Being a one-person operation or ‘solopreneur’ is nothing to be ashamed of, whether you are just starting out or are well established as a small business owner.
When you are on your own, you do not have to worry about managing employees (e.g. making sure they are productive and motivated, catering to their training and developmental needs, dealing with office politics and grievances). You can be flexible about containing your operational costs (e.g. working home from home or renting a workstation are viable options), and you can work according to your own schedule without having to set an example or take into account someone else’s needs (other than your customers).
Possibly the biggest drawcard of being a solopreneur is the ability to focus on honing your own knowledge and skills by being solely responsible for managing projects and customers. You are exposed to more and different situations than you would be as part of a bigger team, and the rewards for your work (financial and non-financial) are all yours.
Sooner or later, every solopreneur faces the question of whether to grow the business or keep it as a one man show. This can be prompted by the volume of work reaching a point where one person alone cannot cope and more resources are needed. Or the small business owner feeling they have had enough of certain tasks and activities and would like to explore new territory.
Small business owners who are at this juncture should not feel compelled to take on more employees for appearance’s sake – your customers will still judge you on the quality of your products and services, regardless of whether they are produced by just you or a bigger team. In addition, the number of employees you have is not the only measure of growth for a business.
Other indicators such as revenue, profit, number and diversity of customers are also valuable and reliable measures of how well the business is doing.
The fundamental questions you need to ask yourself are: ‘What is my vision for this business? What do I want to get out of this?’
If you can answer these questions honestly without allowing yourself to be swayed by opinionated people (who may or may not have good intentions!), then chances are you will make the right decision and not have any regrets about being a small business owner.