Being a solopreneur might be a breath of fresh air, especially if you are new to the entrepeurship bandwagon, but avoiding the common mistakes that most solopreneurs make would be a good starting point to ensure your success.
Network: The people aspect
Working solo, much as it is your choice, can get lonely for most entrepreneurs. You do need professional guidance so hire a business coach or an accountability partner to keep you on track with your cashflow/ business plan. Establishing a business is one thing but building and maintaining it is a whole other exercise. Invest your time and money in planning for success and focus on the training.
Meet with other members from your industry or solopreneurs like you to discus how you can charge your clients more, not on a whim, but by providing added value to your existing repertoire of services/products. Create a support group of your own that is a strong combination of a few members from your industry and a few who are not to help provide different perspectives and ideas to the problems that you face.
Your ideas may be many and not having a support staff or other team members to vet it out is often your bane. Instead of simply going with the fact that you think it’s a great idea, unless you have the years of experience in the industry to prove it, brainstorming renders itself an essential exercise. Create a focus group of your ideal market and audience and test/try your ideas there.
Research: The process
Yes, there is a market for all products and services but finding your target audience in the available market will mean greater financial success for your venture. Most solopreneurs do not invest in sufficient market research and simply believe in a philosophy of ‘if you build, they will come’ and that, for the most part, usually disproves itself within the first few months of being in business.
Take time to ensure the product/service you offer has an evergreen element to it so it stands the test of time. Most solopreneurs see an immediate need and a solution they can provide so they establish a business. But then comes the time that problem does not exist for their clients any more and they do not know how to transition into a business that still caters to a steady clientele.
Money: What it boils down to
If you are a new solopreneur, fresh off the workforce, then watch out. Your new professional life might mean some sacrifices in your personal pursuits – holidays might have to be fewer, that daily cup of coffee at your fave coffee shop might not be possible, shopping every weekend will need to stop, and fancy dinners might have to be just dinners that are not too fancy.
Finances are an important part of any business. Funding your new or existing venture is integral and knowing your options even more so. Exhaust all financing options available to you instead of flushing out what little savings you have, those will be your cushion for when things don’t go too well. Consider small business loans, loans from investors, friends and family that see promise in your efforts, grants for your industry, etc.
Credit cards are another financing option for your business but swiping it everywhere carelessly will only do your business harm. This is further amplified if you are a solopreneur doing your own accounts – chances are, every time there is a red flag, you ignore it and then there is a huge balance owed. An accountant can help keep your finances in check. Maximizing cashflow should be top priority and one of the best ways to ensure that is to minimize overheads.
The primary reason most people become solopreneurs is to enjoy the freedom they envision. The work/life balance you can achieve can be incredible but you have to put in the work to get there, else it is farewell freedom – this fixation to be your own boss might soon lose steam. So avoid these common solopreneur mistakes and you could fare better in your entrepreneurial journey.
Dr. Roshawnna Novellus is a Board Member at Amplify 4 Good, and the President / Director of Tax at Novellus Financial. She’s also a Member of Pipeline Angels and the author of TheWealthyYogi.com. Roshawanna has her Doctorate in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University. Follow her on Twitter.