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I’ve balked at calling myself an entrepreneur for a number of reasons. But then I came across this wonderful distinction between solopreneur and entrepreneur who works alone and realised, ‘Hey! This shoe fits!’ It’s quite humbling to say that I’ve learnt more about solopreneur challenges in the last six months than I have in the last 11 years as a blogger.
If, by chance, you too are a solopreneur, here are some tips that I can share from personal experience. Before we dive into the tips, I want you to know that being a solopreneur takes two important qualities: Belief in your business and tons of patience. Without these, you might as well pack it up right now.
1. Find your rhythm
If you are also a mother like I am, let me admit that it is actually quite challenging to balance the needs of a family as well as finding the passion to work on your business. And that’s why the concept of work-life balance is always a bit skewed. Why?
Because my schedule is different from yours. Even if we work the exact same jobs, we don’t have the same kids, the same responsibilities or the same chores to do every day, right? And all of this gets exponentially tougher if you add more kids and/or ailing parents to the mix.
So the one thing that worked for me was finding MY rhythm. That’s why it’s important to sit down and chart your time for the day, week and month. That way you will know what is non-negotiable, what’s a priority and what can be done later.
Check out my post: 5 Tips for working from Home
It’s that easy and that difficult. 🙂
2. Block Time Diligently
The one thing I had to do once I launched my own business was to be brutal in blocking of my time. In the early days of the launch, I was so heady with excitement and overdid everything possible.
The result? I was burnt out, exhausted and ready to give up within 2 months of launching. Once I sat down and started time tracking and blocking slots of the day for different tasks, things became much smoother!
Read my tips on Time Blocking and work out a schedule for yourself.
3. Make Time for Leisure
Do you know the number one cause of burnout for solo entrepreneurs? Not making time to unwind. We’re so obsessed with making things work, gaining clients, selling our products that we use every pocket of time available to work on the business.
This is detrimental to your health as well as the business. That’s why I started putting leisure time on the calendar! That’s right. I now actually write down things like, ‘Watch an episode of that TV show’, ‘Read a book’ and ‘Listen to some music’. Once it’s written down, you are more likely to make the decision to consciously switch off.
The down time is excellent for your brain and you come back to tasks with a renewed sense of purpose.
4. Handling Multiple Roles
Being a solopreneur is a tough ask because you are simultaneously all of the following: Creator, Administrator, Marketing Head, Graphic Designer, Virtual Assistant, Trainer, Learner and Brand Strategist.
That’s doing the work of 8 people all at once!
That is why it is important to take stock of what you want to do at the beginning of each week and month. Evaluate what role will help you work towards your goals in the smartest way possible.
Then, chart out different days for different tasks. For instance, if you find that you get into flow when it comes to writing, try and write 3 posts on the same day. On the second day, create graphics for all 3 posts. On Day 3, create a social media schedule for marketing your content.
The key? Prioritise and Optimise.
Don’t be everywhere at once. It causes your attention to be pulled in multiple directions and your business never gets time to take off.
Once you’ve found which channels convert the best, spend more time both scheduling content and understanding what the audience wants.
6. Develop a Growth Mindset
This was the thing that held me back the most, especially because I spent six months worrying about what people thought about me. I’ve been a blogger for 11 years and for me to make the shift from hobby blogger to solopreneur was a BIG leap.
It meant that I’d have to completely re-think my approach to blogging. I’d have to consider the idea of monetizing the blog. I thought about re-branding but never took the plunge until August this year. I also worried incessantly about the sly references to new features I’d introduced on the site.
All of this was holding me back until something happened. My husband told me, ‘Unless you think like a businesswoman, you will never be one.’
That stopped me in my tracks. He was right! I couldn’t do things the way I had always done, because my focus had shifted. I didn’t have to change the way I wrote, but I was changing the direction of my blog into a business. Once I understood that and let the shackles fall off, I was able to dive into the business with renewed faith and confidence.
7. Be ready to invest in your business
In order to make money, you have to spend money. I know how paradoxical that sounds, but it’s the truth.
I’ve always been the ‘do-it-all’ type of person. This meant that I was spending hours and hours on research and self-study instead of investing in a course/courses that would help me reach my SMART goals. I finally took the plunge and bought a wonderful Bundle of courses last month. (More on that next week).
Similarly, the second thing you have to invest is time in your business. Without spending time to understand what works and what doesn’t, you will stagnate. You can’t just create content and hope for it to work. No, you have to create content that will drive clients to your business. That takes time.
That, my friends, is how I realised and overcame my challenges as a solopreneur. I know the road ahead is rocky but it’s exciting. As the weeks and months unfold, it’s time for me to keep taking stock and hey, I’ll be back in another six months with an update.
Pin image courtesy Shutterstock; All other images courtesy Unsplash
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