Business in general has gotten a bad reputation in the US. Headlines are filled with bad or socially irresponsible actions taken by businesses, and usually the culprit is a big company. We’ve grown familiar with a win-lose model of business – if somebody wins, then that means that somebody lost. This thinking has become so ingrained in out thinking that for a lot of people who are not associated with ethical, high-integrity, high-service businesses the idea that business can be a force for good is foreign to them. I often spend time trying to dispel this myth, and I always strive for a win-win-win business model: the business owner wins, the customer wins and the world wins in some way.
One of the reasons that big companies often behave badly is that it’s easy to hide behind the organization itself. Decisions and responsibility are spread over many people so that no single person can be blamed. This is the opposite for solopreneur businesses, and that’s one reason why integrity is common in one-person businesses. If you do business with Jane and not a big anonymous company, Jane can’t hide her actions behind any facade. As solopreneurs, we bring so much of ourselves to the business. We use our life experience to benefit others, and we often share our current struggles and triumphs when they serve our customers. The incentive to maintain high integrity comes from not wanting to sully our personal reputation with unsavory activities as well as the natural human desire to be of service and make a contribution. When we see others benefiting from our work, we naturally want to do more of it.
The solopreneur business model tends to encourage and reward integrity, but this works in the opposite direction as well: in my experience, people who are drawn to the solopreneur business model tend to be those who strive for integrity and high customer service. Otherwise, they’d choose a different business model that allows more anonymity. If a person is looking to get rich quick through some scam or near-scam, it would not be wise to create a brand and business built around yourself. As an example, whenever I’ve visited websites for those scam-like products that promise the moon and a money back guarantee, there’s never a person involved. It’s hard to know who works there, where they are or even how to get a hold of a person. This to me is a red flag that nobody who works there is willing to be attached to the product or business.
If you’re a solopreneur or find yourself drawn to this business model, take a moment to enjoy the fact that you are choosing a business model that lets your integrity shine through!