It takes a lot of self-directed leadership to succeed as an entrepreneur. This is especially true if you are a solopreneur. Envisioning what leadership might look like for a solopreneur requires a more expansive view that recognizes the value of skills that might not normally be considered.
For a solopreneur, the most important leadership skills are the also the most important skills for entrepreneurial success. In the NaperLaunch Academy, participants review a list of 12 behaviors that have been proven to be accurate predictors of success and satisfaction as an entrepreneur, based on data gathered by researchers who studied several hundred successful founders and evaluated dozens of behaviors. One way to measure a solopreneur’s leadership skills is by assessing their strength in each of these 12 areas:
- Optimism: Successful entrepreneurs have an upbeat, positive outlook.
- Emotional resilience: Successful entrepreneurs are stable, hardy, and emotionally resilient; they can handle work stress and pressure.
- Self-determination: Successful entrepreneurs believe that work success stems from personal initiative and effort, not luck or fate.
- Adaptability: Successful entrepreneurs are flexible, and able to adjust their work style to different conditions and situations.
- Goal setting: Successful entrepreneurs regularly set clear business goals and objectives.
- Tolerance for financial insecurity: Successful entrepreneurs can tolerate a high degree of uncertainty regarding their future income, contracts, and business.
- Social networking: Successful entrepreneurs expand their business and/or social contacts by making connections through individuals.
- Self-promotion: Successful entrepreneurs promote themselves and their product or service to other people for business-related purposes.
- Autonomy: Successful entrepreneurs exercise independence and autonomy and can make decisions without needing external validation or approval.
- Competitiveness: Successful entrepreneurs try to outperform business rivals and others for business-related purposes.
- Persistence: Successful entrepreneurs keep working on projects until they are completed and persevere despite setbacks and obstacles.
- Work drive: Successful entrepreneurs are willing to work long hours and extend themselves when needed to finish projects and meet deadlines.
Understanding one’s own abilities in these areas requires reflective thought. It may be helpful to invite others who know you extremely well (eg, family, friends, associates, or advisers) to provide a thorough and accurate assessment of your capabilities in each of these areas in order to identify strengths and weaknesses.
Where a strength is identified, you have a good idea of an area of your business’ operations or your decision-making process in which you can rely on your instincts. On the other hand, in areas where weaknesses are uncovered, you should proactively develop strategies to use if you are confronted with decisions or actions that fit into an area where you may not have all the knowledge, experience, or confidence necessary to proceed. This may include pursuing professional development or training, seeking out opportunities to practice particular skills, or identifying advisors or outside service providers.
Keep in mind that no individual entrepreneur is likely to be strong in all these areas. Leading as a solopreneur requires understanding where your strengths lie and when to ask for assistance.
For more information about this and other topics, consider registering for the NaperLaunch Academy workshop series or scheduling a one-on-one appointment with a business librarian or NaperLaunch coach.