A quick search on Google will tell you that the term solopreneur has been around for quite some time.
Macmillan dictionary defines a solopreneur as a business owner who works and runs their business alone. Going by this definition of solopreneur, about a third of the American workforce comprising freelancers and consultants fit under category.
Solopreneurs have an inherently entrepreneurial mindset, and they prefer single-handedly managing their business.
Solopreneurs are often criticized for not generating jobs for others. What critics do not take into account is that while solopreneurs may work alone, it doesn’t mean they don’t collaborate with other entrepreneurs. To give an example, a freelance writer may work closely with a designer on various projects. In this way, solopreneurs generate work for others.
Pros and Cons of Being a Solopreneur
Solopreneurship as a career is tempting for several reasons. To begin with, solopreneurs have the flexibility and freedom to choose their work. The work-life balance that solopreneurship offers is, in fact, one of the key factors behind its growing popularity.
Solopreneurship also works for those who want to be their own boss. By choosing to run their businesses single-handedly, solopreneurs avoid boardroom politics and other hassles that come with dealing with too many people. Solopreneurs call their own shots and are accountable for the business decisions they make.
In the present market scenario, solopreneurship is an idea worth exploring because demand for self-driven, skilled specialists is on the rise. There are plenty of opportunities that solopreneurs can consider to achieve success.
On the flip side however, solopreneurship is not for those averse to taking risks. While working alone as an entrepreneur, you may face challenging situations that demand patience and quick decision-making.
It’s also important to remember that as a solopreneur you will be on your own, without the support of your team members. You may face situations where you need to multi-task and do many jobs all at once.
Plus, a growing number of people are jumping on the solopreneurship bandwagon today, making it a really competitive place to be. To get business, you have to find new ways to set yourself apart and communicate your unique brand story. What special value do you bring? Why should your customers choose you over your competition? These are some questions you need to answer before you choose a career in this domain.
Solopreneurship is an exciting opportunity to consider also because there are some really fun ideas you can explore. With the right strategy and vision, you can get started in no time.
Motivating employees seems like it should be easy. And it is — in theory. But while the concept of motivation may be straightforward, motivating employees in real-life situations is far more challenging. As leaders, we’re asked to understand what motivates each individual on our team and manage them accordingly. What a challenging ask of leaders, particularly those with large or dispersed teams and those who are already overwhelmed by their own workloads.
Leaders are also encouraged to rely on the carrot versus stick approach for motivation, where the carrot is a reward for compliance and the stick is a consequence for noncompliance. But when our sole task as leaders becomes compliance, trying to compel others to do something, chances are we’re the only ones who will be motivated.
Why not consider another way to motivate employees? I’d like to suggest a new dialogue that embraces the key concept that motivation is less about employees doing great work and more about employees feeling great about their work. The better employees feel about their work, the more motivated they remain over time. When we step away from the traditional carrot or stick to motivate employees, we can engage in a new and meaningful dialogue about the work instead. Here’s how:
Share context and provide relevance. There is no stronger motivation for employees than an understanding that their work matters and is relevant to someone or something other than a financial statement. To motivate your employees, start by sharing context about the work you’re asking them to do. What are we doing as an organization and as a team? Why are we doing it? Who benefits from our work and how? What does success look like for our team and for each employee? What role does each employee play in delivering on that promise? Employees are motivated when their work has relevance.
Anticipate roadblocks to enable progress. When you ask anything significant of team members, they will undoubtedly encounter roadblocks and challenges along the path to success. Recognize that challenges can materially impact motivation. Be proactive in identifying and addressing them. What might make an employee’s work difficult or cumbersome? What can you do to ease the burden? What roadblocks might surface?
How can you knock them down? How can you remain engaged just enough to see trouble coming and pave the way for success? Employees are motivated when they can make progress without unnecessary interruption and undue burdens.
Recognize contributions and show appreciation. As tempting as it is to try to influence employee satisfaction with the use of carrots and sticks, it isn’t necessary for sustained motivation. Far more powerful is your commitment to recognizing and acknowledging contributions so that employees feel appreciated and valued. Leaders consistently underestimate the power of acknowledgment to bring forth employees’ best efforts. What milestones have been achieved? What unexpected or exceptional results have been realized? Who has gone beyond the call of duty to help a colleague or meet a deadline? Who has provided great service or support to a customer in crisis? Who “walked the talk” on your values in a way that sets an example for others and warrants recognition? Employees are motivated when they feel appreciated and recognized for their contributions.
Check in to assess your own motivation. What if you’ve done all of the above but are still struggling to motivate others? You may need to assess your own motivation. Employees are very attuned to whether leaders have a genuine connection to the work. If you’re not engaged and enthusiastic about your company, your team, or the work you do, it’s unlikely that you’ll be a great motivator of others. What aspects of your role do you enjoy? What makes you proud to lead your team? What impact can you and your team have on others both inside and outside the organization? How can you adapt your role to increase your energy and enthusiasm? Employees feel motivated when their leaders are motivated.
The bottom line is: Don’t rely on outdated methods and tricks to motivate employees. Talk with your team about the relevance of the work they do every day. Be proactive in identifying and solving problems for your employees. Recognize employee contributions in specific, meaningful ways on a regular basis. Connect with your own motivation, and share it freely with your team. Put away the carrots and sticks and have meaningful conversations instead. You’ll be well on your way to leading a highly motivated team.
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