Solopreneur Struggles: Sharing & Support Require Honesty

Solopreneur Struggles: Sharing & Support Require Honesty

I don’t care what the passion and positivity princesses are pandering! Running a business is hard. And it’s about time we admitted it openly and honestly.

When we sugarcoat and try to simplify the running of a business (how many marketing and entrepreneurial articles have you seen this week stating that something is easy, simple, quick, painless?) we do a disservice to those budding entrepreneurs and new business owners looking for real and valuable advice.

I applaud the savvy solopreneur who is willing to share the hardships that go with the hustle. Who isn’t looking through rose-colored entrepreneurial glasses. Who’s willing to admit some things are a struggle.

It’s not easy. It’s not simple. It’s certainly not always fun. And it’s time we admit that.

I’m Often Tired

I have never been a great sleeper. I am one of those people who honestly can’t nap. I feel physically ill unless I can sleep soundly for hours. And sleeping soundly for hours during the day would mean even less sleep at night.

Whether your struggling or succeeding as a solopreneur, sometimes we just can’t sleep. We could be working on a tight deadline, getting up earlier and staying up later in order to meet project and client needs.

When you’re juggling a lot of projects it’s hard to shut down at “end of day.” With smart phones permanently attached to our hands, it’s too easy to check Twitter mentions or email one last time. The very connectivity that can propel our business also ramps up our brains to the point that we can’t shut down. Even when we do power down our computers, tablets and phone, our minds keep whirring.

There are differing opinions on whether or not you can catch up on sleep. Whether you can catch up or not, is largely irrelevant in the now. I think we can all agree that when we’re feeling fatigued, we find it harder to do our best work. Especially, at least for me, when working in a creative field.

My Social Is Sapped By The End Of The Day

I spend all day creating, building, and maintaining relationships. With peers, influencers, prospects and clients.

When it comes time to step away from the work I’m decidedly disinclined to do anything social. I find myself wanting to curl up under a blanket on the couch watching mindless TV re-runs so that I don’t have to think about anything.

Needless to say, this can put a strain on your relationship with your spouse (or other type of significant other), friends, family and even you peers who are more inclined to shake off the day with a social activity.

Delegating Isn’t Always A Slam Dunk

We’re often told that we can make our solopreneur success a given by smartly delegating the tasks we don’t want to do or aren’t capable of doing. Sounds easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy, right?

It’s NOT!

First of all, you can’t just dump work on a new delegate. You’ve got to train him/her on the process, the procedure, the best practices. Depending on what you’re delegating this can be a pretty colossal undertaking. In fact, the early stages of delegating don’t save you time, instead it eats up time in huge gulps.

AND, if you’re delegating client work to a VA or intern, you’ve got to educate your client on the arrangement. You can’t just pass them off to a newbie with no notice. Not if you want to keep them!

The Free Fallacy

We’ve all fallen prey to the allure of the freebie that can do the job without impacting our bank account. We decide that our bottom line depends on never letting loose with a dollar. And that sets many of us up to fail.

It’s imperative to wisely invest in your business. Expenses matter. You’ve got to carefully control them in order to keep your business running in the black.

It’s important to remember though, the free solutions might save dollars, but they often cause solopreneurs to spend more time. For many of us, time is money. So, shelling out smart dough to save time often saves more money than the freebie.

Systems Don’t Set-Up Themselves

Smartly set-up systems, protocols and procedures can absolutely save you time and speed you toward success … in the long run. Notice that ellipse. I placed it there purposefully for the pause. Systems set-up helps you in the long-run, but the set-up takes time, tweaking and testing. Which adds to your already full plate.

Consider one relatively simple system, setting up your email to auto-sort and occasionally auto-respond. The key word her is set-up. You have to set up this seemingly simple system. And the system has to work for you.

Setting up folders for client emails only works if you actually notice that there’s a NEW message. If it’s not going to your inbox, you’ve got to set up a schedule and train yourself to check more than your inbox.

Don’t get me wrong. Systems can seriously save a solopreneur. But they don’t come out of a pretty package ready to go, customized for your clients and your projects. They require set-up. Then the set-up has to be tested. And often tweaked.

Solopreneurs Struggle

We all have talents upon which we are trying to capitalize. We’ve started our business in order to do something we love, something that adds value, something that sustains both us and our clients.

But the solopreneur gig just ain’t all that glamorous all the time! It’s often exhausting and stressful. It’s often a struggle. It brings with it the ups and downs, the joys and woes of any complicated endeavor.

I hope that in sharing our struggles we can bolster our solopreneur brethren, giving them the boost we’ve often needed when the day to day becomes daunting.

Please share some of your solopreneur struggles. Through honest sharing and support we can build a community of successful, well-sorted and seriously kick ass solo biz owners!

14 replies
  1. Violeta Nedkova
    Violeta Nedkova says:

    Damn right it’s not so glamorous. It’s like the shit sandwich we have to eat because we’re doing what we love. (I love that metaphor so much; heard it from a Liz Gilbert interview.)

    Keep writing, keep fighting, and keep debunking. 😀

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      You’ve become a super sharer, Missy. And now adding to the commentary on the blog, too. Love it. I don’t see any value in trying to present what we do for a living as a pink, princessy, perfect, fluffy ride on a cloud. It’s blood, sweat, tears and more, baby!

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  2. Kyle
    Kyle says:

    The not feeling social really resonates with me. I am an introvert who prefers staying home and creating anyway but I love making plans…and thinking of ways to get out of them. I love my friends but…I hate being a bailer. It’s a problem.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I battle the same thing, Kyle. When you find yourself exhausted and wanting some serious downtime, it’s far too easy to cancel plans that really mean something to you, simply because you don’t have the energy to go out and enjoy yourself. So glad you shared your experience with me.

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  3. Monica Bruno
    Monica Bruno says:

    Hi Mallie, I can TOTALLY relate. Thanks for putting it out there. It’s hard and I also suffer from not getting enough sleep. It’s good to know I’m not alone!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I sometimes like to call myself an expert insomniac, Monica. You are most assuredly in some fine company. I dare say many a solopreneur fights sleep battles!

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  4. Charleen Nicholson
    Charleen Nicholson says:

    Indeed. I just started and have found out quickly the woes… often outweigh the moments of rejoice/celebration… instance-wise I mean, they definitely happen more often, that is for sure. Overall, I am overwhelmed but satisfied, learning, I have remained more open-minded and go-wit-da-flow than I have ever been, because I must. Great post, thank-you.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      The goods certainly balance out the bads. Not saying they won’t even outnumber the bads. But I hate seeing the posts that preach that passion and positivity are all you need. Seriously? Some of us need sleep, a day off, a new computer, something! 🙂

  5. Jane Travis
    Jane Travis says:

    Nodding…nodding! Setting up systems is a nightmare! It once took me 3 days to record 7 mins on video. Why? I had to research, watch tutorials, research, read tutorials, tear my hair out when it wouldn’t work, try another …PAH!

    FB ads, autoresponders….the time I’ve spent!!!

    Ok, calm down Jane lol

    It’s not easy. We need to give ourselves more credit!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Agreed, Jane. We’re pretty much superheroes if you consider all the obstacles we face, right? But we keep on fighting and we keep on moving forward to do what’s right for us. We do deserve more credit. Give yourself a huge fist-pump, ladies!

  6. Allyssa
    Allyssa says:

    Yes! A lot of successful people make it look ridiculously easy, but the fact is, there’s so much going on behind the scenes that we don’t see. You see the success, but not all the work and struggles that have gotten them to that point. And when you don’t see that part, it’s easy to think that it’s just you. But we all struggle at some point or another and things don’t come easy most of the time. Definitely a great reminder!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I think a little entrepreneur honesty might make a big difference to those that are struggling. When we make things appear easy it’s not the transparent kind of sharing we tout as “authentic” in all of our social circles. I’m tired of seeing articles with “easy” and “simple” in the titles, because almost anything that’s worth doing is worth actual hard work, not a quick freebie. Sorry, rant over. Thanks for your honest opinion, Allyssa.

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  7. Colleen Eakins
    Colleen Eakins says:

    Abso-bleeping-lutely! I just recently shared on my blog why I’ve been missing and about some of the hard times I experienced.

    Running a business is hard, and I feel like sometimes when we are trying to market ourselves we put on a chipper facade of positivity to bring in the positive results we want…income. Lol

    The truth is–it is not all roses! Thanks for being honest about this as well.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I’m so glad you’re back to your own gig, Colleen. I’ve appreciated your own honesty detailing your struggles and successes. I just think it’s high time we stop pretending that the biz ownership gig is some sort of cakewalk. It ain’t. And we’re not helping anyone, ourselves included, when we pretend it is.

      Can’t wait to catch up with you soon and see what we can collaborate on in 2016.

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