Solopreneur (n.) - An entrepreneur who works alone, “solo,” running her business single-handedly. She might have contractors for hire, but she has full responsibility for the running of her business.
This perfectly describes me and about 500 or so of my closest friends. Alone. Running my business. Full responsibility. Alone. Full. Responsibility. Alone. Alone.
I recently exchanged an email with my dear friend, Lori Race, of heartyourpackage.com. She is a master coach. A mom. An acupuncturist. And recently launched her very own wellness center with a colleague. In other words, a solopreneur in the throes of becoming a full-blown entrepreneur and possibly half-crazy.
Lori is an incredible talent. She has a million ideas. She wants to go bigger. She wants to make things better. She wants them faster. She wants to do more. And yet she is one person with a whole lot on her plate, living in a serious realm of overwhelm.
Recently, we had scheduled some girl talk to discuss building new programs and products for her business, but Lori emailed me, asking if she could cancel because the thought of doing one more thing made her seriously consider a hot poker to the eyeball. I of course happily obliged, once my flow of tears ceased. And then I offered her the following advice, because while I’m not actually a life coach, I do play one on TV.
Dear Crazed and Overwhelmed Solopreneur:
Focus. On. Now.
Right now is setting up and launching your new business and handling your current client load.
Right now is your family.
Right now is taking care of your body and your soul and your weary mind, which is overextended from all your “I should could would want” thinking.
Right now – at this stage in your business – you require nothing more than maintenance. Maintenance requires just a light pressure on the gas to maintain velocity. If you have limited gas in the tank and it requires everything you’ve got just to keep forward momentum, then you must maintain that speed until you can make it to a pit stop to refuel. Planning requires additional energy and resources you do not have right now.
You don’t need to get anywhere faster. I’m not even saying you need to slow down. Just maintain.
If you believe you should be doing more creative development for your business (which you conveniently cover with the thought “I want to be doing more creative development for my business”) but the very idea of doing more makes you want to come to a screeching halt, well is that a thought to believe?
When you are through this patch, then you’ve got tons of awesome ideas to implement. But right now you’ve got to keep your eyes on the road, your awareness on your tank, and your focus on the stretch of asphalt that’s in front of you.
And when you reach that destination, celebrate your journey. Celebrate your achievement. And then rest. Because, girl, you have got to be some kind of tired.
Sincerely, The Wise and Knowing Jessica
I realize now that this place that Lori found herself is a place many solopreneurs and small business owners find themselves while in the midst of building a business. Launching a new venture, program, or project takes a lot of fuel. Because we are often doing it all on our own, we forget that our resources are limited and precious. We get caught in the cycle of “Bigger Better Faster More” and forget why we decided to do this “solopreneur” thing in the first place. To enjoy the journey. To be in control of our destination. To do what we love doing the way we love doing it. To help others while we’re doing it. When setting out to start her own business, no one says “I want to become a solopreneur so I can run myself ragged and make myself bat-poop bonkers until I end up hating my business, suffering a nervous breakdown, and running away to join the circus. I love elephants.”
When we are in the thick of our hero’s journey and everything feels so much harder than we ever expected, we forget we have choices. We can keep adding pressure to our gas pedal. We can keep it steady. We can slow down. We can stop. We can ask a buddy to join us for the ride. We can hard focus on the road ahead of us or we can stick our head out the window and take in all the wonders that the solopreneur’s journey will bring. As solopreneurs, we are in the driver’s seat. We don’t have end up like the poor bugs on the windshield. No. Feeling like squashed bug guts is always optional.