Are you a self-employed person who sets his or her own hours, employs no other people, and has no desire to sell their business? Yes? Well then welcome to solopreneurship!
Success may mean different things for different businesses. But one thing is for certain. We all crave it. For the solopreneur, whose business and work is intertwined with their identity and lifestyle, it is especially important. The tips below will help you develop a mindset and habits essential to what your success as a solopreneur.
Don't Procrastinate. Just Start
You will more than likely come up with a dozen reasons to justify why now is just not the right time. The ugly truth? There is no right time. If you wait until your plan, product, or idea is perfect to start, you’ll never start. However if you just start, no matter how raw or imperfect, you will have something to perfect over time. This is why one of our mottos is: "we iterate and illustrate". You will more than likely have success by developing iterations, than by resting on your laurels. But iterations can only happen after you take that first dive.
Worst Case Scenarios are to be Embraced
There are a lot of unknowns where starting a new business, and that too as a solopreneur; not knowing whether you’ll be successful, whether your products will click with consumers, what steps you’ll need to take, and so many other negative thoughts. When presented with uncertainty, you are bound to plunge into a sea of what ifs and worst case scenarios. the problem is that this fear can easily paralyze your progress. Let's be honest here; you can’t stop your imagination from generating the worst case scenarios situations. To try and curb a natural phenomenon through practices like mindfulness may work, but they are only temporary solutions. Instead, embrace it. Let your mind wander to the worst case scenario, and you’ll realize that it’s not all that bad. If you fail, is it the end of the world? No. You’ll simply have to reroute and adjust. We didn't knock it out of the ball park with our very first product either. Yes, there are many small businesses out there which get it right in their first try and they go viral with their first product release. But there are even more businesses out there who are constantly reinventing themselves to find the right pulse, and there is no shame in that. Embrace the worst case case scenarios and plan for them; just don't let them consume you.
Skills on the Side
There will always be a set of fundamental and complementary skills that are relevant to your business. That could mean developing some photography skills, if you want Instagram to be your main source of income. It could mean understanding videography, if YouTube will be you main source of income. Yes, it’s an investment of time and effort, but it will ultimately be an important catalyst to your success. Invest in educating and improving yourself as a professional. This could include widening your knowledge of SEO and SEM, understanding Google Analytics, learning new auto-posting apps like Later or Hootsuite.
Consistency is Key
Ups and downs. Success and failure. It is all a part of solopreneurship. The only constant, other than change, is consistency. Success isn’t a perpetually upward line on a graph. What keeps that line progressing upward overall is consistent effort. It is through consistency that you can detect patterns and identify adjustments.
Even if you don't consider yourself an organised person, solopreneurship will make you one. There is nothing worse for a solopreneur than to wake up daily and achieve tasks as they fall into your lap. While planning your Instagram and Facebook posts in advance may not seem important or worth your time, when you do schedule them out, you will thank yourself for the amount of time you have freed up. The importance of scheduling primarily is to be able to get certain tasks out of the way. If you are doing every little task, every single day, you will tire easily. Even if it is something as simple as sticking return address labels to envelopes, schedule it out. There are multiple apps out there that you can use to plan out your weeks. We personally love to use digital sticky notes where we have a list of daily activities categorized by the type of work. For example, we have a list of social media activities and a list of website update activities, that we tick off as we complete them. You can even make a Things to Do list on Google Docs.
Break to Breathe
While a go go go attitude may seem like a sure shot way to ultimate success, it is in fact the fastest route to crashing and burning. One of the best ways to put a screeching halt on all business progress is by burning yourself out. You don’t need to take days or weeks off, but be sure that when you do achieve milestones, you take a step back to celebrate your hard work.