Four Challenges Solopreneurs Can Face (And How They Can Tackle Them) Whether you're setting up a new business, working as a freelancer, or making a living as a digital nomad, going solo can be a daunting prospect.

By Dr. Ayat Mekki

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The UAE is a thriving ecosystem for small businesses, and with the recent visa reforms, we're likely to see many more entrepreneurs starting their new ventures in the country. But whether you're setting up a new business, working as a freelancer, or making a living as a digital nomad, going solo can be a daunting prospect.

The solopreneur's journey is filled with lows and highs. You won't always feel positive about the decision to go it alone, but if you consider the lows as lessons, and the highs as encouragement and actioned achievements, you can keep moving forward. Wherever you are on your solopreneurship journey, there are four big challenges you'll face- here's how to confront them head on:

1. Tackling the loneliness Loneliness is one of the biggest shocks for new solopreneurs. You spend days and nights working on your business, trying to create processes, make sales, make a positive impact, and share value with your clientele. It's usually only when you stop to take a breath that the realization hits that you are all alone with no support, doing everything by yourself.

If you're the first entrepreneur among your family and close networks, there in no one who can relate to or understand what you are trying to do. As much as they might want to help, they don't know how, and that feeling of loneliness can grow more apparent and persistent with each passing day. But as a solopreneur, you should know that in reality, you don't have to go through the journey alone.

You may crave, and will certainly benefit from, being in a community of likeminded people. There are many solutions and options out there and a simple online search will point you to the most active groups in your area. There are options for everyone, and whether you like to network in person or online, you will discover a world of support out there.

2. The challenge of multi-tasking As a solopreneur, you are one person filling every role in your business set-up. Whether it's creating posts for social media, booking consultations, or making business calls, learning to delegate and outsource the support you needed is critical.

You probably became a solopreneur so you could do what you love, to gain more freedom, and to stop trading your time for money. For these reasons, hiring the right part-time or project-based support for your business is essential. It frees you up to do what you're best at, and to get a bigger and faster return on investment for your work.

Initially, you may not be in a place to hire full-time support, but with the world we're in today, there are plenty of freelance opportunities available online and in person, with pricing that caters to all budgets. With a click of a button, you can hire the right person for the jobs you don't have the time to do anymore, and you get to keep honing your expertise and do what you love most.

3. Learning how to manage your money Unless you're setting up in the finance sector, it's likely that managing money will come as a challenge. Solopreneurs often find themselves in a tricky place in terms of cash flow, and it's an uncomfortable feeling when expenses outgrow income.

All that's required is a concerted focus on improving financial awareness, to help you manage expenses in a more efficient and sustainable way. Tracking and budgeting all incoming and outgoing funds, as well as paying yourself a salary, is the place to start.

Incorporating these simple solutions in your business will help you to become more financially savvy, and bring a sense of relief that you can not only pay yourself first, but also keep track of where you are spending money, and how to stop any leakage.

4. The importance of self-care As a solopreneur, you are the business, and therefore, taking care of it means taking care of yourself first and foremost. Burnout can happen fast when you're running a solo operation, and it's important not to learn that the hard way.

Setting boundaries and scheduling self-care are not a luxury, they are a necessity, and every solopreneur should treat them as such. Postponing a massage, a medical appointment, downtime with yourself, or time with your family and friends may be time-saving and helpful in the short run, but not worth the burnout and the forced downtime in the long run.

You will quickly realize that filling your cup and prioritizing your physical and mental health is what your venture needs to thrive, and it's the key to making the impact you wish to make in the business world. As strong as your "why" is for starting the business you're in, it is only stronger and healthier when you are.

Related: Five Reasons Why Dubai Is A Hub For Entrepreneurs Looking For Business Growth Post The COVID-19 Crisis

Dr. Ayat Mekki

Licensed Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer

Dr. Ayat Mekki is a solopreneur, healer, life coach, and a licensed neurolinguistic programming (NLP) trainer. 

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