In 2012 13% of adults in the U.S. were part of startups according to Forbes. In 2015 Inc.Com determined there were 27 million entrepreneurs in the U.S.; a record high. Among these hopeful business folks are a special breed of optimistic and driven souls, the solopreneurs. Solopreneurs are entrepreneurs who, in lieu of working with a partner or team, choose to go it alone. That often means they leave their stable day jobs to pursue a dream, side hustle, or new idea all by themselves. If you are a solopreneur or want to become one, keep these tips and strategies in mind to keep your head and business afloat.
- Have a Plan
Business plans aren’t just for the traditional brick and mortar shops you see. Take time, wherever you are in your solopreneur journey, and map out a business plan for your venture. What you think will work and what actually needs to happen may turn out to be different things, but at least having a business plan will help you to stay aware of what your goals are and you’ll be able to see how much you’ve deviated and can determine if the reasons why are just.
- Become a Time Management Wizard
Planning extends past the need to have an idea of what your business goals are. You’ll also need to micromanage yourself some to ensure you stay productive. Many entrepreneurs (many of them solo) rely on planners to keep them grounded, and on track. My favorite digital calendar/app is Google Calendar (reminders and color coding makes my world go round), but generally speaking I am pretty old school and use a paper planner. I’d highly recommend checking out the reviews on planners catered towards businesses/entrepreneurs, and see what jives with your goals and needs.
- 3Ps: Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize!
Just because the bulk of your time could be spent answering email doesn’t mean it When you have time and resources to dedicate to client work – do! When you need to devote time to working on your business rather than working for your business, do! If you don’t, no one else will.
- Recognize When You Need Help
There will inevitably come a time when you can no longer handle everything by yourself. When that time comes, be prepared to outsource some of the tasks you are not best suited for, do not like doing, or procrastinate on. Virtual assistants, copy writers like myself, and social media managers can save your sanity as well as your time. It may be difficult to relax the reigns, but keep in mind that you only have so many hours in your day and that you’ll only limit your growth by insisting on doing every mundane task yourself.
- Be Better Than You Were Yesterday
A mistake we all are prone to making in fitness, business, and life is comparing ourselves with other people. We lose touch with the fact that X has been in business for Y years to get to where they are now; we only see the vacation on the beach. We fail to remember that Z has been a fitness competitor for B years and instead only notice the six pack abs. We forget our sister in law was eating Ramen noodles on her parents’ couch for the year or so after she graduated law school – we just see her announcements about the law firm she recently made partner at. When you focus on your plan and how much progress you’re making, you’ll find yourself in higher spirits and more productive than if you spend your time surveying the success of other people.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, but Don’t Forget to Celebrate It, Either
A single setback or lost client won’t sink your business, but failing to acknowledge your wins might! It is easy to get hung up on the negatives, which is why celebrating your victories is essential. We’ve all seen those Pinterest board ideas for writing positive things that happen on slips of paper, dumping them out and reviewing them on New Years’ Eve to remember all the good things that have happened during the year. If yearly is too infrequent, quarterly and monthly “good thing” or “success” jars are just as effective. (I personally prefer to make lists, but the jar idea has proven enjoyable for other folks.)
Need more tips on how to rock out at solo entrepreneur life? Let me know! Not all of the advice I’ve gained over the years made it into this article, and I’d love to share more tips if there’s interest.