Working solo is not just a miniaturized version of what we do when working for a big company.
It is not even a scaled down version of what small businesses with employees do. Growing a small business is usually too much work for just one person.
Working solo requires a slightly different set of rules and strategies in order to allow you to grow income without growing beyond being an army of one.
Making a living as a solopreneur, freelancer, or solo service professional, requires all three of these essential elements:
- Leverage: Create online income sources that are not directly tied to your physical time or face-to-face contact.
- Niche: Choose a narrower focus – one market, one distribution channel, one lead generation strategy. Do one thing well.
- Collaborators: Get the reliable feedback and help of collaborators from business mentors to a virtual assistant.
If you don’t have all three of these in place, you will be at least one leg short of a stool.
When you ‘work solo’ you can be thrown off balance when just
one of these three is missing in your solo business.
The Solopreneur Says:
“It’s Lonely at the Top”
+Leverage | +Niche | – Collaborators
- Quality Suffers
- Confidence Wanes
- Momentum is Lost
You’re a successful “solopreneur.” You have the resources to reach your chosen audience. You’ve chosen an audience that’s narrow enough that you can feasibly create the systems and materials to reach them with a message they can relate to.
But because you lack feedback and support it can be difficult for you to know if you’re too close to it all to be objective. You start to second guess yourself.
As decisions become more difficult you find yourself seeking relief from the weight of this strategic complexity. You spend more time doing the menial, simple tasks that you should probably be outsourcing for $10/hr.
This slows you down to the point that your fixed costs start to consume more of your income than they should and you have trouble making enough money to make this all worth it.
The Freelancer says:
“This is way too much work!”
– Leverage | +Niche | +Collaborators
- Stress Builds
- Incomes is Limited
- Stability is Elusive
You have a sound marketing strategy that you can manage as a solo business. You know who you are trying to reach and because of that your message is more focused and persuasive.
You also have found the right people to help you execute your plan in a way that helps you make smart business decisions and avoid the low level tasks that could consume your valuable and limited time.
But, like most freelancers and Professional Service Providers you are still stuck in the dollars-to-hours trap and have no additional sources of passive income, you can never find enough time to step back and improve your business. You spend all your time working IN your business, and have no time to work ON your business.
You may be able to cover expenses as long as you are constantly focused on prospecting, selling and delivering, but you have no where to go if you want to grow your business and still stay solo. And, you will be hard pressed to survive a dry spell.
The Service Professional Says:
“Why isn’t anyone buying?”
+Leverage | – Niche | +Collaborators
- Resources are Spread Thin
- The Message is Diluted
- Your Sales Remain Low
You have created a lean and efficient business. You have multiple streams of income that allow you to step back and manage your business and your collaborators.
You have valuable input from trusted mentors and affordable support from skilled specialists to help your business run smoothly.
However, those great resources and that extra income are being asked to do too much. By not focusing on a narrow market, you are spreading yourself and your resources too thin.
You try to economize by using the same messages, sales materials, and delivery systems for a broad cross section of your potential customers, but this just dilutes your message, which actually ends up reducing your sales and your income.
The Opportunities of Solopreneurship
If you want more freedom over your work and time, you may be a soloist at heart. With the internet and technology available to us all, it is more possible than ever to follow your dreams and achieve work freedom if you learn and apply the foundational principles of the 21st century ‘solopreneur.’
When you work ‘solo’ you have more limitations on your time and resources than when you work in a company with leaders, investors, and support staff.
You personally have the same number of hours per week as anyone. But, as a solo business owner, freelancer, or solo service provider, you are responsible for all the work – from the $8hr admin tasks to the $100/hr leadership decisions, from sourcing vendors to closing sales to writing press releases.
Even if you have the capital to outsource many of these tasks, you may not want to.
Part of the reason many people ‘go solo’ is so that they can retain more control over doing work they love, not to become a project manager who is simply managing a team of outsourced help.
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Are you working solo now? How is it working for you? Tell us what you think of these three principles. Are they working for you? Are there others that you think we have missed in this top three? We’d love to hear what you think.
Feel free to share the TransformNation.com Working Solo Venn Diagram with anyone you like. (A link back to us would be appreciated.)