A solopreneur’s take on what tasks to do

by Michele on July 20, 2011

Solopreneurs can choose their tasks

Solopreneurs can choose their tasks

When you’re an employee, you often don’t have a choice about what tasks you work on.  Somebody else creates the big picture direction for the company and your job is to carry out the specific tasks needed to bring that vision to life.  It’s a great role in some ways – you’re spared some degree of angst in deciding what to do.  You’re not responsible for making sure payroll is covered.  You may not be responsible in emergencies or for mundane tasks like insurance, licenses and taxes.  But being an employee doesn’t allow you to shape the destiny of the company, and you may not be able to innovate as much as you want.  That’s one reason why a lot of people are drawn to the solopreneur lifestyle – the freedom to sink or soar on your own merits.

I think many solopreneurs go through a bit of a let down when they see how many tasks they have to do that they don’t particularly like and this may be true even if you have outsourced help.  It’s not that they are doing anything wrong, it’s more of a problem of expectations.  Many of us go into our business with huge enthusiasm and a fire to help others, but without thinking about the less glamorous tasks like doing the books, filling out paperwork and finding new clients.  What makes things even worse is that a lot of these tasks aren’t optional!

The good news is that once you take care of the mandatory tasks required to stay in business you have some choices about what tasks you do.  Unlike an employee, you have lots of discretion as a solopreneur in what you work on.  You can even, gasp, make decisions that are bad for business but good for your spirit.  The important thing is that you do this with your eyes open.  For example, I have not yet really begun to use video in my business very much even though I know I know lots of people like getting information that way (and I will add video at some point).   The reason is that video is one of my least favorite ways to receive business information.  I’d much rather read, which I can do quickly, or listen which I can do anywhere.  Even though I know it’s probably not a great business decision, I’ve taken the liberty to make that decision since I can.  There are other important things beside the bottom line for a solopreneur.

If you’re doing any tasks that aren’t absolutely mandatory and that you dislike, I invite you to think about giving them up even if it may not be best for the bottom line. Outsourcing is of course an option, but before doing that consider if you even want to be engaged in those activities.  After all, being able to make decisions like that is one of the best reasons to be a solopreneur.

Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    What a great post, Michele. I’ve been in business for over ten years now and still remember what a challenge it was in the beginning–“you mean I have to choose what to do first?!” At the time I was a full time student, working three part time jobs, starting the business on the side and I found prioritizing to be the trickiest task. I was so sure there was a “right” way to do it all… One of my earliest mentors taught me that in business, in a way, it’s all urgent–you *never* get to the end of the to-do list–and so really the only way to choose is to figure out what works for you. That’s been some of the best advice I ever received, and I enjoyed reading your take on it!

    (By the way, I held out against video, too, but started using it a bit and have found it’s a lot more fun than I expected! So, I can completely understand why you’re not ready to do it yet, but when you are ready, you might just find the same thing I did :-).)

    1. Michele says:

      Thanks Jessica! Your comment is so on the mark! It’s all urgent, it never gets all done and focus is so important! I have a sense you’re right about video too – I love doing video with my family and friends, no reason why it won’t be fun for business too!

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