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The truth about running a solo business

It's good to be realistic, but I think that a solo entrepreneur also
needs to be a dreamer with a realistic perspective on the rules of
entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, there are far too many business owners who are
clueless. They start a business because they think it looks good and profitable
without first checking if there's a market – and that's just one of the mistakes.
There are several things to consider when starting your own business and
especially as a solo entrepreneur.

Here are the main trials:

1. Coping with loneliness
Yes, it's something you will be facing. It may be difficult for some people to
find motivation without other people around. To start your own company is
fantastic. Fantastically easy for some, fantastically difficult for others.
There are many ways to overcome isolation. Joining a network is one solution, joining
entrepreneurial associations and other associations related to the industry are
other ways to get an external stimulus. But, ultimately, you work alone and it's
imperative that you like it.

2. Combine work with finding time for your other interests
I usually say that you work half-time as an entrepreneur. With half-time, I
mean half the day, or about 12 hours a day, sometimes more. Setting up a
company to free up more leisure time is not a good idea. You must expect to
work much more than people who are employees. But you can choose to work at
other times of the day than those who are employed, thus giving you an
excellent opportunity to combine your business life with all of your other
interests. You must be a person who looks at freedom in a different way than most

3. It takes more than just coming to work for you to succeed as an

This bitter truth is important for you to know. It doesn't matter how good you
are at doing what you do now - you must be skilled at lots of other things,
too. You need to get interested in sales and marketing. Yes, that's true. You
don't have to reshape yourself into a sleazy seller type of person (if you have
prejudices against sellers). The best sellers are those who listen to their
customers and give them what they want. This is exactly what you should do.
Ultimately, you run a business for your customers' sake, not yours. Otherwise you
won't survive for long. The solution is to take it easy, slowly get used to
your business. Make it grow only when you know what your customers want.

4. Your new roles
You will be everything from caretaker and cleaner to the administrator and
marketing manager. Before you can outsource jobs to others, you will need to take
care of tasks such as bookkeeping and other administrative things yourself. With
good accounting software and a good schedule, you will smoothly adjust to your
new roles at work.

5. Do you have a built in motor?
If you are a person who needs guidance and if you're unable to take initiative,
running a company of your own isn't a good idea. If I would tell you that
everything depends on you, how do you react to that? Do you get scared or

Many self-employed fail because they have a rosy dream about a sweet life as a
sole entrepreneur. They dream of money and a glamorous life. When a week
without any orders has gone by and they suddenly realize that it's all down to
themselves to make the company successful, they often lose faith. Their
romantic ideals are crushed and the fear paralyzes them - or they get tired of
working so hard. They are missing something important – the wonderful feeling
of fighting for something they believe in.

The trick is to take advantage of the fear. To let it propel you forward and
upward instead of paralyzing you. It's difficult for any business owner. Anyone
who starts their own company will get into trouble, sooner or later. You just
have to roll up your sleeves and dig right in. Do what's necessary. Strive for your
goals. Be angry. Do whatever it takes, but make sure that the job is done. End
of story.

you have such an engine in you? If you have it, it's hard to fail. If you
don't, it's unfortunately difficult to succeed.

Is it worth all the trouble? Of course it is. Would millions of solo
entrepreneurs be wrong? You should primarily work on getting customers early on,
preferably before you have even started your business so that you can feel
confident when you get the company off the ground “for real”.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.