Solopreneurs: Who Minds the Store When You’re Too Sick?

by Pamela on October 26, 2009

When You’re Suffering With a Virus, Does Your Small Business Suffer as Well?

Ok, so I’ve been sick with an upper respiratory virus for what seems like months (it’s actually been 13 days, 4 hours and 27 seconds at post time, but who’s counting?). I haven’t felt like writing articles, I have almost no voice, so coaching has been a challenge, and I basically want to stay in bed and do as little as possible. I haven’t even been Tweeting on Twitter. It’s hard to chirp when you have no voice. Like so many small business owners, I am a ‘solopreneur.’ If I don’t do the work, the work doesn’t get done; period.

Solopreneurs work alone, and we run our businesses entirely on our own. We hire contractors when necessary, but the buck stops with us. Depending on what kind of small business you have, solopreneurs are responsible for sales, marketing, administration, accounting, customer satisfaction, HR, fulfillment, and much more. There are many advantages to being our own boss, and there are times that it’s a real challenge. We have to be good at everything that I just mentioned or at least be able to fake it when necessary. And, when we fall ill, there is no one to help pick up the slack while we recover.

President Obama has just declared a national state of emergency because if the H1N1 virus, so we know that there is plenty of opportunity for germs to infect us or our loved ones over the coming months. Do you have a contingency plan for your small business? When we were young, if we were too sick to go to school, our best friend would bring our homework to us so we wouldn’t fall behind. If we worked for a company and had to call in sick, we could rely on a co-worker or even our boss to pitch in and do the essential tasks in our absence. Even entrepreneurs often have someone on staff to hold down the fort. Solopreneurs are in a unique position: our small business succeeds or fails based on the time WE put into it.

As I’ve already mentioned, as a solopreneur, if I don’t do the work, it won’t get done. With all the nasty viruses out there right now, I chose to focus on getting better and I put work on the sideline as much as possible. Of course, the beauty of coaching is that it’s done over the phone, so I was usually able to make my calls. As long as my head was clear enough to do my job and provide value to my clients, then I kept my appointments. Have I done any marketing for new business in 13 days, 5 hours and 23 minutes? Not so much. Something had to give. You have to take the bad with the good. I’m a solopreneur. I set my own hours and I have freedom, and all freedom comes with a price.

What do you do when you’re sick? Do you take time off to try to get better, push yourself to keep up your normal pace, or do you fall somewhere in the middle?

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