Going It Alone in Business? 5 Reasons That's a Really Bad Idea.
When we read about Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and all the other business giants -- we immediately see a single champion. Much like old literature traditions where the hero triumphantly wins alone, our legends in business are often portrayed as the singular hero.
Steve Jobs reigning over Apple, Bill Gates towering over the giant that is Microsoft and Richard Branson stylized in his cape throughout the veins of Virgin -- this kind of mythology and idealization of the single hero in business has spurred a new wave of entrepreneurs who call themselves "solopreneurs." We idealize the entrepreneur who does it alone and doesn't need a team or support.
If you've been doing it alone or aspire to become a solopreneur, let me share with you five reasons to not be a solopreneur -- and why the myth of any singular hero, whether in literature or business, is a misnomer and will only hold you back from having the most significant successes.
1. You'll become a jack of all trades and a master of none.
When you are a solopreneur, it's practically impossible for you to master every skill needed to substantially grow. Running a business takes a lot of capabilities: Mapping out content, creating it, sharing it, building a tribe, sending out emails, doing sales, attending events and growing the network, coaching, consulting and building out products is a small list of what a profitable business requires. If you're weak in some of these areas, it will hamper your business growth and fun.
Trying to do it all will soon see you doing low-level activities that pull you away you from making sales, doing projects for your high-end clients and doing the things that help keep the business growing.
2. You can't scale or grow.
Business strategist Jay Abraham says there are only three ways to grow a business. You either get more clients, increase the cost of each transaction or you service your clients with more products. Two of these methods will mean more work. If you increase clients or increase the number of products you sell, you will most likely need to increase your output.
Since there are only so many hours in a day, you'll either become your own bottleneck and slow business down -- or decide to outsource some of the tasks to your team and ensure business runs smoothly.
3. You won't have time to do everything you want to do.
When you're overworked and doing it alone, you have no one to relieve the pressure. You have no team to support you, and you have no partners who can take some work off your plate. That means when there are emergencies, you won't be available.
If a client needs you, your kids need you and a new client wants to pay you a lot for a new project -- you'll have to decide which is most important. While having a team may not save you from making hard decisions, ideally you aren't so thinly spread out that you find yourself saying no to more clients, family emergencies and serving current clients to the best of your abilities. With a team, you'll be able to free yourself more, and you can say yes to more opportunities.
4. You're more vulnerable to mistakes.
Imagine if didn't have spell check your documents and emails. Or what if this magazine didn't have editors and any article got through? I'm sure you'd agree, the quality would be lost, and it'd likely result in many lost customers.
In my life, I'm lucky to run a business with my wife and my team. Having a team helps me to not only "cut once and measure twice," it also relieves some of the pressure to be perfect. It helps me to do my work, knowing my team will help me, and that inspires me. Doing it alone would be too stressful.
Having a team will allow you to call upon a support network, hand off jobs and have an extra set of eyeballs when you're delivering a service.
If you've aspired to be like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington or any highly successful entrepreneur -- take some time and study them and you'll find they love building and being a part of a team. Soon you'll find out all these legends have a team, an incredible support system, and they don't do it alone.
5. You can't ever sell your business.
In most entrepreneurs' minds, the idea of selling isn't there until decades after starting the business. But, it's something that if given the opportunity most of us would do.
Even if you wouldn't sell your business, isn't nice to know that if you wanted you could take your business and get paid one lump sum equaling years of work? Or if you don't want to sell your business, maybe you want to step out of business but collect payments and keep it in the family -- well, if you're a solopreneur it's tough to ever to work yourself out of a job.