By Alisha Shibli
As global pandemic-like scenarios force us to reevaluate the idea of job security, technological advancements afford us the comfort of being able to work from anywhere with access to the internet.
Many of us, hence, have been thinking a little more seriously about the idea of being self-employed. While some of us are more ambitious and aspire to build a large business empire, most others are just looking for freedom to work on our own terms and pursue things we are passionate about. Solopreneurs fall in the latter category.
A combination of the terms “solo” and “entrepreneur”, solopreneur refers to someone who starts and runs a business without hiring anyone. They do all the work on their own or often outsource jobs to other professionals. They don’t partner with anyone and are solely responsible for all business decisions while enjoying the perks of unshared profits.
While bearing the burden of handling an entire business, even a small one, by oneself, seems like hard work (and it is!), there are many perks of being a solopreneur that far outweigh the challenges.
For example, to start your solopreneur business, all you need is a website. Register a great domain name on a new and meaningful domain extension such as .ONLINE, .SITE, .SPACE; build a simple website; and get started.
If you’re still in two minds about pursuing your solopreneurial journey, here are five awesome points in favor of it.
1. Freedom to create your own routine
Freedom from the shackles of a 9-5 routine can be quite liberating. When you’re working for yourself, you can create a routine that works best for you. For instance, if you’re not a morning person and feel more productive and energetic at night, then there’s no one stopping you from working past midnight and sleeping in on most mornings.
If you prefer to work for 10 hours three times a week rather than 8 hours five days a week, so be it. You can also factor in time for other things that are important to you, such as exercising, pursuing your hobbies, and spending time with your family.
There will, of course, be times when you’ll have client meetings or collaborations where you will have to accommodate other people’s availability. This consideration, however, is what will help you build a strong professional network that continues to bring quality work your way.
2. Flexible schedule
Solopreneurs can be spontaneous and need-driven when it comes to their schedule. When you’re working for yourself and by yourself, you don’t have to worry about accumulating your leaves to take that big vacation or attend a family engagement. There’s no more applying for leave and waiting anxiously for the boss’ approval either.
Whether you want to do a course, work on your passion project, explore the world, look after your physical and mental health or just catch up on sleep, you are free to choose when and how you take time off.
You should, however, not take this freedom for granted. While you work towards achieving that coveted work-life balance, your commitment towards your professional responsibilities should not waver.
A schedule that prioritizes important tasks, followed by routine work such as responding to emails and creating invoices and small breaks in between for meals, relaxation, exercising, and so on, will give your days some structure and make sure things get done without being too overwhelming.
3. Get things done
Often at the workplace, things get delayed because of long processes and the need to follow the chain of command. Important work is put on hold because the team lead hasn’t made a decision or a budget allocation for one of your projects has to go through several rounds of approval before you can get started.
Such issues can be rather frustrating, but you don’t have to worry about them when you are a solopreneur. The only approval that you need is your own so you don’t have to stress about work getting stalled.
However, being your own boss means that sometimes there are difficult decisions to be made and you alone bear the responsibility and the consequences of these decisions. Instead of delaying and procrastinating, trust your instincts and your ability to guide you to tackle even the toughest of decisions to keep things going.
4. Work on exciting projects
Even if you’re working in a job that you love, there are times when you have to work on projects or assignments that don’t really excite you. Sometimes they may even go against your beliefs and values, but you have to take them in your stride as they are “part of the job”.
Being a solopreneur, however, allows you to have greater control over the work you do. You can pick and choose clients and projects that you truly believe in, that resonate with your personality, that excite you, and even challenge you.
For instance, if you’re a freelance advertising consultant and you are passionate about the environment, you can choose to work with eco-friendly brands or with environment-focused CSR projects of corporates. As a lawyer with a private practice, you can choose to work on women’s issues if that’s where your interests lie.
To be sure, there will still be times when you will have to work on things that don’t excite you. For instance, a project might be for a difficult client but it will bring in a lot of money; or there just isn’t enough going on in the market so you must do whatever comes your way to sustain your business. However, as a solopreneur, you can work towards striking a balance between essential, financially rewarding work and projects that are meaningful in other ways.
5. Greater job security
Many will argue that working in a regular job is more secure than being a solopreneur. Indeed, a 9-5 job will bring you a fixed and steady monthly income. It may also offer you benefits such as insurance and vacation days.
However, the current pandemic scenario is a testimony to the fact that no job can be all that secure. The business environment can change unexpectedly. Companies can go through difficult times and often have to cut jobs to deal with financial challenges. Salaries get delayed and employees may even have to accept pay cuts or forego their benefits.
Being a solopreneur does not exactly make you immune to these risks. However, it allows you to cast a wider net so that if some projects fall through, there will be others that can help you stay afloat. You can even choose to take up projects in areas that don’t exactly fall under your profile but in which you have some skills and knowledge and for which there is a demand in the market. For instance, you may be an interior designer but you can temporarily take up graphic designing if there isn’t a demand in the market for the former.
Being a successful solopreneur is all about accepting the challenges, taking them in your stride, and learning from them to be better while you aspire for its many perks. When done in a balanced way with the right mindset, it can be one of the most enriching experiences of your life.