Insights from 20 years as a Solopreneur
Owning a business that allows you to choose how you spend your time and allocate your resources is a fantastic privilege. Deciding what you want to do and when you want to do it is freedom.
The pressing question is, what learnings from the last 20 years can make the next 20 years exponentially better?
Twenty years ago, a solopreneur was geographically restricted. Unless your previous experience had helped you create a network in other countries, it was nearly impossible to think globally.
Social media have made the world a much smaller place. Building a network across multiple platforms is a must for a new age solopreneur. If you are not thinking about how your business can solve a problem for a global customer, then you are thinking too small.
Here are some insights and reflections:
1. The longer you take to cut the umbilical cord of being an employee, the harder it is. As an employee, you build up debt and overheads that make the perceived risk of breaking away very hard over time.
2. Start a side hustle that you nurture and build in your own time before you cut the cord.
3. Save enough money to level up by educating yourself. The energy shift can propel you into a new way of thinking that reveals new opportunities. Once upon a time, a full-time MBA could do that.
4. Finding your first customer is an incredibly liberating feeling. It also helps you realise that if you can find one customer, you can find a second.
5. Being a solopreneur does not mean you have to work alone. Doing a project with a friend who brings different but complementary skills is very rewarding.
6. While delivering a service that pays the bills, building a proprietary product that you sell independent of your service offering is essential. A software product is a holy grail. At least write a book, create a course, or develop a model that others can implement on your behalf.
7. At first, there is a temptation to “do anything” to not miss out on opportunities. In hindsight, the faster you can specialise, the better. Focus on that one thing where you can become the guru.
8. The freedom of a solopreneur is fantastic but making yourself answerable to someone brings focus and urgency. It helps if that someone is not emotionally attached to you or your business. Think MENTOR!
9. Identify a problem and sell a solution. Exploit the customers’ pain in your marketing and an offer to take that pain away with your product or service.
10. Get started and be consistent!