Fifteen years ago this month, I began a new chapter in my life when I left behind my legal career behind and started my business as a real estate agent.
It wasn’t just a career change or an industry change. The change plunged me into a new universe of independent business owners and “solopreneurs.”
Even though I affiliate with a real estate brokerage, I am an independent contractor, responsible for generating my own business, marketing, sales, and client service. Real estate agents are the original “gig workers.”
To be honest, I was completely unprepared for that role. Although I got lots of training in how to do the job of being a real estate agent, I never received guidance in how to create a business as a solopreneur, at least not one that could be sustainable.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve hit burnout multiple times. I’ve also evolved my business — expanding into speaking, coaching, and training — in an attempt to find a way to create sustainable success as a solopreneur.
I have learned that if everything relies on me, then I will inevitably be the bottleneck to creating raving fan clients and to my own growth and well-being.
My goal is to be able to deliver high quality service to my clients in a way that is scaleable and leverageable.
If I can’t take time away to rest and recharge, I won’t be able to sustain my business. Even more important, I won’t be able to sustain my health and wellness.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve spent a lot of time observing others — especially within the real estate and coaching industries — to learn how they create successful solopreneur businesses.
Here’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned:
The successful solopreneur is a myth.
Nobody does it alone.
But what about…
Before you fill my comments with examples of people who have done it, I invite you to take a closer look at those people.
There may be people who appear to be true solopreneurs. But are they really?
- Do they have any assistants or interns?
- Do they outsource any part of their work, including website building, admin tasks, bookkeeping or accounting?
- Who handles their life tasks outside of their business?
In the rare case of those who appear to really do it all, what I’ve noticed is that they have at least 3 forms of support that often get overlooked or discounted.
(1) Spouse of Life Partner
Often they have a supportive spouse or life partner.
Even if the partner doesn’t give explicit business support, having someone else who shares in the decisions outside of the business frees up a lot of mental bandwidth.
Consider all the decisions you must make in your business, and then consider all the life decisions and tasks to manage your life.
If you have someone else to help buy your groceries, cook dinner, clean your house, do your laundry, or even just decide on scheduling, that frees up energy for your business.
Almost always they have a community of likeminded peers who get what they’re doing, offer support and guidance, and can help them stay positive when they have a bad day.
Almost every successful business owner I know — solopreneur or otherwise — has a coach. A coach is essential for helping you stay out of your head, out of self-doubt, and out of overwhelm.
Life can be hard. Business can be hard. We aren’t meant to do it alone. We need communities and support systems.
You don’t have to do it alone.