On Solo Entrepreneurship and Euchre
🕓 Oct 8th 2013
If you're a multi-talented individual, others might tell you that you can do it all. Heck, you might very well be telling yourself this too. However, whether you actually should do a venture on your own is a totally different matter. Personally, I struggle with this issue and have ultimately concluded that, no, I shouldn't be trying to do every aspect of a project by myself. Somewhere in that revelation I realized an interesting similarity between my work challenges and one of my favourite card games, Euchre.
"I'm going alone"
In the game of Euchre, 'going alone' is a risky move. You tell your partner to put down their cards while you attempt to take all the 'tricks' in that hand alone for extra team points. You make that decision based on a hunch, but you very rarely have enough information to be absolutely sure. Needless to say, it goes wrong sometimes (you don't get the extra points) and very wrong other times (your opponents win the hand with bonus points for not calling the suit). In my personal Euchre experience, going alone burns more than it pays off. While my perceived success rate might be due to my own lack of expertise in Euchre, it only solidifies the argument I'm making.
Doing it all is risky
Much like in Euchre, choosing to do it all alone in business is a risk. While we might not be given the opportunity to have a teammate in real life the way we are assigned one in Euchre, working alone is like trying to play a 3 player Euchre game going alone every hand against a two players. Sure, it's going to work sometimes, but when it does, it is a meeting luck and preparation. That's not to say that successful solo entrepreneurs are lucky people, because the 'preparation' is an incredibly important part of that equation; it's all the expertise and hard work that gives you a fighting chance, much like a newbie Euchre player would just get destroyed going alone every hand without any sense of strategy.
Teammates curb risk and see things differently
In Euchre, teammates are the lynchpin of a steady game. While you can't actually talk to your teammate in the game, skilled players know how to read each others' plays to extrapolate what the rest of their hand probably looks like. Good teammates work in sync and play around each other's strengths and weaknesses wherever possible in order to secure more tricks for the hand. It can truly be a beautiful synergy and, in my opinion, the most exhilarating part of playing Euchre.
This is exactly what a partner in any business endeavour can be too: someone to complement your weaknesses, see all the challenges ahead from a completely different point of view, celebrate your victories and failures with, and help maintain the team morale.
Cheers to partnership
With that, I raise a glass in toast to partnership and collaboration. It's something I've only done sparsely in the past but every single time it's made what I do better. As I near the beta release of my app Postcard, which I am very proud of, I still can't help but think what it might look like if I built it with someone else's help. As far as my own products go, it has been by far the most isolated from external assistance. Some of the most challenging parts of this endeavour have been constantly trying to play my own devil's advocate, maintaining emotional stability through the highs and lows of the creation process and keeping both design and development moving forward as well as managing my own marketing communications - problems a second set of hands would have helped with tremendously. It is my goal in the future to work with others more and stop trying to go alone. I'm confident it is the key to being my best.