You’re an independent artist, author, speaker, coach, dog walker, or myriad of other solo careers. You have chosen to go this route because you know the benefits of being independent. But did you realize that when you decided to go this route, you also became an entrepreneur? Like it or not, this means you’re in charge – of everything.
“No, no, no, I’m just an author, a writer, an artist, a speaker, one who wants my independence,” you say. “I didn’t sign up to run a business!” you plead. I understand how you feel. That’s how I felt when I began writing and speaking. I just wanted to tell my tale. However, what I found out along the way was a very different story. I had become an entrepreneur again. It wasn’t out of choice, for I too had only the desire to write and speak. Like you, I had become the accidental entrepreneur.
If you are a solo artist, writer, speaker, blogger or baker, then you too have become an accidental entrepreneur. That means for this venture, you are CEO, CFO, VP of Sales, VP of Marketing, Promotion Director, Bookkeeper, and every other role that’s required to make any business operate. Get used to it, because until you reach the point of delegation, the person you see in the mirror is the one who will be handling every aspect of your business.
It’s both a blessing and a curse. You don’t have to report to anyone, there are no deadlines except those set by you, and you don’t need anyone’s approval to do what you want with your talent.
On the other hand, it’s lonely. Because there’s no one to report to, there’s also no one to provide feedback until you bring someone else into the picture. No deadlines means you could, for example, be writing your book for a long time unless you set some sort of time frame for a final product. And while you may want to write what your heart tells you, an editor will give feedback that might steer you in a different direction. If you’re trying to sell your own art, you don’t have the feedback of a gallery owner, and if you’re teaching yourself to speak, you don’t have a coach to guide you.
Whether you’re handling every aspect of your position or using assistance, you are now thrust into a position of leadership. As a leader, you will face challenges you may not have expected. Rather than be put off by this, I suggest you embrace the role and learn how to handle it.
I have been an entrepreneur for over 30 years, so when I wrote my book, started a publishing company, and organized my own promotion, I knew what I would be facing. Now, as an entrepreneur coach, I see people confronting the very same challenges in a variety of businesses. In my latest audio program, Navigating Leadership for Entrepreneurs, I’ve identified 11 Keys, which – if addressed properly – will ensure your success. In this short article, I can only touch on your upcoming challenges and briefly suggest how to address them.
- Everybody starts with a dream of what their passion will look like in a monetized form, and what level of success they expect. Dreams are great and I recommend dreaming big!
- However, to achieve your big dreams, you must change those dreams into achievable goals. Each goal has various elements to it that need to be put on paper so they can be continually reviewed. Write down your goals. The audio program comes with the Action Guide and includes a complete goal-setting section for you.
- You’re taking a risk by choosing to go it alone, but without risk there’s no reward. So, good for you that you’ve decided to take the risk, now get comfortable with your decision.
- Be prepared for changes along the way. The only sure thing in business is that change will always happen. If you expect change to be headed your way, you won’t be surprised when it does.
- You will have many decisions to make along the way to your definition of success. For example, if you’re a writer, you’ll have options from cover font to design, from editor to printer, from e-book to printed to audible, page numbers on the right or center…and the list of decisions goes on and on before your book becomes a real product. I recommend that you set priorities on what is important to you regarding time frames, budgets, and your vision of a finished product.
- Every entrepreneur experiences fear and you are no exception. Expect it, recognize it, and make it work for you. Fear is simply nature’s way of making you focus on the task at hand. It sharpens your senses and makes you more alert. It gives you strength that can be used to meet deadlines, deal with change, and laser-focus your energy. Embrace it and make it work for you.
- Don’t be deterred because you don’t know what you’re doing with respect to bringing your passion to market. You don’t have to be an expert to begin something, you can learn along the way. And there’s plenty of help available from free webinars to coaches in your specific area of focus.
- Stick with it. Perseverance is a trait that is best learned from practice. Create a writing, painting, blogging, or other schedule and a checklist of all the tasks that need doing. Follow forums, ask questions, and use the tools that are available to you. Invest in your education, follow others who have succeeded, and learn about entrepreneurship. Dedicate yourself to the success of your project.
- Let your passion guide you. Don’t let fear or any other obstacle stand in the way of your achievement. Your passion is far stronger than your fears or discomfort.
- You are an entrepreneur and that means you are a leader. Much of my coaching focuses on you learning to lead yourself. But you will also be leading others. From your editor to printer, from gallery owner to meeting planner, you must lead your associates with certainty, kindness, good intention, and clarity. In other words, don’t yell at your designer because they used a font you didn’t like if you didn’t discuss it and clarify your desires in the first place.
- And lastly, remember that you chose this role. You elected to go independent. You may not have known that you would become an accidental entrepreneur, which means being a leader. But now you know.
Now you can proudly announce that you are, indeed, an entrepreneur and a leader. When you choose to embrace this idea, you will lead yourself and others to success. Now, go unleash your entrepreneurial spirit!