Solopreneurship is not a Risky Business

Tightrope Walker

As solopreneurs we understand the benefits of having our own business.

Some of us seek the luxury of making our own schedule, others identify with the financial or tax benefits.

But, the most common reason many opt to run our own show is “peace of mind”.

Getting Risk in Perspective

When I first left corporate life and decided to hang my own shingle, many of my (soon to be ex-) colleagues seemed to think it a very risky venture.

They asked me things like; Supposing it doesn’t work? What if you don’t get any customers? How will you cope with being on your own?

I told them I thought working as a solopreneur is actually less risky than being a full time employee.

As an employee of someone else’s company, you have the illusion of stability but are always at risk.

At risk of being the casualty of someone else’s poor performance or bad decisions.

Let me give you an example which happened when I working as UK country manager in a global software company.

The UK team were having a great year.

Our sales were ahead of target.

UK revenues were growing well.

Then, one day, I received instruction to lose 10% of my workforce.

I asked why.

The part of the company in the USA wasn’t having such a great year.

Expenditure on US advertising and other marketing projects hadn’t produced the expected return.

North American sales were weak and this had an impact on the whole company.

The year would not be as profitable as the one before.

The annual results would not show continued growth.

The company urgently needed to make a bigger profit.

Now, the board could have launched an initiative to increase sales.

Profit could have come from diversifying products.

But instead, the board decided to cut costs.

And the quickest way to cut costs is to stop paying salaries.

So, even though the problem was in North America, the decision was to reduce the workforce by 10%.

Not just the North American workforce. 10% across the world.

I had a great team.

I had hired most of them.

They were good people, who worked hard.

My team were performing above target.

They had not done anything wrong.

But every part of the company had to cut staff by 10%

Because of someone else’s poor performance and bad decisions, I had let some of my people go.

As a manager of someone else’s company I could not be creative and find another solution.

My job was to do what the board had decided.

I had to sit across a table and tell people I admired, that they were no longer employed.

Performing the task of laying people off did not give me “peace of mind”.

I saw the risk of being employed.

Of my entire income being at risk of someone else’s bad decision.

Mitigating Risk as a Solopreneur

As a solopreneur, one client could fire me, but I always work with more than one client at a time.

So the impact to me of losing one stream of income is small.

Plus there are millions of other potential clients out there.

So if I lose one client I can take immediate action to win more.

It’s my decision.

I am in control and have the choice of how to respond to any situation.

I can mitigate risk.

For many solopreneurs, the peace of mind comes from knowing they are in control.

That their future is not governed by a decision several levels above them.

That their success is in their own hands.

Surveys consistently show 4 out of every 7 people would like to start their own business.

The sad part was that only 1 out of 7 ever do.

But then we don’t need statistics this to show this.

How many people do you know wish they were doing something different with their lives?

And how many of them are actually taking the steps necessary to change their lives?

The fact of the matter is that most people are like my ex-colleagues who could only see my choice as risky, while being blind to (or ignoring) the risk in their own position.

They lack the confidence in their own abilities.

Some of them also don’t have the patience and commitment it takes to build a business.

Fear of failure and lack of direction are not the characteristics of a solopreneur.

Other people suffer from procrastination and doubt.

This just produces a mind full of ideas which go nowhere.

Today when someone asks me the best way to start a business, my answer is always the same; “Start!”

Is it fear of failure preventing you from taking the first step?

Keep in mind you can only fail if you first try – not the other way around.

The Benefits of Mentorship

If it is direction that you need, find a successful person within your industry and pick their brain.

I am a strong advocate for mentorship.

It is one of the reasons I founded Link Management Group along with my business partner, Ian.

Our core belief is that many successful people are more than willing to share the details of their success with others who seek the same.

Among the members of Link Management Group you will find many who offer excellent guidance.

You can talk with people who were once in the exact same position and you are now.

The best way to become successful is by duplicating the work habits of the successful.

Our members are living proof that a career as a solopreneur is more than possible.

It is also immensely enjoyable, and profitable.

They form a collaborative community who answer questions and share their knowledge from a broad range of experience.

Finding yourself a mentor among your fellow Link’ members will help you prepare and take the first steps.

Through Link membership you will have access to useful tips and resources to help get your solo business up and running.

You will know you have achieved success when you become the one sharing your experience.

Get started today, it won’t take long.

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Written by 

Co-Founder & CEO of Link Management Group. An Investor & Coach to Small Business Owners, for the past 30 years I have helped startup and early-stage businesses to enter new markets and achieve sustainable growth of both revenue and profits. I have experience across a diverse range of sectors including central government, information services, software, health insurance, pet products, couture fashion, entertainment and aviation.  How can I help your organisation accelerate growth and achieve its full potential? 

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