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Life’s not always a beach for soloists

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 | By Linnet Hunter

Last week the sun was out and the air was shining.


My colleague and I took a Claytons break (the kind you have when you say you are having time off but talk about work the whole time) and headed to the beach for our discussion.


Yes, one of the pluses of being your own boss is just this kind of thing. But there are also minuses and then there are the unexpected or interesting aspects to working alone.


I asked three solo operators to name their pluses and minuses.




Here’s what Liz Atkinson, Director of blue group marketing, Anthony, the owner of Carter’s Smash Repairs, and Trent Beaton, who travels between small towns and a few different clinics practicing as a myotherapist, had to say:


The plus side…


Liz: Without doubt, the best things about being solo are probably also the worst. I have the opportunity to work on a broad range of projects and I meet an enormous variety of people.


Anthony: Showing the people who put you down when you were at school what you have done.


Trent: Work is always for yourself and directed at where you want to get to. That means no wasted time on other people’s agendas.


And the minus…


Liz: I think the most challenging aspects of working solo are the lack of control I have over my workflow and the randomness of the work.


I miss working on the big, meaty projects that enable me to make a real difference. And I really miss not having a ready source of intelligent, creative people to bounce ideas off – talking to myself has its limits!


Anthony: Worrying about money and having to do all the paperwork. And cashflow is always on my mind.


Trent: Initially the insecurity of income was a worry but this got less as I became more confident and work was always there.


The interesting things… 


Liz: I think the biggest surprise has been that my work life and private life are more separate than they ever were when I worked in corporate life.


I think that is partly due to a greater awareness of client confidentiality and the fact that I work for a number of different clients, not just the one employer, so there is less of a feeling of ownership.


Anthony: Seeing my name above the door every day when I come to work.


Trent: The diversity of clients means I feel more secure than some people who have a job might.