The Tale of a Failed Solopreneur

Once upon a time in entrepreneur dreamland, I imagined that if I were very, very, good at my job, and worked tremendously hard using my impressive well-honed skills, not to mention my many years of experience–and to top it off–my charming personality, every customer in the entire customer-land would fall madly in love with my business, and we would all live happily ever after.

As you can see, I was living in La La Land.  Isn’t it interesting how this English colloquial term La La Land matches very well with the Swahili word Lala in every sense of the meaning?

Long story short, that day never came. Instead, I spent years trying to survive as a solo creative, solo debt collector, solo client service manager, solo accountant, and solo HR manager. So, if I became ill, the whole company went into immediate lockdown. What makes this even more distressing is the fact that I had eleven employees.

What went wrong?

The company’s evil owner (me) was an entitled cognoscente (I stole this word right from simply to impress you). Cognoscente generally means a person who is “highly skilled or knowledgeable in their skill.” But when used to describe me, it means–a pompous narcissist.

In my La La Land  story, I was the natural hero–a self-imagined princess charming who would swoop in and save the day. The reality, instead; I was ‘the big one-eyed-ogre’–the mischief-maker, or creep of the fairytale.

I had built the company around my reputation, my skills, and my portfolio, in other words–me, myself and I. I never really got my team fully involved in the business. Worst still, I never shared the company vision and values with them. Big one-eyed-ogre sums it up beautifully.

And of course, I failed.

Note to future self.

A successful business is all about a good team. From the infancy of your business, you need to know that you are not the sole possessor of all the skills and talent necessary to grow your business. Be humble and let others compliment you and come up with better solutions than yours.

David Ogilvy famously said, “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

So, who did I hire, dwarfs or giants?

I don’t know! I never gave them a chance to show up.

As a memory aid, I have patched together sentences from several other quotes to make my very own killer quote. I hope one day it will make me just as famous as David Ogilvy.

Here it goes.

“You can have your ducks in a row, but if you are the mother duck and don’t know how to lead your team to the river, your goose is cooked.”

By the way, while researching for this article, I came across various types of “prenuers.” They say there are at least 27 different types. However, I sampled 5. Read on to figure out what your entrepreneur-personality type is.

A solopreneur is an entrepreneur who chooses to set up, run, and work on their business alone over the long term. Solopreneurs are ultimately responsible for their small business’ success or failure and tend to execute nearly all of the work themselves.

An infopreneur is an entrepreneur who identifies opportunities for creating enterprising information-based businesses by identifying knowledge deficiency situations and selling target-based information products and services, mainly through the Internet.

A micropreneur is an entrepreneur willing to accept the risk of starting and managing a minuscule business, that allows him or her to do the kind of work s/he wants to do and offers a balanced lifestyle.

A comfortpreneur is an entrepreneur who epitomizes the single-mindedness of entrepreneurs. They refuse to adapt, improve, or change upon their business structure and strategies. They don’t always believe newer is better. Instead, they are comfortable using outdated technologies and methods of days gone by when running their businesses.

And the best for last….

A wantrepreneur is an entrepreneur who has the spirit and desire to be an entrepreneur. However, they haven’t quite found a way to follow through with their dreams yet. In most cases, these wantrepreneurs are missing the self-direction, motivation, capital, and daily routine that real entrepreneurs have.

For the remaining 22 types, check out this link: 27 Different Types of Entrepreneurs