Autonomy & The Need for Community as Solopreneurs
Posted on 24th March 2022 at 14:40
When people ask why I set up my own business, reasons I often give are autonomy and creative freedom. One of my personal values is ‘to create’. It is a value I believe most purpose-led entrepreneurs and business leaders share; the desire to put new ideas, products, services, and ways of being out into the world. The recognition that existing systems and ways of being need disrupting. It is a value I try to live and work by every day.
In particular, I wanted the creative freedom to challenge existing narratives which hold us back. I didn’t want to fit my writing and speaking into an editorial agenda which looks to confirm the status quo. I see so much written today about in-vogue topics such as #purpose and #leadership which lack truth and #meaning. This doesn’t create change. Rather, it allows inspirational soundbites to make redundant practices legitimate and I really disagree with that. For me, creative freedom ensures that I don’t need to tone down my voice. That I can retain the authenticity which is so important to my work.
That said, every decision in life is a choice and, in each choice, always lies a sacrifice. When people think of entrepreneurship, they think about sacrificing financial security. And yes, of course, that is always there. However, as a solopreneur, the biggest sacrifice I have felt has been community. I underestimated how much I would miss having a work community. Colleagues who provide community, collaboration, chats and often a laugh. People who are invested in your success as much as you are. Collaborators to bounce ideas off. It is the one part of my working life that I still struggle with somewhat, still reflect on how I could improve this area.
Why do I tell you all this? Because for the last few weeks, I felt like I had hundreds of colleagues. I was overwhelmed by the messages of support and general community that gathered around me as I competed in the Nordic Business Forum Speaking Contest in Stockholm last week. People text and emailed to congratulate me, shared my social media updates and took time out of their day last week to watch the live-stream (particularly impressive for those in Ireland given it was a public holiday here!). It was a wonderful reminder that sometimes we can feel something is missing but it is actually already there waiting for us to see it more clearly. It felt great and I can’t thank you all enough.
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