One of the solopreneurs in my business networking group has been going through a hard time lately on the personal front. Unfortunately, he’s letting his work slide, to the point where he failed to follow up with an important client, leaving that client in a difficult situation.
The word about the client’s plight got back this morning to our networking group meeting, and sparked a vigorous discussion about whether or not he should be allowed to stay in our group (he was not present at this morning’s meeting).
As an employee in an organisation, it’s one thing to be under the weather and do a sub-par job. Co-workers and the system will pick up the slack. As a solopreneur I have no backup, so the standards of my work depend solely on my personal fitness: physical, mental and emotional.
And all it takes is one small glitch to break the confidence of not only an individual client, but the impact ripples out to everyone that client knows, and will come back to bite me sooner or later.
So it’s important to practice a high degree of personal “energetic hygiene”, to deal with personal issues cleanly and quickly, so that they don’t gum up my business. This is why it’s important to take really good care of my physical, mental and emotional health, so that illness or emotional issues do not stop me.
Having good systems to automate or delegate my tasks is also very important. What’s sad about this particular solopreneur, is that he usually gives a great level of personal service, but it’s because he puts a lot of inefficient time and effort into his work. His office, filing and task management systems were very weak, so all it took was a little stumble and it all came crashing down. (If he had better systems, he could give that great level of service to even more people with less time and effort, and avoid these kinds of easily avoidable problems!)
To me, that’s an important distinction between a “self-employed” person and a solopreneur – the quality of personal standards, boundaries and systems to get things done to a high degree of quality.
Yes, what he is going through is sad, and he’s letting it jeopardize his livelihood. I guess I need to talk to him and see what’s happening, before he permanently loses the confidence of his fellow networkers…