Escaping the Solopreneur Trap

Being your own boss is great. Working from the beach, tantalizingly high income peaks, Ferraris in the driveway, and all that sweet, sweet freedom (drool). I love it. Don’t you love it? It’s totes awesome.

Yeah you know already that that’s not the whole truth. Yet so many social accounts try to get us to believe that all this can be yours All you need to do is click this link and buy my $37 course. If I can do it, so can youuuuu.

But savvy solopreneurs like us… we see through that stuff. We don’t fall for those cheap, manipulative tricks, do we? Do we???

“You know that thing you’re trying to do? You’re doing it all wrong!!! Do THIS instead (link to their course sales page). If you don’t buy now you’re setting yourself up for failure, your friends won’t talk to you. AND you’ll have bad breath!”

OK, maybe that’s a tad over the top, but you get my drift. You’ve seen those posts, you’ve clicked those links. I have too. Especially this time of year (early January) with all the reinventing and goal-setting going on.

Taking a breather

I uninstalled my social media apps this week so that I could think for myself. My own thoughts. Digging back into all the learning I’ve done already. Looking forward at the year to come with calm ambition. Not doubting myself or having to question the way I show up for my audience or serve my clients.

That’s actually what prompted this post. 

I was doin’ an ole’ holiday scroll-fest and a sense of mild panic was starting to set in. It was a direct result of consuming too much content that chipped away at my confidence. So I chose to opt-out for a bit. Uninstalled. Picked up a book. Then a sketch pad. I also chose not to add to the noise on my own accounts. What I really wanted was to reconnect with my brain in my own way… without being steered by someone’s “Simple 5-step process PROVEN to explode my bottom line”.

And something surprising happened.

Solopreneurship is as rewarding as it is challenging 

But there are boobie traps littered around the place.

It can be frustrating and stressful when income isn’t what you’d hoped, a project goes wonky, or your work schedule feels like it’s 24-7 not 9 to 5. 

But you’re not “doing it all wrong.” 

Challenges are part of this work. There are good times, great times and bad times in this work. 

It’s when you start to believe the online hype (also known as manipulative selling) and start to have doubts about all the choices you’ve made so far… that’s when you really start to feel bad. That’s the trap. Falling for the hype and falling into doubt. 

The solopreneur trap: falling for the hype.

Working from the beach 

Really?* 

(*You can read that as a Seinfeld-style “really?” if you’re so-inclined. That’s the voice I’m using as I type it.)

Sure, working from the beach is an option sometimes, but bloody hell, I’m definitely not aiming for that. Laptop on the beach are you mad? Sand in the keyboard? The screen glare! People looking over your shoulder. Dodgy internet connection? 

And more importantly, if you’re at the beach, what the hell are you doing working? Go for a dip! Build a sandcastle! Don’t be working!

The “laptop on the beach” setup is hype… it’s idealized content that doesn’t tell the whole truth. And while, intellectually, we all know it, when you’re in a scroll session you don’t tend to question the reality of the situation in front of you. Instead the doubt kicks in. Why aren’t I working from the beach in a fabulous destination. What am I doing wrong?

Hold up. That’s the trap: When you stop using your own better judgment and get swept up by the hype and the idealised content.

(By the way I’m not offering any solutions in this post. It’s more of a vent-post. Thanks for sticking with me.)

Comparisons

Oh baby, was I triggered yesterday?

I saw post, after post, after post, after post… of last years “wins”. And I started to feel like sh*t. I know the intention of the win-shares was not to cause bad vibes. But I had slipped back into bad mental habits.

My default response for people sharing their successes is “Good for you”. 99% of the time. I love to see folks making it work. Truly I do. Achieving things. Showing up and showing off. Why not! That’s all fine by me normally. 

Maybe it was the sheer volume of posts. Or maybe it was the fact that a fair percentage of them were poorly disguised sales pitches that were clearly spinning things in that, oh-so-special-way that leads to a ‘Buy Now’ button. “If I can do it, so can youuuuu.”

I dunno. There was a phoney feeling to a lot of it. I don’t like phoney. I was triggered. And when I couldn’t locate my “Good for you energy” I decided it was time to hit “uninstall”. Stepped away to think my own thoughts.

Should I just get a job-job?

Does this ever cross your mind? 

Working solo often means that you lack a sounding board. There’s no one to point to the hype and call it out for what it is. Nobody telling you what to do or how to do it. Nobody to tell you you’re actually doing great. Nobody to stop you from changing course on a whim, or giving up when the going gets tough. 

About once a year, when I hit a bump in the road or there’s a dip in sales, I think about getting a job-job. I think about it for a bit and somehow the thought of it drives me. It actually motivates me to pull my socks up and remember that I LOVE THIS!!!! 

10+ years in, freedom to set my schedule, move countries, pick my kids up if they’re sick, growing through challenges, going to the gym on a weekday, serving FA-BU-LOUS clients, meeting other amazing people. And being myself.

A job? Maybe one day. Not now.

When I stepped away from the noise this week and revisited my plan for the year I realised I wanted the same again thank you very much. Same goals as last year with a tweak or two. Same schedule. Same attitude. Same ideal client and offer. It felt good. After my wee break I don’t feel as vulnerable to the courses with expiring discounts and quick-fix offers. 

Stepping away from all the noise and the hype and the sales pitches helped me to remember what I wanted. New year, new you? Nah. I like you the way you are. Keep going. Never mind what anyone else is up to.

More popular articles…

How do you talk to people about what you do?

How do you talk to people about what you do?

If you've started to show up online as a way to promote your services you'll probably know that you need a smart way to talk about what you do, who you serve and even what you stand for. And OH BOY, is this hard to create. So many people I meet find it hard to...

read more
The myth of “Nightmare Clients”

The myth of “Nightmare Clients”

In the early days, I said 'yes' to the most unsuitable clients and it nearly killed my business before it even got started. I see so much content online… for want of a better term… bitching about "nightmare clients". And the spirit of these posts makes me frown. I...

read more
Could this be a remedy for impostor syndrome?

Could this be a remedy for impostor syndrome?

Raise your hand if you get impostor syndrome in your business sometimes. (If you've actually just raised your hand for real, you're my kind of weirdo 🥰 x) I get it too. I'm actually not going to waffle on about impostor syndrome here. There are enough people...

read more

The 10K Month Strategy

What does it take to hit consistent 10K for your creative / 1:1 services?

Subscribe to download the checklist.