Working for yourself is rarely easy. However, according to this Ted Talk by Joshua Lisec, 50% of millennials want to be their own boss. With the number of college graduates doing jobs that don’t require a college degree – going up every year to 41% in 2020, investing in your own business may seem like a legitimate alternative to investing in a business degree, for example.
As a graduate, starting your own business can be an attractive proposition too. If you don’t want to be another young graduate with a Master’s degree that costs tens of thousands, going to work every day to a job that pays $10 per hour, then starting a business can help you control your career.
The term “entrepreneur” has been in use for about 30 years. In line with the tech boom, entrepreneurs were recognized as people who built empires from scratch with hard work and a touch of brilliance.
Solopreneurs are recognized as people who work by themselves, for themselves. This type of entrepreneur might be a freelancer or a small business owner. Instead of employing full-time staff, solopreneurs tend to hire other freelancers and contractors. Hiring freelancers saves on tedious administrative work and can help grow income streams without worrying about employment laws and legislation.
One thing to bear in mind with solopreneurship is while there is no ceiling to your earning potential when you start your own business, there’s not much of a floor either. If you are looking for a regular income that you can rely on – being employed by someone else might be the best career option—still interested? Read more to find out what we believe are some methods to make your solopreneur career a success.
Invest in Yourself
Whist you will want to avoid doing everything yourself, it can be wise to invest in your own skills and abilities as a business owner. For example, it could be a great idea to search for free courses on Udemy and Futurelearn.com and get a grip on the basics of online marketing, content marketing, Facebook advertising, social media marketing, brand building, bookkeeping, and web development.
Once you have a rudimentary understanding, you may specialize in one or two and outsource the other disciplines.
Remember too that running your own business is almost definitely, going to be stressful. It might be a good idea to invest in some classes regarded stress management and other soft skills, including communication and leadership. While things might be easier and smoother at some point in the future, that magical point on the horizon of a stress-free lifestyle is rarely achieved; unfortunately.
Outsource the Basics
Working as a solopreneur can typically mean wearing many hats – working on the core of your business, taking phone calls, answering emails, chasing sales leads – you may well have to do it all yourself.
Outsourcing administrative tasks can be relatively cheap and incredibly rewarding in terms of the time you will get back. One way to track the impact or the potential impact of outsourcing is to keep a journal of your daily tasks for one week. Then, note how many times you answer an email and how often you answer the phone.
Research suggests that a single interruption takes on average 23 minutes to ‘recover’ from. For each unnecessary phone call or email, you can multiply that by 23 to work out how many minutes per week you spend switching from peripheral and administrative business tasks back to the business’s principal work.
Hiring a virtual assistant can be relatively inexpensive if you live in the US or the UK, thanks to geo-arbitrage. The US dollar and the British pound are both relatively strong compared to India and Philippines’ currencies, for example. You are therefore able to hire highly experienced virtual assistants to filter emails, reply to basic emails, book appointments, etc., for as little as a few dollars per hour.
An out-of-hours phone answering service like Moneypenny’s – can also be a great way to work more productively. While you are working, you can let all calls go to a dedicated virtual receptionist, allowing you to leave your phone in another room to avoid any distractions. With an out-of-hours service, you can also ensure that you never miss a business call, regardless of the time of day. An out-of-hours answering service also allows you to get some vital leisure time and activities into your schedule – without having to listen out for your mobile phone all the time.
Build Your Personal Brand
The value of a business almost always relates directly to the strength of a brand. Almost anyone can create a website and drive visitors with Google Ads, but building a brand takes years of hard work. One way to build a brand as a solopreneur is to make yourself the center of it.
Freelancing can, again, help out as you look to develop your brand. For example, your brand will look unprofessional if you have no graphic design experience and attempt to create a logo yourself.
While there are some great apps like Canva available, you may wish to hire a graphic design freelancer from a website like UpWork to help you create your brand. You will need a logo, a website, social media assets, and video introductions and endings for any YouTube videos you create. With this in mind, you may want to consider investing in video editors, Facebook Ads consultants, and a web developer.
Make Use of Technology & Apps
There are lots of useful apps for business owners. Two of the most popular apps for solopreneurs include project management apps such as Asana or Trello and accounting apps such as Quickbooks.
Productivity apps can also be a great help if you struggle to focus – and who doesn’t with all the distractions online these days. Consider installing a Pomodoro app that breaks down your working day into 25-minute “sprints.” These sprints can help immensely with productivity and wellbeing. You can turn off your email client and phone and focus on the work at hand for 25 minutes. Then at the end of the sprint, have a quick check of your phone and email, take a short walk or do a few stretches and that get back to it.
Working for yourself is not for everyone. However, now that remote working is a legitimate option for businesses of all sizes, and it’s no longer frowned upon to work from home, it can be an excellent option for building up relevant experience, building management skills, or providing an income. Be prepared for many ups and downs, and make sure you do lots of research before investing any money.