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5 Hard-Learned Lessons

one-person business Nov 10, 2022

Through the years I've learned a few things about being a one-person business owner and consultant. Here are five hard-learned lessons that have helped me build and grow my business over the past two decades.

  • I may not be the boss of you but I am a leader in this space. As a consultant you may not be the boss of the teams you work with, but you are a leader. Lead your clients to a better place. Inspire them. Make their time at work easier, more efficient. Work closely with bosses, managers, supervisors to move your helpful, informed recommendations forward.
  • Be realistic about deadlines with your clients and projects. You're only one person. Things may take a smidge longer, but you need to let folks know the quality of the service you provide will be worth it. Find a way to share this part of your story if necessary. Most clients aren't going to mind a longer turnaround time as long as you're up front about it.
  • Many one-person business owners, because they came to their work from a personal place, take criticism (constructive or otherwise) of their work personally. Try your best to avoid taking things personally. It took me a long time to find a good balance between the person I am and the work I do. I still struggle with this from time to time.
  • When you spend long stretches of time on your own, you'll have moments when you get too much in your head. When you notice this happening, get up. Move. Change things up. Break the pattern. Awareness is key here.
  • Are you happy doing the work you do? Ask yourself this question often. At different points in my career, I've had to think long and hard about this. As a one-person business owner, if you aren't happy doing the work you do, there's a real problem. Since you've chosen your path you have no reason to not love what you're doing and find happiness in the doing. Key phrase the doing. We all have hard days now and again, but they're fewer and farther between when you enjoy the process in your work.

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