Starting a business as a solopreneur can be scary. You’re on your own to gather and use the wisdom of those who came before you. What if you mess up? What if you make a mistake that can’t be fixed?
These are valid concerns, but as a solopreneur, some mistakes are going to be the source of your own wisdom. However, there are some mistakes you don’t need to experience. Here’s how to avoid them:
1. Take your time selecting partnerships
When you’re flying solo, it’s tempting to grab the first partner who (supposedly) sees your vision and wants to help. Beware. Jumping into a partnership too soon is like marrying the first person who pays you a compliment: you’ll ignore the red flags out of desperation until it explodes into incompatible chaos.
Beware of people who claim to get your vision but don’t ask any questions for further understanding. By the nature of human communication, it’s impossible for anyone to completely get your vision without asking questions. Their agenda will color their perception of what they think your vision is. They may even try to move you in a different direction when you cease to meet their needs.
Take your time. Don’t make promises early in the game. Be selective and partner only with those who are a genuine match. Keep in mind it’s not easy to dissolve a partnership, so choose wisely.
2. Don’t ignore your personal credit history
So your business is an official entity, and you’ve opened up a business line of credit to handle your small capital needs. Why should you be concerned about your personal credit history?
Unbeknownst to many, your consumer credit score is factored into your insurance premiums, like homeowners and car insurance. Insurance companies claim people with bad credit are more likely to file a claim, so they charge them a higher premium – anywhere from 20-50 percent.
Car insurance companies don’t care if you have a perfect driving record and have never filed a claim in your life. If you have bad credit, you’ll pay more.
Your insurance rates affect your business because your business is your source of income. If you don’t do anything to manage your personal credit, you’ll be working harder in your business to pay those higher premiums.
3. Know when to stop negotiating a contract
Some people love to negotiate to the point of being ludicrous. If you find yourself negotiating a simple agreement with someone and they refuse to compromise on points you find important, walk away.
For example, imagineyou’re negotiating a website development contract and the developer wants to retain the copyright to their code.They don’t want you to be able to hire any other programmer for modifications. Although it’s legal, it’s also a huge inconvenience. You can’t guarantee they’ll be available to update your website forever. Walk away and find someone else.
4. Don’t be so quick to offer up “back-end points”
When starting out as a solopreneur, it’s easy to throw around promises of “back-end points,” but be careful. If you haven’t secured funding, you need as many points as possible to use in negotiations for raising capital.
Also, promising back-end points to someone who performs a few tasks for you isn’t smart. Right now, if you don’t know what your points will be worth, don’t offer them to anyone but investors. You don’t want to give away a significant chunk of revenue to someone who tweaked your WordPress layout to accommodate a larger homepage banner.
5. Stop launching multiple projects at once
If you’re launching several projects at once, stop. You need to find your “zone” and stay there if you want to be successful.A commitment to one project is necessary to stay focused.
If you discover a tendency to start a new project when things get tough, resist that temptation. It’s only an attempt to avoid the hard work required to have a breakthrough in your business. Your mind will do everything it can to convince you that this other project will be easier, but don’t believe it.
Sooner or later, every project you start will lead you to the same place where you’ll either need to push forward despite your fear, or give up. Your mission, as a solopreneur, is to see your business through to success.