The first time I jumped head-first into being self-employed, I did it without a game plan. Frustrated and struggling to grasp everything I needed to learn about managing myself and a business, I realized much of my suffering could have been be avoided.
I’ve collected some business secrets over the last 10 years. They’ve influenced how I approach the mindset of being a solo business and have helped me move forwards to where I am today.
Here are insights that will help you understand how to work better, smarter and more effectively as a solopreneur.
Work the Way You Want and with Who You Want
This is one of the greatest gifts of being a solopreneur. It’s easy to get sucked into someone else’s definition of freedom; sayings like, “Freedom 55,” and, “Work hard, play hard,” are great, but these attitudes never resonated with me.
Once I sat down and defined what freedom meant to me, my workflow came naturally to me. I started looking for projects and clients that give me the type of freedom I wanted – the freedom to choose.
Plan for a Rainy Year
The first year of being a solopreneur can be a tough one. Building up a network, mastering your skills and trying to create a rhythm, all while trying to grow your business, can take its toll.
The first time I struck out on my own, I barely had enough revenue to cover my expenses for a month. That desperation is palpable; I think potential clients could smell it, and they ran!
Taking time to budget and test your assumptions routinely helps you forecast your business future. What is a comfortable cash flow runway? Is it three months, six months or a year? The business plan I have now acts more like a safety net, giving me the added confidence that comes in handy when I say, “No,” to a work opportunity that doesn’t suit my needs.
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
Before my business colleague and I came together, we had been banging our heads against the wall, doing work that didn’t come naturally to either of us. Dividing and conquering in our businesses has made us that much more effective in our own solo consulting gigs.
In BC, there are many communities of collaborative solopreneurs, such as Creative Mornings, Likemind Vancouver and Freelance Friday that will help you give others jobs that don’t fit your business, pick up jobs that work for you and collaborate when necessary.
You Actually Need Less
It turns out that when you’re happy doing what you’re doing, and you enjoy the people you work with, you can live on less. I’ve found myself filling my life with less material goods and impulse buys.
You spend most of your time working, so when you like doing it, you’re less dependent on finding life satisfaction in money alone.
You Can’t Afford to Stop Learning
Learning comes in all shapes and sizes, from podcasts and articles to books and classes. There is something to take away from every conversation you’ll ever have with anyone.
The people I admire most are continuously learning something new. And the more knowledge they acquire, the more they realize how much is left to learn.
When in doubt, just ask. It’s likely that someone else is facing (or has just dealt with) something similar. You can gain value from their experiences.
Are you taking advantage of Small Business BC’s wide selection of seminars for entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized business owners? Space is limited, so don’t miss your chance to register today.