If you’re thinking, “Isn’t being a “solo”preneur a single player sport? Wouldn’t golf or tennis or wait – boxing, yes, boxing be a more applicable analogy?”
In some ways you may be right, but let me explain.
I was out watching my 7-year old daughter’s soccer game Saturday morning, the Purple Devils vs. the Pink Pandas. It was great to see their enthusiasm and joy for the game. On the field there were six girls from each team – four on offense and two on defense.
The game started with one girl on our team passing the ball to a team mate. Like hungry hyenas lunging for a lame antelope, eight energetic girls attacked the ball before it could get away. Swinging legs wildly, arms pushing for position in a huddle – more rugby than soccer – they tried to move the ball closer to their goal.
In the back field, the other team’s two defenders were hanging out in front of their goal. One defender was jumping up and down, waiting for the ball to come her way. She had the energy of an attack dog waiting for her coach’s command to “sick”. The other defender was watching the game on the next field over, distracted by the action and the cheering.
Parents were on the sidelines shouting out commands over the coaches. Their kids were so focused on the ball – you could tell that they didn’t hear a word.
The huddle was moving back and forth, but mainly in our favor. Some girls were going aggressively after the ball, faces growing redder, while others waited to react. Some were just excited to be in the huddle.
One of our girls peeled off from the pack – whether tired of being pushed and shoved or an instinctual response to the repetitious drills of that week’s practice, I wasn’t sure. But, our coach saw her move away and started yelling, “pass the ball, pass the ball”.
Suddenly the ball popped out from the pack and went in her direction. She took the ball down the side of the field towards the defender that was watching the other game.
Parents and team mates started yelling at this little lost girl to pay attention. The attack dog defender started bouncing up and down, faster, faster – well trained to stay in position, wanting the command to attack. Before little miss daydream defender knew it, our girl was past her with the ball, shooting – GGGOOOOOAAAAALLL!!!
What can this teach us about Solopreneurship?
There are several analogies, but let’s stick to the basics.
- The field is your market. The game is the same, but the field is different. You must stay focused on the game going on in your field. Don’t get distracted with the money making action in other fields.
- The ball is opportunity. Entrepreneurs and companies will huddle up on opportunity. Do a search on the Internet on a current, hot industry – say “green business” and see how many money making opportunities you can find associated with it. Google returns almost 70 million results. You want to be in a market with demand, but find a way from getting lost in the huddle.
- Your team is you, the solopreneur, and your team mates are your Joint Venture (JV) partners. Learn when it is best to move the ball forward on your own and when to pass to your partners. Just because you pass doesn’t mean that your team can’t score. You will last longer and score more often when playing as a team.
- The other team is obviously the competition. Keep the action moving forward towards your goal. Don’t wait for the competition to make a move – keep moving forward. Take action, take action, take action!
- The parents on your side are your customers. Listen to them and they will tell you what they want. They want to see you take it to the goal. And they don’t care if you do it on your own or if you pass it to one of your JVs. They simply want to see you score.
- The goal is the problem that your customers want a solution for – their fix.
- The game works better if you learn to spread out and pass. The field of opportunity is wide. There are many routes to getting to the goal. Learn to find the path of least resistance by getting around the huddle.
And what do we tell our kids when they play sports? Learn to have fun.
All The Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide