To become a successful soloprenuer and learn the ins-and-outs of starting a company, you might network, attend a conference, read books, attend webinars, join an industry-related organization, take an online course...or even take an improv class.
The bulk of the recommendations above are probably the more common ways soloprenuers can learn more about their industry and how to be a business owner. But improv? While not the most common approach to learning how to become a successful business owner, you might be surprised to know that its actually a fairly useful method.
Improv, short for improvision, is the act of improvising in a theater comedy format. Typically improv is a quick, think-on-your-feet approach to acting. Drawing a parallel from improv to being a successful soloprenuer isn’t as far of a stretch as you may think, and here’s why.
What Improv Can Teach You About Being a Successful Soloprenuer
How to think and react quickly: Improv is all about quick thinking. You may be handed a rubber duck out of the blue, and then need to come up with a scene about what to do with that rubber duck. Or you may be shocked by the twist of a fellow actor on stage — now you must take that plotline and run with it. The business world will throw plenty of interesting and fast-moving things at you, and you'll need to deal with them in a fast but skillful manner. Reacting quickly but strategically is the basis of becoming a successful soloprenuer, and it's a fundamental you'll get plenty of exposure to in improv.
Sharing the stage with others: Sometimes as an improv actor you may be the only one on the stage, but it's more likely you'll be sharing the spotlight with others. They'll be feeding you content, you'll be providing them direction, they'll respond to your lead, you'll react to their personality or character...and the cycle will continue. So too will you have to “share the stage” as a business owner. "Solo" doesn’t always mean working in isolation. If you hire employees, work with clients, collaborate with other soloprenuers or work with vendors, you'll need to learn how to deal with multiple personalities, demands and communication styles. Improv can assist you in adjusting your leadership style accordingly and becoming more comfortable sharing the stage with others as necessary.
Bring a vision to life: An improv actor takes a whimsical thought or idea in their head and brings it to life on stage. As a soloprenuer, you also take a whimsical idea and bring it to life in the form of your business. Improv can help you think creatively about how to take an idea and bring it to life in the best way possible that will make sense for your audience. Will they understand it? Will they react positively? This is an understanding improve can help teach you before launching your business.
There’s no script: In improv, everything is improvised — an idea, object or plot line is thrown at the actor without any warning or preparation. A great actor can skillfully roll with the punches and dominate that act; this is a must-learn for soloprenuers. No matter how prepared or organized you are, your true success depends on how you react to the situations being thrown at you. You will encounter some curveballs, and you'll have to immediately come up with ways to fix them. Improv actors are masters at creative problem solving, and solopreneurs should be too.
Enjoy yourself: As an improv actor, your goal is to get the audience to react (most likely with laughter and enjoyment). In turn, you should also be enjoying yourself. Otherwise, what’s the purpose? As a soloprenuer, you should ask yourself that same question: What’s the purpose if you're not enjoying yourself or having fun while doing it? Owning and operating a business can be super stressful, but it's healthy to laugh at yourself. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes, and find a way to bring simple joys into the daily grind of soloprenuership. That will keep you motivated and passionate about your business. Don't worry — the applause will follow.
Ready to take your improv skills into the entrepreneurship arena and start your own LLC? Incfile can help you file your formation paperwork, and we offer plenty of services to help you efficiently manage your company so you can focus on all the exciting new developments coming your way.
Lisa Crocco is a marketer for an international food manufacturer by day and a freelance writer/marketer for startups and small businesses by night. She's written for outlets like USA Today College, Career Contessa, CloudPeeps and Fairygodboss.