Think being a “solo entrepreneur” means you never have to think about hiring someone? Confident that you can always stay small enough to do it all yourself? Sure that you don’t have the time, money, or skills to hire people to help so you don’t even need a plan?
Yeah, I don’t think so.
The concept of solo entrepreneurship is a myth. And yet, if you’ve read anything about the world of online business, the changing economy, or the potential to go out on your own and make some good money, you know everyone is preaching the pleasures of being a “solopreneur.”
I detest the concept of solo entrepreneurship. Why?
It’s not the whole truth. It’s a concept out of context.
The context is that, in 2017, work doesn’t look like it used to. Co-creation is standard, relationship is capital, innovation is vocation. We are connected to those who help us, support us, and create with us constantly through a web of platforms, apps, and media.
Working “solo” is possible only because we’re working together all the time.
That’s why every solo entrepreneur needs a hiring plan.
Whether you never want to hire someone, whether you’re thinking about hiring sometime in the future, or you know your next (or first) hire is imminent, you need a plan for making the most of the opportunity to work together with people who can help you fulfill your vision and push you to think even bigger.
Those that appear to be doing it on their own–those internet famous creators, coaches, and educators–are actually running organizations. Some feature a team of traditional employees, others are a well-managed group of contractors, and still others get help casually from friends, colleagues, and co-creators. Regardless of the form they take, those organizations are loose, fluid, and largely motivated by shared purpose, but they are organizations nonetheless.
These people also see their companies as lean and mean, not small. They might not even identify with the term micro or small business because the vision they have for their impact is downright big. They see “micro” as a way to do more, not get by with less.
Efficiency and efficacy is the name of their game, not sweat equity.
Creating a plan for gathering your team and recognizing the opportunity to work with others is going to do 3 main things for you as a micro business owner:
1) Transform your mindset.
When you have a hiring plan for your business, you have to wrestle with the fact that what you’re doing doesn’t–and shouldn’t–depend on you. As you spot the opportunities for others to create value with you, you start to see your venture as a business and not a job (business ownership vs self-employment).
While it might seem semantic, the transformation in mindset allows you to wrestle with the reality of building something that will outlast you and reach people that you couldn’t reach on your own. You free yourself from the work and give yourself the ability to drive results.
You personality and individual strengths become an asset for your business, not the product in and of itself.
2) Better manage your own time and workload.
One of the hardest parts of doing everything on your own is finding time in the day for the work that needs to be done. However, what I’ve noticed is that it’s rarely the amount of work that needs to be done that is the problem. Instead, it’s the approach to doing that work that causes burn out.
When you have a hiring plan, you realize that you’re not just doing 1 person’s job. You’re doing at least 5 or 6!
Now, that doesn’t mean they’re all full-time jobs but, instead, that they fill 5 or 6 part-time job descriptions. When you realize that running your business is really a bunch of part-time jobs cobbled together, you can understand why you feel so frazzled!
When you have a hiring plan, though, you can more intentionally and purposefully schedule the time for each of those jobs. You recognize how they each contribute to your goals and give them the space they require. You stop multi-tasking and start batching your work into chunks.
3) Plan beyond now.
Most small business owners I know don’t plan beyond a month or two in advance. This contributes to feeling overwhelmed, even when there is objectively little to stress about.
The reason they don’t plan is that everything seems so uncertain. Will the resources be available? Will I hit my revenue targets? Will the market change? Will I get bored?
But having a hiring plan gives you a safety net for thinking bigger and thinking beyond. You can aim for a higher target–because you have someone in mind to help you out. You can weather a shift in the market–because you know who to call if you need to brainstorm. You can hedge against getting bored–because there’s someone waiting in the wings to take over the parts you’re done with.
Even if you don’t know exactly who to hire, having a plan for what you’d hire for can give you the peace of mind you need to reach further out with everything you do. It’s having a plan for success instead of constantly banking on failure.
Whether you’re planning to fly solo for the foreseeable future or you know you want to recruit a team of helpers, having a hiring plan can make a sizable shift in the way you do business and the results you get from all of your hard work.