Being a solo entrepreneur certainly isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of courage, discipline and dedication, not to mention copious amounts of caffeine! Obviously, being a solo entrepreneur was never going to be easy. However, before you dive straight into pursuing your business idea, it’s important to be aware of the biggest challenges facing business owners flying solo.
Securing Funds as a One-Man Band
We thought we’d start off with the biggest challenge facing solo business founders: fundraising. The cold, hard fact of the matter is that it’s extremely hard to run a business as a party of one, and this makes any solo entrepreneur’s concept for a business much riskier than more conventional models. This, of course, will give investors cold feet. It’s going to be tough to prove to investors that you can manage all the work ahead of you – from R&D to marketing and beyond. Potential investors will likely have concerns that your lack of experience in this or that area will be a major obstacle to your success. There are certainly do’s and don’ts when it comes to raising capital as a solo founder, but no matter how much experience you have, you’re always going to have a hard time raising funds compared to if you had some partners to help you.
Giving Up Your Life in the Initial Stages
Another major challenge you’re going to have to face is the sheer amount of work you’ll have to do as a solo entrepreneur, and how this can eat into your time for family and friends. In the very beginning, you’re going to have to be your own business coach. You’ll need to learn all about essential test metrics if you’re creating a software product, or the process of quality engineering if you’re building a mechanical product. You’ll need to find a way to offer competitive customer support with no in-house staff, and how to run the first marketing campaign that will get your brand off the ground. You’ll probably find that it’s also necessary to attend conferences and events that will offer decent networking opportunities. There’s no way around it: you’re going to have to dedicate your whole life to your company when you’re first starting out. Make sure you’re prepared for this before you take those first big steps.
Recruitment and Expansion
If you can make it past that initial period as a solo entrepreneur, then congratulations! Following this, you’ll need to deal with the next big challenge of recruitment and expansion. Learning how to identify good candidates based on their qualifications, experience and character is a lot harder than you may think, and if you make too many slip-ups in your first year, it can easily drive your business into the ground. Like so many things about being a solo entrepreneur, this takes a lot of practice. You’re going to make one or two mistakes, and have to learn how to fire people without hating yourself. The important thing is learning from these mistakes, and improving your process in the future.