New year, new goals! If you’re ready to launch your side hustle or go full force as a solopreneur, understanding your personality and your imperfections may help you get there that much faster. Solopreneurs are people who are following their passions to launch a new business or run a venture on their own. Unlike an entrepreneur who typically hires and manages a team, solopreneurs work on almost all aspects of their business on their own.
As a career coach that works with many Gen Z and Millennial solopreneurs and job seekers, I’ve identified some of the frequent blind spots for each Enneagram type, including pro tips on how to solve them, so you can navigate the road to entrepreneurship—and the roadblocks that may come into view—with total success.
Type 1: The Perfectionist
You strive to do things well and avoid making mistakes at all costs. You hold yourself to the highest standard and you thrive when everything in your life is tidy and organized. In work, every detail is well-thought-out and you’re a stickler for getting something done right, and not just checking it off your list.
You’re great at recognizing how you can improve. That level of self-actualization comes in handy for building a business, but you’re also the type of person who can be a bit rigid in decision-making and planning. For you, it might be hard to stay on track and complete tasks, especially if they don’t pass your flawless test.
To launch your own business, you need to be comfortable with making mistakes and releasing products or services that are 80% done versus 100% complete. Working with many of those launching new ventures or startups, my advice is to start small and try learning as you go. Launch something that’s nearly finished, get some feedback on it and then iterate until it reaches the 100% mark. Remember, failures and mistakes are necessary to grow and thrive.
Type 2: The Giver
So approachable, so kind! You are highly empathetic and always put the needs of others before your own. This makes you a great team player and an even better friend. Because of this, your dream job may involve elevating and lifting people up, like a coach or therapist.
In solopreneurship, time is a scarce resource. Since you’re more inclined to spend your days helping your community, you’ll need to get in the habit of saying “no” starting now. This won’t be easy—you enjoy lending a hand just as much as the sense of approval that comes with it. However, putting the needs of anyone else before your own can be detrimental to achieving your business goals.
Before offering assistance, ask yourself “Does this person really need my help?” or “Will helping this person take time away from my passion project?” If you answer no and yes, then you, dear Giver, might want to rethink your approach. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of burning out—and fast!
Type 3: The Achiever
You are busy, always on the go and have a never-ending list of accomplishments under your belt. You love getting things done but you hate wasting time. As an Achiever, you are completely goal-driven, so creating a solo business is simply second nature to you.
When you thrive on recognition, accolades and, frankly, being the best, you might be a tad competitive. This is where being overly ambitious can get a bit murky. As an Achiever, your energy might be so focused on one-upping your competitors that your business no longer makes sense for your customers and your goals.
Block the noise and focus on what you want to achieve and accomplish versus comparing yourself to others. The bright side? You’ll have more time and space to focus on better serving your target audience while earning your honors in entrepreneurship.
Type 4: The Individualist
You’re authentic, creative, and original—this is awesome! You’ll have a lot to offer as a solopreneur. You express yourself quite easily and, at your best, you have the potential to provoke thought through your dynamic talents.
Individualists may have characteristics that make them feel a sense of emptiness or put them in a depressive state. They can become moody, start to spiral and fall into self-destructing behaviors, like wanting to give up before they’ve even achieved their goals. As solopreneurs, these tendencies are something an Individualist needs to watch out for.
Be proactive and try joining a community of like-minded individuals who will keep you motivated and energized throughout the process. You may want to consider finding an accountability partner so when you start to feel down, your point person is there to help you come out on the other side.
Type 5: The Investigator
Freedom and autonomy are your jam and you’re someone who knows how to set clear boundaries between work, family and friends. Well done! All of these traits will fuel your desire for solopreneurship. Bonus: As someone who is highly inquisitive and generally has a deep understanding of many areas of interest, you’re well-positioned to become a thought leader in your space. Pretty cool, right?
Sometimes being around others can overwhelm you, but closing yourself off and having tunnel vision can result in losing your sense of reality. As an Investigator in the pursuit of solopreneurship, you might think this is your chance to escape conference rooms and Zoom calls. I hate to break it to you, but customers (people) make a business and as you grow you’ll hire employees (more people). Simply put, working with others, and being open to feedback, is a big part of entrepreneurship.
If you’re serious about your business, consider working with a career coach to help you work through this obstacle. The sooner you’re able to open yourself up to others, and their feedback, the stronger you’ll become as a business owner. As an Investigator, it’s important to have a deep respect for your coach and to ensure they’re on the same intellectual level as you. Otherwise, you might write them off too!
Type 6: The Skeptic
Your mantra? Always be prepared. You can spot issues from a mile away and there’s not a single scenario you haven’t thought extensively through. You’re also incredibly dependable and love being part of a close-knit group and team.
As a business owner, risks and uncertainty are par for the course. As a Skeptic, your instinct is to stay away from twists and turns and you already have enough to worry about as it is. Nevertheless, you’re determined to make your business a reality, so what’s an anxious solopreneur to do?
First, determine the level of risk. How bold is the move? What’s the worst that can happen? If the worst thing is that you’ll end up exactly where you are now, that’s a good indicator this is a calculated risk. Since you likely socialize within a tight circle, partner up with your most trusted companion to use them as a sounding board. When you’re feeling nervous about what you’re creating, ask your friend to calm your nerves—you might be building things up way more in your head than what’s valid.
Type 7: The Enthusiast
Constantly throwing yourself into everything life has to offer, you have an endless amount of energy and a wide range of interests. You’re open-minded, imaginative and likely have many hidden or obvious talents. Your optimism makes you a standout solopreneur, too!
As an Enthusiast, you’re constantly looking for adventure and love the adrenaline rush of a new project, but sometimes you take on too much and lose interest too quickly. Because you love the “high” of working on something new, it may cause you to be kind of flighty. Sure, you can handle the chaotic nature of being a solopreneur, but keep in mind that building a business is filled with many “highs” and some monotonous lows.
When building your business, make sure it’s something you’re deeply passionate about and that you’ve felt this way for a long, long time. If you get bored easily, it’s important to launch a labor of love. If your work can hold space in your heart and your wandering mind, you should be able to survive the ups and downs of solopreneurship without veering off course.
Type 8: The Challenger
As a natural-born leader, you desire power and exude confidence. Your independence and competence are just a few of the personality traits that make you an outstanding solopreneur.
But you’re also a bit stubborn and have the potential to be somewhat tyrannical to avoid showing vulnerability. Challengers also become cold to those who question their motives or what they stand for. The reality is that flexibility and being a bit vulnerable goes a long way as a solopreneur. Plus, you’ll need to start getting comfortable with feedback for your business to grow.
Similar to their Investigator friends, the Challenger could benefit from working with a business or career coach right off the bat to help them navigate their vulnerabilities and start getting comfortable with feedback. If you find a coach that you deeply respect, and knows how to push back when your bossy tendencies come into play, this will help you reach success at a faster rate. As you start to achieve that success, bring on people that you trust to work with you. If you’re willing to let go of control of some aspects of your work, then you can focus on your strengths so you can continue to grow your business.
Type 9: The Peacemaker
Calm, collected and a skilled mediator, you love bringing people together and are typically known as the glue of the group. Being kind and helpful is how you keep your self-esteem high and you’re great in basically every social situation.
As someone who gravitates toward the familiar, getting out of your comfort zone can seem daunting at times. But when launching a business, getting out of your comfort zone is when things actually start to happen! You’ll have to challenge yourself to get a bit uncomfortable at times and also push back on your desire to procrastinate on harder tasks or problem-solving. Unforeseeable issues constantly come up with entrepreneurship!
As a Peacemaker, the best thing you can do is get organized, but start small. Each week, create a schedule for yourself. From there, make a to-do list for each day. Your main goal is to check off the hardest tasks in the beginning of the week and complete the lower priority tasks by the end of the week. As you continue this habit, you’ll eventually start expanding and planning for two weeks, then three and so on in advance.