I have often wondered if I am on the right path.
I’ve had many conversations with great friends and mentors about my personal life and business pursuits. I’ve worked through amazing resources such as Chazown, Strengths Finder, and taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I have read the best business and entrepreneurial books one could ever read. And even though everything I’ve had feedback on all paints me as the classic entrepreneur, I still struggle on my journey because in the traditional sense, an entrepreneur builds a business that is scalable and has employees. In reality, that just isn’t me.
Me. Myself. And I.
In the majority of my business life, the business has solely centered on my abilities alone. I’ve worn all the hats — designer, accountant, sales, marketing, support, consultant, custodian, project manager … and it can be exhausting fulfilling all these roles. I’ve considered starting an agency and outsourcing a bit of work, but then I always change my mind. My hesitations stem from past failures in trying to work with other freelancers to my relentless pursuit of having everything done to a higher standard. I have a passion to travel, to spend as much time with family as possible, and to enjoy the moments in life that pass by so quickly. Building a business outside of myself would seem to hinder these values.
Is It Wrong to Be a Solopreneur?
A friend of mine, Stu McClaren, recently wrote a post and a rant about how many business professionals don’t consider a lifestyle business as a true business. These posts really made me take a step back and reconsider my own options because essentially what I have, IS a lifestyle business. Am I a real entrepreneur? Have I failed because I haven’t built a business with employees or that can be sold in the future? Should I scrap what I’m doing and do what the “real business professionals” say I should? These are questions that I wrestle and fight with.
I admire people who have started a business with only themselves or a small team and then have grown them into larger entities that provide jobs or that can be acquired by larger firms. I can be extremely envious of the business owner who can walk away from the office for a week and the company still makes money without their presence. These tasks aren’t as easy to do as a solopreneur. There are definitely limits that come with a lifestyle business.
But I Love Focus and Freedom!
Honestly, I love the lifestyle business I’ve been blessed to experience – despite the challenges that come with it. I enjoy focusing on what I do best and only doing work that I can be proud of. I also find a true happiness from creating stuff my clients are equally proud of. I have found this difficult to achieve by outsourcing or letting go of portions of my projects. The other side is that a traditional business requires managing people and other tasks I can’t find joy in doing. Making a good living and doing the things we find fulfillment in are really rewarding. Should we give this up for what business professionals say is the legit way to build a business or in order to be validated? Personally, I believe we are all called to walk our own path. We are meant to discover joy in the journey and to feel like we can continually be in our zone. But the world does creep in and doubts can be haunting.
What do you think?
I’m curious to know what you think about building a lifestyle business compared to the traditional business. Does the vehicle in which you reach your destination truly matter? Do you feel that a true entrepreneur can only be one if they follow the beaten path?