travelling solo or deciding to start your own business is nerve wracking.
Over the years, after countless trips and starting my own businesses, I’ve realised there are more benefits than I ever realised – personally and in business.
When a journalist recently asked me about travelling solo, my response surprised me.
I realised the reasons behind my decision to travel solo weren’t far removed from my decisions to be an entrepreneur:
Freedom to set my own schedule
not seeking a consensus
meeting a diverse range of people
being inspired by variety and change
The more I thought about this, the more I realised the characteristics that enabled me to enjoy travelling on my own, were the same as those for thriving as a business owner.
Don’t misunderstand me, travelling solo and being an entrepreneur isn’t all about being on your own. You can surround yourself with as many people as you like, be a social butterfly or an introvert, however, you need to trust, act and rely on your own decisions.
So, after pondering this, my advice is to take a few solo test trips before deciding to quit your job and startup your own business.
Try some of these experiences on your own and see how you feel:
- Have a drink in a café outside your local or familiar areas
- Spend a couple of hours at a beach or park
- Eat dinner in a restaurant, without hiding behind a book, a phone or ipad (you might need to build up to this one!)
- Sign up to a class or activity that it is completely new to you e.g. horseriding, drawing, abseiling, public speaking, cheerleading or knitting. See what it feels like to be a novice again
- Book a weekend away, but don’t hide away when you get there
You have more strength than you give yourself credit for but you will only realise this when you are tested, whether by choice or circumstance.
When I travel or just pop to the grocery store, I talk to people. I ask how their day is, talk about the weather, the brand of soap powder they are buying…whatever is genuine in the moment.
When I worked in the corporate world, I wasn’t like that. I would drive to work, take the lift, sit at my desk and speak to my colleagues. Then I would reverse the process going home. Going to the grocery store was a sprint to grab what I needed. I’d sigh over the queues and then be frustrated by the slow self-checkout machine that needed a supervisor’s verification.
I’m more connected and engaged with people now that I work ‘remotely’ than I ever was when I was in an office surrounded by people.
Feeling hesitant and nervous is to be expected when you test drive my suggestions above. However, if you notice any of the following, this is a good time to assess how you will structure your business or if being an entrepreneur or travelling solo is right for you:
- You want someone else to tell you where to go or what to do
- You need reassurance that your decision was a good one
- Being on your own drove you crazy
- You couldn’t bring yourself to try something outside of your expertise or skill set
- Not having a fixed schedule meant you were uninspired to do anything
The fabulous Sharon Williams, psychologist and executive coach, had this to say when I put my theory to her:
“As a solo entrepreneur who does all of Rebecca’s suggestions regularly and loves them all, I would add that travelling solo helps you develop a highly tuned sense of intuition. It increases self-awareness and confidence, all of which serve you extremely well in business.
Being a solo entrepreneur is definitely not for everyone and if you fell short on any of Rebecca’s solo test trips then it is probably not time to hand in your resignation just yet. However, if for the most part (despite some healthy nerves!) you experienced enjoyment, excitement or just a calm sense of happiness then it may be as good a time as any to hang up your ‘worker’ boots and go solo.
Also, you don’t have to dive in ‘all or nothing’; often it is possible to make this move gradually. That is, reduce your permanent job by one or two days a week and keep a reduced but stable income whilst you spend the extra time building up your business. Once the business has reached a certain level, you can take the leap to full-time solo business owner with less risk, more experience under your belt and greater peace of mind. This has worked extremely effectively for many of my clients.”
That’s a good point Sharon raises, that travelling solo helps build other strengths and abilities, which are beneficial in business….another great reason to step out on your own, even if they are just baby steps in the beginning!
Testing your comfort zone is the same when travelling solo and running your own business, the question is:
do you like it that way?
I would love to hear about your experiences with travelling solo and running a business. Or if you want more information on what it is really like creating, launching or growing your own business, please reach out.
Rebecca Collett, Founder of Snowed Under Solutions
PS – Thanks to @tangraphoto for the beautiful photo!
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