7 Tips for Successful Solopreneurship

Jul 23, 2019 | General

7 Tips for Successful Solopreneurship

Today’s solopreneurs – people who go into business for themselves, by themselves – tend toward two very different ends of the age spectrum. Many millennials appreciate the freedom and creativity solopreneurship provides – and many older people, including the newly retired, enjoy the exact same benefits!

Here are seven things to think about if you are among the 25% of working Americans* who are solopreneurs:

  1.  Answer the big What and Why questions. It’s important to really spend time understanding what you want to do and why you want to do it. Money and freedom are often the top two answers but think about it a bit more deeply. Do you want to make an impact in a certain industry? Are you looking to start a charitable organization? Do you want to stay a “solopreneur” or do you eventually want to build a small business with regular employees on staff? Your “why” may impact your “what” so it’s important to think about them together.

  2. Understand your financial situation and clearly understand the costs involved in running your business. What hourly pay rate do you want to be able to clear for yourself? Remember you will be paying double social security (unless you are in a specific category of retirement), and you won’t get some of the standard full-time corporate benefits, such as health & dental insurance and 401K matches. There will be at least some cost to starting and running your business – even an online-based business needs some sort of CRM system to store customer or client data and process payments. You’ll also likely want to get financial, tax or legal advice about when to switch from independent contractor to small business owner, even if you are still your only “employee.”

  3. Keep close track of your business finances. What is the actual cost to bring in a client or make a product sale? How long does it take? What is your cost of goods sold (COGS)? Even if you aren’t paying employees or creating a physical product, you have to factor in the cost of your time, your CRM, your internet and phone service, travel, even your “rent” for your home office should be included as part of your costs. The biggest mistake many solopreneurs make is not charging enough for their product or service to cover their total expenses.

  4. Find emotional and business networking support. Starting your own business is stressful. You can find many networking groups aimed at solopreneurs and small businesses, as well as industry-specific organizations. Perhaps you want to include in your expense budget attendance at a conference or two each year, where you can get new ideas and find sounding boards for your own.The Small Business Administration  also has many online training resources and sponsors local get-togethers for business owners.

  5. Do the hard stuff first. Many people fall into the trap of doing what’s “easy” – answering email, promoting themselves on social media, creating beautiful graphics – but they avoid the hard stuff. These are almost always the most income-producing tasks, and often involve in-person contact on the phone or face-to-face. This is where a CRM that has a sales management module, even a simple one, can really help. You can create tasks that need to be completed to move clients and customers toward purchasing your product or service, and those can automatically be placed on your calendar so you know what needs to be done each day.

  6.  Work hard, play as needed. The biggest surprise for many solopreneurs (and small business owners as well) is how much time it takes to run their business, especially in the beginning. Get an early start every day, create a schedule that includes income-producing activities first and foremost, and then schedule in some downtime. Even if you love your work, relentlessly pushing yourself through 12+ hour days will get old fast, and often has the questionable “bonus” of illness that forces you into some quiet time!

  7. Completion is key, perfection can wait. Many solopreneurs are highly motivated, creative, and like to “get it right,” especially with their promotional campaigns. This tendency toward perfection is often their Achilles’ heel. Focus too much on the “perfect” email campaign, the “perfect” brochure, the “perfect” product description, and you’ll find it takes way too long to get promotions out the door. And the longer your promotions take to go out, the longer you’ll be waiting for sales to happen. Set yourself very firm deadlines for your promotions, stick to them, and get it done!

  8. Get help. Being a solopreneur does not mean you have to do absolutely everything by yourself. As your networking circle grows, you’ll find other solopreneurs who can offer you the services you need, such as graphics, social media management, tax preparation, etc. How much should you spend? Think about how much money you are “paying” yourself, and how much time (and frustration) it takes you to complete some of the tasks that are not in your wheelhouse. Remember also that it will likely take an expert less time to perform these activities. Pay someone the same or less to do those tasks, and spend your time focused on income-producing business activities.

Are you ready?

If you’re ready to kick off your new career as a solopreneur, talk to us at AspenTech CRM. We can get you started with a system that can grow with you. Give us a call today!

*MBO Partners latest State of Independence in America report found that more than 41 million American workers, 1/4th of the workforce, are solopreneurs.7 Tips for Successful Solopreneurship

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