I’m writing this as we get ready to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day.
Recently, I was asked how I keep up with the demands of my business to serve and find clients while taking care of my family and staying healthy. The short answer is that I keep my eye on the vision—Maintain my independence and support my family.
The real answer is that the struggle is real! It’s not easy being a solopreneur. As we reflect on the meaning of freedom and independence, understand that it all comes with a price. Independence comes at a cost; the question is are you willing to pay it?
Paying the Price of Independence
I’ve been in business for almost 14 years and I’m grateful for the life I have. It hasn’t been easy.
Mompreneurs everywhere often share that they went into entrepreneur life because they wanted freedom to schedule their time and take care of their kids. I’m no different.
While climbing the corporate ladder and living the flying-around-the -country life of an advertising and marketing executive, I loved the experience of seeing new places, working with well-known brands, and the adrenaline rush that came from being in a fast-paced industry. Yet, I realized that something had to give if I wanted the family life I wanted.
The notion of having the freedom to control my own schedule and being accessible to my family was incredibly appealing. When I finally took that leap of faith to start my consulting business, I realized that while I was in charge of my schedule, the reality of entrepreneur life was very different from what I imagined.
If you’ve been thinking about taking that jump, prepare yourself for the realities of Entrepreneur life.
A Few Truths about the Entrepreneur Life
- You will work longer hours than ever before.
Forget about a 40-hour work week. When the success of the business is solely on your shoulders, you will work morning, noon and night. It shouldn’t stay that way, but you will have to put in a lot of time to get your business successfully off the ground. If your goal is to have a 3-day work week, you’ll have to plan smart and put the time in to get things to the point that you can live that.
- Being your own boss, won’t solve your problems.
Your bad habits will follow you. You may realize that you have some of the same issues working on your own that you had when you were in an office with others. If you were bad at time management before, you still will be. Take the time to identify your habits and figure out how they impact the way you work.
- You’ll have to learn to work smarter and harder.
Eventually you will only work smarter, but when you launch, you’ll have to put in maximum effort to get the return you’re looking for. Be strategic about your efforts. Be prepared to put in the time to develop your content, your niche, your marketing funnel, your process. The time you spend upfront to lay a strong foundation for your business, will make it that much easier for you in the long run.
- There is no such thing as an overnight success.
That mompreneur you see online working from the pool, at her kids’ soccer games and crushing this thing is either faking it or she busted her butt working hard, pulling all-nighters to make it look easy. Unless a fortune or financial backer lands in your lap, you don’t get to “success” overnight. You have to put the work in, stumble, fall and get back up to do it again.
- You can’t do it without systems, resources and tools
I’ve had a few people ask me how I do “so much” and I’m a solopreneur. Others ask me why I don’t have a “team.” What’s my secret weapon? I am a HUGE believer of having systems, using the right tools and leveraging my resources. I create workflows for onboarding my different types of clients. I have systems for managing the back end of my business. I have tools that automate processes in my business. And I have resources in amazing and talented business SHEros like my graphic designer, web designer and virtual assistant who keep me looking like I’m bigger than I am.
- Sometimes you’ll hate it.
Even with the best systems, tools and resources-there will be tough times ahead. If you are not crystal clear on your goals and committed to the long game, there will be many times when you’ll feel like throwing your hands up in the air. If you know this is your path and you can see-really see- life on the other side of the hurdles, don’t give up. When things get really hard and you’re thinking about getting a 9-5, consider the pros and cons. What have you accomplished? How close are you to your goal? Do you have the right plan/systems/resources in place? Are you committed to making it work? If the answer is yes, then press on my sister!
- You can’t stop growing and evolving.
As things change, you will need to change to stay current. I remember in January of 2008, my son only a few weeks old, I lost 6 client contracts one after the other due to the recession. I was devastated and totally ready to give up on everything. I had to regroup. I looked at my marketable skills and considered what people were able and willing to pay me for.
Most don’t know this truth, but I served as a virtual assistant for a few years. Yes, me, marketing and advertising professional, MA degree having, consulting business owner. I had to re-invent myself. I offered virtual assistant services and provided support to implement and manage technology resources to keep others productive. I still used my skills, but had to adjust to what the market would support. It was the bridge I needed to get me through the thinner times. As your business and the market evolves, you’ll need to do so also.
Are you ready to pay the price for freedom and independence? The struggle is real, but it’s very much worth it. Just remember to plan for the obstacles that will come your way.
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