Solo in Business

This past weekend, I spoke at Freelance Camp TO, whose tagline was:

Be in business for yourself, not by yourself.

Perhaps one of the most difficult things for a solo business owner is the fact that while they know a lot about their own business, they have a limited perspective, that is, they are stuck with their own. At times, another perspective can make things easier by seeing opportunities or solutions where they see difficulties and obstacles.

Events such as Freelance Camp provide a recourse for such business owners, giving them the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation. If there was one piece of advice that the organizers of the event should be stressing, it’s the expansion of a professional network over the course of the day.

Yes, each business is different, and has its own set of challenges. Yes, your business doesn’t work the same as the business next door.

However, many of the issues faced by all businesses are really the same, and have the same general approaches for solutions. As an example, I was asked during my presentation on Time Management and Procrastination on a solution to dealing with invoicing, something this audience member did not enjoy doing, though she knew it was necessary for her business.

The answer provided was one of options. She could use a service such as Freshbooks, which would allow her to invoice and collect payments fairly easily. As her business grows, she may look at a full accounting system, such as Quickbooks or Simply Accounting. She can continue to use a home-built solution using Excel.

The point, though, is that other businesses have gone through the same thought process, and come up with each of these solutions. A friend running another business might have been able to make all these suggestions. While I was able to answer this question, I may not be reachable when the next question comes up.

If you’re running a business alone, find one or two other business owners, and arrange to get together on a monthly basis to discuss the challenges you’ve each faced, and some of the solutions you’ve come up with. It may be the best investment of your time you do for your business.