Success. It is something we look back on and feel good about while at the same time something with which we can look ahead and move forward. We all want to be successful, but for the solopreneur—whose business and work is intertwined with their identity and lifestyle—it is especially important. While the specific attributes of a successful solopreneur will vary according to industry, personality, and circumstances, the overall approach is more widely applicable. The ten tips below will help you to align with this approach, and to develop the mindset and habits essential to what you define as success.
“Confidence comes naturally with success, but success comes only to those who are confident.” – Unknown
Do you have what it takes to be a solopreneur? The resounding answer should be yes. How can we say this without knowing you, personally? Because confidence is the number one foundational building block of every successful solopreneur. When you have confidence in what you’re doing, your approach to everything involved is one that facilitates success. Also, confidence begets confidence. When you have confidence in your business, your friends, family, clients, and investors will have confidence too.
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon hill
The simple act of finding and reading this article marks a key ingredient to the solopreneur mindset: desire. You have to truly want something in order to know what it takes to obtain it. This is not to say that you must evaluate whether or not you really want to start your own business—that’s a given—but why do you want to start your own business? Is it to be your own boss? Is it to live out a core value? Is it to harness a passion or a gift? When you can connect your solopreneurship endeavors with the true underlying desire, you can make decisions and take action with greater clarity and purpose.
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso.
You probably think it’s easier said than done, and have more than likely come up with dozens of reasons to justify why now is “just not the right time”. The harsh reality is that there is no right time. If you wait until your plan, product, or idea is perfect to start, you’ll never start. However if you just start, no matter how raw or imperfect, you will have something to iterate on and perfect over time.
“Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen.” – Doe Zantamata
Making the leap and pursuing your dreams requires a lot of unknowns: not knowing whether you’ll be successful, whether your idea is going to resonate with consumers, what steps you’ll need to take, and the list goes on. When presented with uncertainty, the human imagination tends to plunge into a sea of “what ifs” and worst case scenarios, creating a fear that can paralyze progress. You can’t stop your imagination from doing what it does. Nor should you. After all, an active imagination is often a key trait of solopreneurs.
Instead, embrace it. Let your mind wander to the worst case scenario, and you’ll realize that it’s not all that bad. If you fail, is it the end of the world? No. You’ll simply have to reroute and adjust. With enough desire and confidence (see #1 and #2), you’ll find a new way.
“I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” – Virginia Rometty.
No matter what business you choose to pursue, there’s going to be a set of relevant fundamental and complementary skills. The fundamental skills serve as the core—that which you need to learn and master at the bare minimum to get your idea off the ground. In order to stand out, however, you need to offer value to customers and clients.
This entails broadening your skillset. Yes, it’s an investment of time and effort, but it will ultimately aid in your success. Invest in educating and improving yourself as a professional so you can offer more to your customers and make yourself more valuable.
“Many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success.” – Thomas Edison.
Being a solopreneur is going to be filled with challenges. If things are not going as well as you’d like or you’re having bad luck across the board, don’t let that discourage you or tempt you to give up. Truly successful solopreneurs know to power through the bad times and believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The journey of a solopreneur is filled with adversity and unexpected events. What separates a successful solopreneur from an unsuccessful one is how you handle those events and the action you take as a result of them.
“We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.” – Richard G. Scott
Whether you’re struggling or things are going smoothly, you must always stick with your plan and execute it in a consistent manner. Success isn’t a perpetually upward line on a graph. It’s a choppy pattern of ups and downs, achievements, and mistakes. What keeps that line progressing upward overall is consistent effort. It is through consistency that you can detect patterns and identify adjustments, creating a strong and stable foundation of growth.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Anonymous.
Even if you find that your business idea and model are working, you must always be looking for new growth and learning opportunities. Developing this kind of mindset is key for overcoming the natural comfort that comes with success. Remember, success is not final.
“It’s not the lack of resources that cause failure, it’s the lack of resourcefulness that causes failure.” – Tony Robbins
In today’s technological world, there’s an almost endless number of free (and paid) options that help solopreneurs prioritize and complete tasks in all facets of their business. Use these tools to automate certain aspects of your business. They will save you time, improve your performance, and maximize efficiency so you can devote your full attention to the things that matter most.
“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” – Tom Peters
While tip #8 says to never settle with current success, it is okay to take a moment and catch your breath. You’re only human and you have a breaking point. One of the best ways to put a screeching halt on all business progress is by burning yourself out. You don’t need to take days or weeks off, but be sure that when you do achieve milestones, you take a step back to celebrate your hard work.
These tips are not just quick remedies. Your business is your lifestyle, and these are lifestyle changes. Give yourself time to turn these tips into action, and eventually habits, and you’ll be on the track to success.