Working Alone – Failing Alone

One of the biggest draw backs of going out on your own is that you most often have no support system. Combine that with the fact that other entrepreneurs are often reluctant to share ‘trade secrets’ and you have an environment that is tailor made for a series of mistakes, failures and losses.

Truth be told, I work for myself largely because I have a problem with authority. This tendency to not listen to others has led to some spectacular failures, loss of capital, income and reputation. But yeah, I still have a problem with authority.

It’s important to understand the difference between being self-employed and being alone, on your own, totally solo.

Starting your own business can be solitary, lonely, hard work. But it doesn’t mean that you have to do it totally alone. One of the golden rules of working for yourself is NOT to try and do everything on your own all the time.

amsterdam beachThere is a well-known phenomenon in business known as Founder’s Syndrome. This is when someone starts a small business and it becomes a BIG business. Often these people are unable to make the psychological leap from being sole owner, controller and decision maker of a business to being part of the overall machinery. They try to hang onto their power and control everything.

When you work alone, you also need to be aware of this tendency. Yes, it’s cheaper to do everything yourself. Yes, you always know where everything stands when you do it all yourself. Yes, you know you can rely on yourself. BUT when it’s all just you, sooner or later something is going to give and then you also only have yourself to blame.

Being an entrepreneur and self-employed does not by definition mean working alone, working in isolation. You can join groups to bounce ideas, you can employ freelance resources like accountants, designers, lawyers and artists. It’s still YOUR idea, YOUR business.

Instead of coming from a place of lack, and focussing on what you cannot afford to do, or who you cannot trust, try thinking a few steps ahead and looking at how you will be able to handle SUCCEESS… when your idea is working so well you can’t do everything yourself. Plan for that, budget for that, act like tis going to happen. It works far better

But one note, don’t be an ass. This isn’t the secret!

Secondly, make sure you see other people, don’t stay locked in your home office all day. Make meetings outside, go for coffee, go for walks, take up a sport or a hobby that needs a group. Cutting yourself off from the real world will quickly dry up your energy your inspiration and other people’s desire to be with you.

What’s the worst that could happen? IF things go wrong, there’s people around you to support you, help you deconstruct what happened and get you back up your feet. That’s one entrepreneurial task you DON’T want to do alone. Statistically, it’s also one you will have to face sooner or later anyway. So come on, learn how to play with others. It’s good for you.

  1. Peter Cook (@AcademyOfRock)

    My wife bears the burden of all the help I need when things don’t go according to plan

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