I follow, read, listen to, and watch a lot of solopreneurs. They're my people, after all. There's a cold hard truth I've been reading over and over again recently. The odds are against us. According to Bloomberg 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail and consultants have one of the worst success rates. Yikes.
BUT you're not going to be one of them and here's how you know that:
- You Don't Give Excuses Often
Yes, business is personal for solopreneurs. We're often working one on one with people who become friends. If we get sick or have a family emergency we often have to tell our clients and we usually get a day or two of grace because we are a business of one. But at the end of the day this is business. This is putting food on the table. This is paying mortgages and putting kids through college. For a client that's an employer it means multiple families' food, mortgages, tuitions. So hustle harder, longer, and better than ever before for yourself and your clients. Remember every time you end up offering an excuse a competitor is out there offering a solution. The more excuses you find yourself making to clients, customers and colleagues, the farther you are from your sweet spot. Either you're doing things you're not really passionate about (why), you're using the wrong methods (how/when/what), or you're working with the wrong people (who). Figure out which one is the issue and work to fix it ASAP.
- You Keep Generating Content Like it's Your Job
You find it easy to keep coming up with content because you're in your sweet spot. I used to look at content marketers and think how can they contribute so many places online and blog so often?! Don't they run out of ideas?! If you're passionate about your service, about the VALUE you add to others, the answer is no. I now write a lot because I'm writing about the right things. I have lists of ideas for my site, for entrepreneur.com, for other sites, for interviews and for speaking engagements. It just keeps coming! That's thanks to God and thanks to the fact that I'm right where He designed me to be. If you're having trouble creating content, - which doesn't have to be writing, it may be programs, products, videos, case studies, reports, etc. - you may be outside of your wheelhouse, or you might be too isolated or just plain burnt out. Assess the situation and figure out why you have trouble creating. Remember content is king today, as a solopreneur you have GOT to keep creating!
- You Stick With What You Know
After my book was finally launched, I was going to roll out a big online course. It would have basically been the content of my book turned into a weekly class over a few months. Maybe someday I will still do that, but I doubt it. Instead, I went with my Start Up Success Package, because I've been doing it for years, with years of happy clients. It's what I know. It's what I'm really really good at. There is a lot of pressure today, even from yours truly, to add revenue streams, make digital products, and monetize all that you can. For good reason. But try and think of it as doing something you've always done in a new way. For me, that meant naming my service as a package, adding more structure and offering it as a digital product people can buy online, but it's the same branding and marketing service I've been offering businesses throughout my career. If you're feeling overwhelmed, try and step back and remind yourself you're just repackaging your awesomesauce. Same sauce, different package. Same great brain and heart of yours, same great product or service, just delivered differently.
- You Know Your Customer
You are in the mind of your ideal client. You get them. You talk with them. You ask them questions. You speak their language. You lose sleep over what they lose sleep over. This can be achieved through surveys, closed facebook groups, actual conversations, blog comment threads, conventions, twitter search, however you acheieve it, you find a way. That's the key to selling and selling is what keeps you in the 20%!
- You Are Different From Your Competition
I'm not going to lie to you, this is getting harder as our world gets smaller. It's tempting some days to crawl into a secret underground lab and do your best work so no one can steal it. But we all know that that won't work. We have to give generously and we want to, because we are losing sleep like I said in point 4. There is something that makes you different than your closest competitor. Is it the who, what, when, where, how, or why? It's got to be one of those. Next, can you quickly and clearly communicate what makes you different? It doesn't matter if you're different if no one can tell!
If you read the above 5 points and think uh oh, that's not me! That's not you - YET. Here are some helpful articles:
- If you're having trouble with excuses, try going through the first part of my Action Guide to assess what your sweet spot TRULY is. Get it by signing up at the bottom of this post.
- I help with ideas for content marketing and monetization in the Go Solo Facebook Group and my email list, get access to both at the end of this post.
- I also help all of these points in my Start Up Success Package if you want strategic help to launch your business and have a roadmap for your first year!
- Get to Know Your Customer (Business News Daily Article): http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4890-customer-engagement-tips.html
- Differentiate Yourself (Entrepreneur.com Article) f: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/190942
Do you struggle with one of these five areas? What's your biggest hurdle?