Whether you are an entrepreneur or a solo-preneur, owning your own business takes the courage, stamina and nerve of a superhero. Although you may not be leaping from tall buildings or magically morphing and taking flight, running a business requires amazing feats.
Owning your own business is not for the faint of heart but it can be extremely rewarding, if you are able to stop the blame game and take responsibility for absolutely everything that does or doesn’t happen in your company. After losing my high profile job in corporate and becoming a solo business owner, Harry Truman’s “The Buck Stops Here” has become my personal mantra. Some days that means taking a hard look in the mirror as to why you don’t have more clients, or the decision to order hundreds of kazoos with your logo on it for promotions. Accepting ownership is key, for both the successes and the failures.
Business owners often think they are Superman and make the mistake of trying to do it all by becoming a multi-tasking one man show, when all that does is create burn out. Being conscientious and actually doing all the work yourself are two different things. Stop and evaluate what it is you excel at and what tasks you like to avoid. Obviously you can’t outsource all the jobs, but certainly consider hiring out many of the mundane tasks that take you away from your main focus and what it is you love. For example in my business I hired a web designer and a virtual assistant for lead pages and online work because I am technically challenged. Why should I spend hours trying to do something that does not come naturally to me? However I did not give carte blanche to the outsourced items. I keep a critical eye on the work being done to guarantee my brand is upheld and that I agree with what is being said or done. I am still responsible for the work, I just don’t have to do it all.
Anyone coming from corporate will have a learning curve when you realize there is no Marketing Team to advertise you, no Accounting Department to cut your paycheck and no Human Resources to complain to if something doesn’t seem fair. It’s all you baby. You truly are the Superhero of your business. Once the shock has worn off, you begin to realize how alone you are in this venture. Instead of crawling under a rock to hide, reach out to other entrepreneurs at networking events. Meetup.com has thousands of different types of groups that can be a huge source of information, camaraderie and in some cases potential clients. I have found the nicest part about connecting with other business owners is how incredibly helpful, caring and willing they are to share their war stories so you can avoid some of the traps they have fallen into.
Design your own cape and tights. Whoopeee…let’s get creative! One of the greatest things about developing your own brand and company is you can make it whatever you want. However that cryptic name that represents you and your spiritual guide is NOT appropriate for a business name. You can have small pieces that are personal represented in the artwork or somewhere on the website but obscure titles for your brand that only mean something to you should be left behind. Be clear in your messaging so people know immediately what it is you do and what your business is about. Employ the help of professionals or at least wrangle some of your savvy friends and run your ideas by them to ensure everything you say and the way you represent yourself has an appeal outside your own bubble.
Lastly, be gentle with yourself. Even Superheros mess up. Bruce Wayne had multiple crashes trying to get out of the Bat Cave and Clark Kent didn’t always remember to take off his glasses before donning his cape. Spiderman is in a constant web of intrigue. And you will make mistakes too. Unfortunately when you own your own business, no one is going to save you. Take stock to see what kind of powers you need to keep your business growing. You probably need information and knowledge to help you do things right because competence matters. Perhaps bravery to help you face the challenges and practicality to help you find the time. Make up your own list and create your own Superhero so you can take back your power and your business can fly!!