiency. For example there are calendar and marketing tools as well as email and social media automation. Furthermore a freelancer can always help for the short or long term. Being a successful solopreneur does not mean burning the candle at both ends. It means learning how to work in an organized manner so that there is efficiency and effectiveness.
Trait 7: Curious Learner
The final trait of a successful solopreneur is one who is open to learning. Launching a business requires lots of homework. Due diligence needs to be practiced in starting a business. Once the business is launched solopreneurs continue to learn, and no doubt enjoy it. The market is constantly changing, as are customers needs and preferences. As a solopreneur it is important to stay ahead of the market and trends.
An open and curious learner makes for a good solopreneur. Books, articles and podcasts are available. Following a blog or networking with others in the same field can educate. Making learning a priority and part of the routine contributes to the solopreneurs success.
There are additional traits shared by successful solopreneurs. However, I believe these are the top seven. Having become aware of them you can decide if this is a venture for you. If so, go for it, and all the best!