Starting down the self-employment road can feel scary at any time. It’s also true that there are particular advantages and disadvantages for starting a business in these current times. As you make your pros and cons list, these points below might help assess if now is good for you.
So much depends on your own specifics, but I can give a general look at the solopreneur self-employment scene in the U.S. at this time. And what to consider for your own situation.
It is indeed a volatile time, so it can be hard to assess what could work or not. One of my introvert superpowers is to be a keen observer of what goes on, both with the business and marketing trends I watch, and with the close-up stories I get to see while helping people transition to self-employment. I see where the consistent snags and upsides show up.
Here’s my attempt to capture what I’m noticing for new solopreneurs now.
😕 Disadvantages for Starting a Business Now
- There’s a lot of loud, salesy misinformation out there about what’s needed in business and marketing, so it’s easy to get swept into faulty paths.
What helps: Avoid get rich quick schemes. It’s usually a trick to make them rich, not you.
- It’s an overwhelming time in the world so your nervous system might be in overdrive, which isn’t ideal for good decision-making on your own.
What helps: A mentor or business coach can help you make informed, calm decisions.
- That same overwhelm is affecting your potential audience too, so they’re not in their best clarity either. They might have trouble deciding to invest in your services.
What helps: You can create offerings and client attraction methods that help with calm clarity, and invite them to start small.
- There are a lot of others starting businesses too. And a lot of “noise” online pulling people’s attention.
What helps: You can choose a narrow, clear niche. Then your people can find you more easily.
- In-person networking has gotten harder and yet it can be a valuable way to grow your referral network.
What helps: Valuable one-to-one networking is still important and doable. Learn about what actually works. (Networking tips for introverts.)
- It’s hard to know what’s in store in the coming years. (Hmm, that was always true.)
What helps: Acceptance of what is, and be willing to pivot as you go.
That can sound pretty grim, huh? From my perspective, there are ways around all of that, if you bring some wisdom, calming methods, determination, and support with you. Many people are making it work, even now.
The following advantages can help offset those downsides.
😎 Advantages to Starting a Business Now
When I first started my business over a decade ago, most of these advantages were not yet true, and I wish they had been.
✓ Remote work advantages:
- More people are used to accessing online services, which means it’s even easier to offer services to people in any location, right from your home.
- With less dependence on an office location or travel to see clients, you can save a lot of time and expenses.
✓ Better online business software:
- There are many excellent online business software services to help — for virtual meetings, hosting online courses, managing your contacts and projects, all-in-one options, and more.
- There are better-than-ever, do-it-yourself website options like Squarespace. (You can also get help to use these.)
✓ More useful knowledge at your fingertips:
- There are lots of good quality and affordable online courses to learn business skills, such as how to create online courses, or how to use YouTube for marketing.
- With questions that arise about software, or how to do almost anything, you can usually find a good starting place by searching YouTube.
- There’s a lot more knowledge available about what works for social media marketing or not. (By the way, social media is not necessary for solopreneurs.)
✓ Easier on the wallet:
- There are some good options to do freelancing to fill some income gaps while starting up. For example: How to Find Freelance Writing Work.
- The importance of a college degree is not as important as it once was. There is well-paid work available for many things you can learn from more brief training programs. (Example: project management training.)
- The U.S. has more income-based health insurance options, which is a big help during the early lean years.
✓ More possibilities to fit who you are:
- There are a lot of needs out there and people are hungry to connect with someone who cares. There are bound to be some needs you can help to fulfill.
- To avoid all the noise in the market, you can deeply specialize in something very narrow, and thus you can go for what you really want to do and what you already know how to do well. The more specific to your talents and interests, the better. And that makes it easier and more fun for you! (Examples of combining multiple interests to make it more “you.”)
- More people get it that introverts have a lot to offer in business and that starting a business is not just for extroverts. So those kinds of doubts can quiet down. ☻
✓ More customized support and connections available:
- There are business coaches and business communities of all different kinds, and typically available online so you can usually find what you want. No need to force yourself to accept something that isn’t a fit. (Example: small group communities for solopreneurs who are introverts or highly sensitive people.)
- There are professional associations for nearly any field and that’s a great way to learn from others who know the ropes.
- Conferences that were once so far away and expensive to attend are now more available online, making this valuable learning opportunity more accessible.
- There are all kinds of virtual assistants you can call to help, from event planning, to social media, to software setup.
✓ Simple ways to shine in the market:
- Many new business owners try to rely on social media for visibility (which is often not enough), but if you focus on real-life connections, including one-to-one Zoom chats, it can help you rise above the noise and enjoy networking more.
- While so many services have moved online, some people are craving more in-person connections, so offering in-person workshops and services could help you stand out.
How does it all stack up for you? ⚖️
So that’s what I’ve got for adding to your pros and cons list if you’re a potential solopreneur in the U.S. I welcome hearing more for my list in the comments below. I also welcome your questions in the comments.
There are SO many other factors to consider in terms of whether now is the time for YOU. It really depends on your situation, what business you’re considering, and many other factors.
In my course, Bridge to Self‑employment, one of the units is how to know if your idea will work. That’s a key question, and it’s not a simple answer without digging into the specifics.
I’ve collected some other things that might help you at this juncture in the Related section below.