I know this may not be the inspirational pie in the sky post you want to hear, but it is reality. If you are already a part time entrepreneur, solo entrepreneur, or blogger you can probably empathize with this list. Better yet it might help you gain some insight into your own circumstances.
For those that are considering embarking on such a journey, this is fair warning. This article isn’t an attempt to discourage you at all, but rather an attempt to prepare you for what lies ahead. It may discourage you, and if it does then you probably aren’t ready yet.
Anyone attempting to augment their income through their own creative effort WILL have to deal with these issues. This article isn’t an attempt to solve these problems, as I can’t claim success…yet, but I can claim to be actively attacking each one of these obstacles to success. This article is an attempt to take ownership of the baggage that I have been carrying since I started. If I am not honest with myself, I am only setting myself up for failure.
The inspiration for this list comes from my 6+ years of seeking extra income through a variety of avenues: online poker, stocks, blogging, web development, and running a service website. I have also connected with others marching on their own journeys. All of these are common roadblocks that will be faced by all types of entrepreneurs.
29 Roadblocks To Solo Entrepreneur Success
- Too much to do. The todo list is relentless and one person can only accomplish so much. There will always be more you can do.
- Not enough time. This isn’t just because your todo list is 100’s of items long, but because you have the rest of your life to live. A spouse, children, friends, career, shopping…that list goes on for miles too. The couple of hours you have each night and on the weekends won’t feel like enough time to get the critical stuff done let alone the stuff you want to do.
- Learning. It takes a huge investment for on person to learn the vast range of skills necessary to succeed. At least this list is finite though, although still humongous. Become a better writer, learn web development, practice networking, implement marketing and advertising, craft your search engine optimization, research, accounting, customer service, and more.
- Sacrifice. You can’t do it all. Areas of your life will suffer and gather cobwebs. If it is important to you, other things must take a backseat.
- Discipline. Using time wisely. Getting to bed on time. Being able to push through the dips and dead periods. Discipline is required on almost all fronts. You most likely don’t have enough yet.
- The world changes. Just as you begin to get a foothold, things will change. Recession comes, technology changes the way people relate to your product, Google changes it search rankings, and competitors get better. The world is in a constant state of change, so you have to be ready to ride the wave.
- Lack of feedback and accountability. Most people start their journeys alone. Guess what, that means there is no one to provide helpful input or even constructive criticism on a regular basis.
- Competitors. There are plenty of other people and businesses trying to do the same thing you are. While they have to face the same demons in this list too, there are also changing, adapting, and trying to be better then you.
- It’s consuming. At some point you will probably get so consumed with your side project that you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. You will be scheming at your ‘real’ job, as you go to bed, and while you are playing with your children. It WILL take over your life.
- Criticism. Most people won’t get what your are doing. When people don’t understand or don’t agree they try to convince you to stop. People don’t like new things and most are more willing to lend you a dose of discouragement rather than a helping hand. Ironically, they think they are being helpful.
- So much you don’t know. This is related to learning, but uniquely describes the confusion and paralyzing effect that not knowing the right path can have on your side hustle. There is no yellow brick road to follow.
- Too many options. Being in complete control affords you the power go in any and every direction with every choice. While this is quite freeing it often makes things much more difficult. Choosing between the best of two options is much easier than coming up with 20 great options and then having to pick the ‘right’ one.
- Luck. There is an element of luck that you really can’t control no matter how hard you try. You can put yourself into the best position to get lucky more often than others, but you can’t fully control anything. The person whose blog isn’t as good as yours may have randomly attracted the eye of a a major news outlet and get tons of traffic. Stuff like that will happen.
- Watching other’s success. Seeing others succeed can be quite encouraging, inspirational, and educational, but other times it will frustrate you to tears. It can leave you lamenting and disillusioned.
- No help. When you want go on vacation you can’t without major planning. No breaks, you do everything.
- Slow going. For most of us success isn’t achieved over night, but you are so eager for it to happen. You want it to happen so fast that you even take shortcuts just to get some positive results. Even then you won’t be able to see the benefit of most of your actions take until much later in the future. No one will read your blog for months, but if you don’t suffer through those times you can’t get to the good stuff. The disparity between what you want to happen and what actually happens is torturous.
- Fear of failure. Trying to avoid failure is a recipe for failure. You end up not providing enough value, because you are so focused on not losing rather than focusing on making your self irreplacable. The even more ironic part is that you will most likely fail. It is better to accept and embrace that fact now.
- Fear of success. It may sound a bit strange, but you may not be willing to do what others are doing to do to succeed. The margnitude and force of this list will grow as your own success grows and you don’t look forward to that. Maybe you are afriad to get too big or too well known. People might really notice and search information that you don’t want to come out. Maybe just maybe you think becoming big will destroy your love for what you do. You see examples of successful people who still aren’t happy and are in fact more miserable then when they started.
- Yourself. The same personality flaws that existed before you started will become even more visible. Your procrastination will most likely get worse with more things to do. Your shyness will hold your business back. Without intentionally attacking your foibles, they will erode you chances at success.
- There is only one you. It is pretty darn hard to teach someone else to be you. You think you know everything about how stuff works and how things should be, but that just makes it hard to give up control and get help.
- You can’t be perfect, although you want too. You don’t have the time, knowledge, or money to make things exactly how you want them. It just is, accept it. You have to be able to cope with making things that best you can in a short amount of time.
- You aren’t passionate about what you do. This is a quick recipe for failure. If you don’t love what you do, you won’t be able to battle through the tough times. Even if you do love what every it is you are trying to do, it will still be tough. Your passion will be infectouous, so don’t leave home without it.
- Distracted by money. At some point you will start to lose authenticity and do things just because you can make money. This isn’t something that is sustainable and often severely damages you long term goals. Sometimes it turns a fun hobby that made some money into something that forces you to spend extra hours working each week.
- Sleep. You have a love/hate relationship with it. You need it, but since you have so much to do you never get enough. Without proper sleep your performance and mental capacities diminish and that slows you down, but you can’t get more sleep because there is too much to do.
- Imbalance. Your girlfriend complains that you don’t see enough of each other. The kids complain that you are on the computer all the time. You can’t walk be the computer without checking something. You can’t enjoy the weekend or vacation, because your todo list haunts you. You eat out all the time because you don’t have time to cook. You don’t exercise. The sad part is that all of these types of concessions will effect your ability to sustain your output and desire that is required for your long journey.
- The business is intrusive. This is different than consuming which describes the internal state of being uber-busyness. Intrusive is more about the external demands on your life. The email that has to be answered right now. The website that goes down during dinner. The important phone call while you are on a date. The business wants to be first in your life, and it will scratch and claw to get there.
- Your other job. You will probably begin to despise it if you didn’t already. It only interferes with your plans for world domination. You will imagine all the wonderful things you could do with all that extra time. Or worse you will begin to use time at your career job to do side hustle stuff. Amazingly it won’t be as hard to justify as you think. At best this is a recipe for a horrible attitude at work and at worst would cause a job loss before you are ready.
- Burn out. It will come. How can it not with such a list of daunting demons lurking at your side and only one person fighting the battle.
- It is hard. If anyone tells you differently, they were probably in the right place at the right time. If you don’t think that it is hard after reading this list, than you better get started right away because you are destined for success.