Starting your own business can be a bit of an intimidating task, especially when you think about all the work it entails. But there are many resources to help you get started. If you’ve ever thought about starting your own business, but don’t know where to start or what to do next, OR if you’ve already started but are feeling a little stuck we’re going to cover 4 tips about running a solo business that you can’t afford to miss.
Evaluate Your Skills
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you must find out what skills and strengths you have before jumping into anything. For example, if being on stage would make you want to vomit then maybe public speaking isn’t the best choice for you. Now, I know, you’re sitting there saying, “C’mon Kelli, I already know what I want to do.” And I get that most of you probably already have some sort of direction for your freelance business. There’s something that you’re great at or love to do so you decided to go into business for yourself. But this advice also applies to you. When you’re a one-man (or woman) show you have to be able to maximize your time.
Using the public speaking example from above: If you hate doing it, it’s probably not something that you want to make an important part of the way you market your business. Not good with tech? Online advertising isn’t the #1 avenue you want to market if you’re in DIY mode. You get my point here. Really know where your skills lie. Take advantage of them. Once you get more established you’ll be better able to experiment, practice, and expand your skillset or, hire it out!
Research the Market
Before setting up shop (or website), make sure enough customers are willing to buy your product or service! Conducting market research is the best way to determine if there is a need for your service. Market research can be conducted in several ways from conducting focus group sessions with past customers to using social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, but at this stage, you don’t need an ultra-completed plan. You just want to see if there’s a demand.
You Shouldn’t Go Entirely Solo
I know that defeats the idea of a solo business, right? Wrong. This is about having a mentor to help you reach your potential. It’s also about being accountable. I’m not saying that you need to have someone who will keep an eye on you for the rest of your life, but find somebody who you can meet with at least twice a month so they can see how everything is going. It doesn’t have to be somebody who has been in business for 20+ years either.
You may have someone in another area of your life that would be willing to sit down with you and tell them what they think about how things are going, what changes should be made, etc. You need mentors along the way. And yes, it can be one or many along the way, regardless, a mentor can be a huge asset along the way when you’re running your solo business.
One of the most important pieces of the puzzle is being consistent. When you’re first starting as a solopreneur you’ll find yourself at your busiest and least productive. There’s so much to do and you’re thinking about where to start and what to do next that you’ll find yourself getting overwhelmed. This is where consistency comes in.
You should set up a schedule for yourself and follow it to the letter. Allot time for everything: marketing your business, researching other businesses and ways to go about building your business (trust me, there will be plenty of time for this!), attending events or conferences that will help you build your business, etc. You can use tools like Asana or Toggl to help you keep track. Whatever you need to keep with it.
Running a solo business can be tough, but it’s also an opportunity to explore your strengths and what you’re good at. When starting as a solopreneur, make sure there is enough demand for your service before investing too much time into developing skills that may not translate well in the long run. Once you’ve found those areas where you excel, take advantage of them!
You’ll need mentors along the way who have been through this process themselves so they know how to best guide you on your journey. And most importantly: Be consistent with everything from marketing efforts to setting aside time for research and development- consistency will help keep things manageable when it feels like everything is going haywire! Overall, these things can make running a solo business one of the best decisions you ever made.
Want to know more about freelancing and running a solo business? Join other successful freelancers and solopreneurs on the Time To Grow Newsletter.