What are solopreneurs like? Well, they’re like the guy with the amazing, colorful, unforgettable tenor voice.
I met a guy in college who had a voice like that — at St. Olaf College, renowned for its music department and choir.
Stepping foot on campus as a freshman, I thought I had a really good voice. At my high school near Cleveland, Ohio, I was a top bass in an excellent choral program. But during my first hours on campus at St. Olaf, I found out my voice was “meh,” by Olaf standards.
I learned this truth while talking with the guy who lived in the dorm room next door to mine. We were chatting about the freshman men’s choir, called the Viking Chorus. Both of us were going to try out for the group.
“That’s cool,” I probably said.
Then my next-door neighbor dropped a bomb on me.
He said he had a three-octave range.
“You gotta be kidding me.”
He wasn’t kidding. I would learn during our year in the Viking Chorus that he had an amazing tenor voice — and an amazing baritone voice, and an amazing bass voice.
But then a bomb was dropped on him, too.
He figured out that, even though he had the best voice by far in the Class of 1985, it was going to be difficult for him to make the St. Olaf Choir.
What the heck?
Yep. His voice was too distinctive for God’s Choir. His voice would stand out too much. He would overshadow the tenors, and the sopranos, too. You can’t have that when the goal is a pure tone and a seamless blending of voices.
My buddy understood. So he worked hard with his voice teacher to tame his sound. They tried to remove the vibrato, the color.
But they never “succeeded” at harnessing his voice. And he never got in the choir. Thank goodness, I say.
Solopreneurs Don’t Fit In
Solopreneurs are like my friend. Corporate cultures are like the St. Olaf Choir.
Solopreneurs struggle to fit in at corporations. Our voices are too strong. We ask too many questions. We’re too impulsive, too stubborn, too independent, too original. We stray from corporate branding standards. We see new markets. We push for the introduction of new products and services. We ask for forgiveness, not permission.
We’re a pain in the hindquarters to our managers. We’re just too much.
And we never “succeed” at being a good fit in the corporate world.
Thank goodness, I say.