I was asked recently, “What’s the best thing you did when starting your solo business?” The answer that came to mind is the same one I would give today: The best thing I did was jump into it full time. It’s a decision that fit my circumstances and personality, and it got me off to a strong start.
Marriage drove me into the solopreneur life. I was the managing editor of a daily newspaper in 1993, and my wife and I married in September of that year. My schedule at the newspaper was grueling: noon to midnight (at least), five or six days a week, and the pace of my days was all-out, with tight deadlines. On days off, I was worn out and felt like a slug. My wife basically had 9-to-5 hours, so it became clear that my schedule was not going to be conducive to a healthy marriage.
Because my job was so demanding, beginning a solo business by doing work on the side wasn’t an option. I could have found a less demanding job, done things on the side and built my business gradually, but that idea did not appeal to me.
It was two months from the time I decided to go into business until I left my newspaper gig. During that time I did prep work: developed the outline of a business plan, decided on a name for the business, purchased a computer and a printer (not every household had computers back then!) and set up an office in our home.
I also contacted my professional network; through those connections I landed an ongoing project that I began in December when I opened for business.
Personality also played a big role in deciding to make a clean break. When I take a strong interest in something or decide on a course of action, I throw myself into it. When I take up a new hobby, I devour every bit of information that I can on the subject. That’s probably not the best way to travel through life, but I am hard-wired to operate that way.
It was like that in 1993, too. As soon as the business idea began to take shape, I sensed that my best thinking was going into the new business, not the newspaper. The situation wasn’t fair to my employer; I wasn’t comfortable with that, which only accelerated the process of launching the business.
What’s the best thing you did when starting your solo business?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.