Not long ago, publisher Merriam-Webster announced its 2013 word of the year: Science.
Boring. I would have nominated another word that begins with letter “S”: Solopreneur. But we’ll cut Merriam-Webster a little slack; maybe solopreneur will capture the word of the decade crown in 2020.
The Autonomy of Solopreneurship
In today’s digital economy folks who don’t mind hustling a bit and taking advantage of all the angles that the virtual world has to offer are striking out on their own. They are making their ideas come to life and carving out businesses for themselves. As the word solopreneur indicates, they are going it alone.
However, achievers—and certainly those who have ideas that show great promise—soon realize that, as a solopreneur, they are doing tasks that aren’t really time or cost efficient. For instance, Henry Ford proved, more than 100 years ago, that dividing up labor makes sense, and money. Chances are you aren’t building a car, but in any case, the principle still applies in most business environments.
So, if you are the idea sparkplug, the code guru, or the person with real sales and marketing talent, there are tasks that you shouldn’t be doing.
How Solopreneurs Can Benefit from Virtual Employees
It’s easy to understand why solopreneurs are often reluctant to bring on new hires. The concept of “I’ve done okay so far on my own” looms in their minds. However, with the availability of virtual employees, risk can be minimized while the upside can be tremendous. Let’s take a look at two examples:
Estimate the Value of your Time
First, you should be able to put a price tag on your hourly, daily or project rate. Next, estimate how much of your time is spent working on tasks that could be easily outsourced. If you can hire the right amount of fractional work to handle that part of your load, it’s an immediate boost for your business, as long as you maintain productivity—and if you’re dedicated to your own success, this should be important.
Consider Lost Opportunities
The second way to look at the benefits of virtual employee is by estimating the cost of lost opportunities. Every business must grow to succeed in the long-term. Perhaps you’re looking to “get the ball rolling” and then someday sell your business. For that to happen, potential buyers must be convinced that the growth curve of your business will continue.
If you are investing time doing tasks someone else could be doing—instead of growing your business—you are delaying, and quite possibly missing out on, important opportunities. Slowing the growth rate of your business can be just as fatal as no growth at all.
We live in a great time for individuals with ideas. There’s a reason that the word solopreneur has only recently entered our vocabulary. Until recently, making it big by going it alone was extremely difficult. Today the barriers to entry have been dramatically decreased and leveraging virtual employees will continue to offer a major strategic advantage for startups moving forward.
Sandra Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Worldwide101 a virtual professional services company, which provides Admin and Customer Service for companies worldwide. Born and raised in France, Sandra has travelled extensively as a Project Manager to Asia, Australia, North America and in various parts of both Eastern and Western Europe. During her career she has worked as Operations Manager for companies such as Regus and BuroServices, with a focus on supporting small businesses to be effective as they scale. Setting an example of the efficiencies gained working virtually, she manages her entire team on 4 continents, on a virtual basis.
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