Going it Alone - Solo Founder Challenges

by Lisarna Wynyard

Going it alone as a solo founder can be tough. More specifically, it can be extremely lonely as you are the one to shoulder the responsibility for the entire business. Bad times can be hard and the good times are not as much fun to celebrate if you are celebrating alone.

There are many challenges that solo founders face. However, the rewards are great if you can stick to it! Here are a few of the many ups and downs you’re in store for.

The Good Parts:

Business Decisions

One of the best parts of being a solo founder is creating the business from the ground up. You get to mould and shape the business into what you want it to be. You don’t have to listen to competing parties, you don’t have to take suggestions from partners, your actions and decisions can be made purely because they are what YOU want.

The desire for this type of freedom combined with the drive to create something new is what drives many solo founders such as myself into starting a business.

Knowledge

There are so many things you will learn when you’re the solo founder of a business. Between taxes, licenses, and marketing strategies, there is so much to learn that it can seem overwhelming at times. And because you’re a solo founder, you get to wear all of those hats (lucky you)!

 It can seem overwhelming, but knowledge is and always will be power. By learning all aspects of your business you’ll have a much better appreciation for what your team is faced with once you grow.

Work Flow

Another perk to working solo is that you can create a work flow that suits you (and your business) the best. Not having someone breathing down your neck, you’ll be able to work smarter and not harder.

No Partner, No Problem!

Working solo means that you don’t have to answer to anyone, but especially not to a partner. Often times, those lines get blurred when you go into business with a friend or family member (never do this!).

Things can end badly and relationships can become irreparable. By not having to tend to relationships with anyone, you’ll save yourself time and head (or heart) ache.

The Hard Parts:

Loneliness

Truthfully? It can get lonely sometimes. You don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of, you don’t have anyone to share the good times with, or to shoulder the burden of the bad times. The freedom is nice, but it does come with a price.

Hard Work

One of the hardest parts of being a solo founder is doing everything by yourself. Once you’ve launched you might be able to afford hiring an assistant, but in the beginning, you’re doing it all on your own!

Feeling overwhelmed is natural in this situation, but it can also be a lot to contend with. Whenever I feel like this, I try to take control. I write down what it is that is concerning me and I make a plan to deal with it. Everything that I tackle and tick off is a step closer to my end goal.

Investors and Overcoming Stigmas

Okay, so you don’t need “no one” exactly. You still need investors and that can be tricky when going it as a solo founder. Many investors view solo founders as a risky investment due to their perceived likeliness to fail.

That is an entirely inaccurate conception. There are MANY solo founders who have successfully launched businesses. Convincing potential investors of that, however, can be a tricky play when you’re by yourself.

My advice to you is this: prove them wrong! When I talk to potential investors I listen to their concerns and I make a point of addressing their fears to prove to them that being solo is no barrier to success.

Don’t run from these points, confront them. Anticipate what your investors will fear and be prepared to counter them during your pitch meetings. Nothing will confirm their doubts faster than if you aren’t prepared to dismantle their barriers to entry.

Solo Founder Success

Being a solo founder isn’t easy. There are many nights where you just wonder “Why am I still doing this?” However, when the work is done, it can be incredibly rewarding to know that you’ve created it all.

Creating something from scratch is not something that just anyone can say they’ve done. Being a solo founder takes an incredibly dedicated individual; someone who sees opportunity where others don’t, and someone who doesn’t take no for an answer.

Are you up to it?

 

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