Every once in a while, someone asks me a question that throws me for a loop. In the moment, I’m usually just trying to think of something to say other than “Huh?’ but after thinking about it I usually find that the reason it throws me is that it’s not the right question to ask. A few weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine asked me one of those questions.
I hadn’t seen this person in about 2 years, so he didn’t know what was going on in my business. When I told him about it, his response was “So, is this it? Is this what you’re going to do with your life?” At the moment, I just told him the truth which is that I loved my business and the people I work with and felt I was doing important work. What I later realized is that the reason the question seemed off to me is that it doesn’t line up with the way I see people evolve and change over the course of their life. For many people, particularly the solopreneurs I work with, there’s an ongoing change of focus. We don’t suddenly wake up one day and say “Yes, this is it, what I’m doing forever.” We continually learn and grow, and interests wither as we find new passions. The underlying assumption I heard in his question was that everyone is on a one-way journey to a certain place where they will park their career until retirement, and that you’re either there or not.
The solopreneur journey is often very different from this linear path. We start with a grand idea, and from then on the business undergoes steady or sometimes sudden change. My own business is in probably it’s third focus since forming in January 2009, and I’m still learning and growing. Since you’re the boss, don’t be afraid to change your mission. In fact, expect that your mission will change. Not many solopreneurs stay with the same business they start with, so give yourself permission to grow and evolve over time. If you’re drawn to something new, it’s probably because someone needs that from you.
Leave a comment telling me how your business has changed since you started it. Were you surprised? I was.