Mandy Nicholson

The Creative Genius Corner

Lessons, musings and advice from the author of ‘The Life I Won’

The problem with being a solopreneur

More of us are setting up our own dream business and a high percentage of those are online. In fact, the online space is essential even for a bricks and mortar business.


Social media has changed the way we do business in general, affording us the luxury of working from our own homes. What an amazing gift, the ability to work from home and make money!


The reality is that it’s bloody hard work and very lonely.


When the solopreneur starts to realise that there are hidden costs and nobody to help them, they get scared and start to pull back or live small. This is a mistake and the reason why so many businesses fail.


Today I’m sharing the key points to consider before you even think about opening your business and becoming a sole trader, because I don’t want you to fail.


Before you do anything, research!

Has anybody done what you want to do before? If they have, who is really successful at it? This is hard to find out, because lots of people are ‘apparently’ successful at what they do because they are great on social media, but not necessarily ‘really’ good at what they do.


Look for social proof, testimonials, recommendations and a website or platform that collects your data. This is a good indicator that people are respected for what they do and know what they are doing. Don’t get nervous if lots of people do what you are planning or something similar, it probably means that it is a big market and there will be room for you to make money there. Hold your nerve, because nobody has done it like you can.


Accept that you NEED to invest in your business

If you are the business, then you must become the best version of yourself in order to be the business. You need to fill your knowledge gaps and be ‘fit for business’. You will need to invest in one or more tech platforms in order to reach your audience fully and obtain their data. It is pointless building a network whom you can only contact via social media.


E-mail is a warmer and more personal way to engage your audience and you will need a list. Many platforms are free at basic level or offer free trial periods, you must be savvy with what you need and your investments. Have a plan.


Be a leader for yourself

When you start out and there is only you, it’s damn lonely. Nobody to talk to that ‘gets you’ or to brainstorm with. Nobody to tell you that your ideas are lousy or good. Nobody to keep you on time and to plan. You have to be truly focused in order to stop yourself from time wasting, distraction to ‘shiny object syndrome’ the downfall of so many entrepreneurs, or procrastination.


You have to be the leader and the doer, the ‘chief everything officer’ so that one day you can be the CEO. You will be working long days for no pay. You will be terrified and exhilarated. You will want to give up one minute and want to run at a hundred miles an hour the next. All of this is normal as a solopreneur, you won’t be solo forever so keep going.


When you are in the process of building, document your ‘how-to’

Your job when you start is to figure it all out, become the master of the first thing then document how you became the master and what it takes, then master the next thing. If you approach business in this way, then you are writing your own operations manual. When you start to make money and you need help, you will already have the training ready for your new hire! Then you can become less of a solopreneur and start to grow into CEO.


The power of networking

Your network is your net worth, FACT. It is said that you are the sum of the people that you surround yourself with and its true. If you want to be successful, first know what success looks like to you and then find your people. Don’t be afraid to connect with them, successful people are usually happy to connect and share their knowledge through their social media posts.


Get networking in your diary, find out where your ideal client hangs out and schedule showing up there with your product, service or wisdom. ALWAYS check the rules and don’t break them because if you find your ideal client and then can’t speak to them, you have wasted your time and missed an opportunity.


Solopreneurship is a lonely place with unexpected twists and turns, but the rewards on the other side can be lifechanging. Go in ‘eyes wide open’ and be prepared for ups and downs (lots of downs) then be prepared to learn and grow and you won’t go far wrong.


Be honest with yourself about your skill gaps and how to fill them and you will do just fine. Seek out methods and tips from people who have already done it. Most importantly and finally from me today, use your most powerful manifestation tool – ask questions!

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