When you decided to quit the rat race and forge your own career path as a solopreneur, you made a bold step. Whether you run a creative, cottage industry or sell technical services, one thing’s for sure you will have had to change up your lifestyle to accommodate your new income and working pattern.
While going solo is the best move you made, those first few months can undoubtedly be tough. It takes time to get yourself established and to generate the kind of income that will sustain you. That doesn’t mean that you won’t, but while you are getting set up, we’ve got some top tips on maximizing your business and your income. We take a look at some wise investments and how to avoid some of the pitfalls that new business owners might find themselves falling into.
Invest in The Basics
When we say the basics, we mean the very basics that you need to allow you to run your business. A decent laptop, great wifi connectivity, and the space you need to make it all work. If you’re producing actual goods, then finding a space in your own home might not prove to be cost-effective in the long run, so look for cheaper warehouse space even if that takes you out of town a little way.
If you work from behind a desk, make that a productive area. Invest in a great quality office chair that will support your back and neck. Don’t compromise on your comfort, it will only lead to problems later down the line with potential medical bills.
You don’t need to look too much further into the future, but do make sure you have the infrastructure in place to fulfill the first few weeks and months and even first year or two of your business plan. Don’t have a business plan? Create a business plan and in it set out in real terms how much income you would ideally need to generate in the first year. This figure should, of course, be based on a realistic target and you will need to create realistic objectives to meet those goals. This business plan, whether you’re in the creative industries of selling a good pneumatic air charger will help you to make spending decisions that have a real impact on your business and avoid unnecessary spending on quick-fix solutions that drain your budget.
Well, not all advice but be extremely discerning about whose advice you take. It seems that as soon as you start the odd Google search for business activities those offers come pouring in thick and fast. You’ll likely be inundated with offers to take this course or invest in this social media marketing solution. All of them will guarantee fantastic results in marketing your business and promise to be the silver bullet when it comes to promotion and sales.
Yet they all come at a price. If you are looking to invest in some marketing strategies there are two other options you might consider to save you money. First, you can become your own expert. Ignore all the so-called fast track guides to marketing and invest some money in a certified and recognized qualification that can bring you up to scratch with current marketing techniques. Consider yourself your own best investment.
The other route you might consider is outsourcing your marketing needs to an agency. The key here is to work out if there is a significant net gain to be made from investing in some direct marketing activity. If you’re convinced your sales will grow organically with the amount of marketing you currently do, then close the purse and give your current strategy time to develop.
If, however, you’re looking for a big hit then sit down with an agency and have them lay out some marketing scenarios for you. You don’t need to take up their offer straight away, go and think about what will work best for your company and make sure that it stays well within any budget that you have set aside.
Be Accountable to Yourself
In those early days, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and to try and combat that by working increasingly long hours. Often, all this does is add to the stress and pressure that you put yourself under.
Set yourself limits and boundaries to your working day and make yourself accountable to them. A burnt-out solopreneur is not going to achieve any of the goals they set out so instead, if things aren’t quite going according to plan, figure out what needs to be changed rather than plugging on battling the same problems day in and day out.
Don’t be limited by what you see are your skills and talents. A successful business person is able to call on the talents of others, to learn new skills and employ technology that drives their business forward. If you’re getting tangled up with the figures, then consider investing in some software that’s going to make your day-to-day accounting tasks a whole heap easier, saving you time and money in the long term.
When you’re just starting out every business decision you make can feel huge. When you’re trying to live frugally and startup, it’s vital that you’re able to make decisions that are great investments for the future of your company. Staying within a budget does not mean avoiding spending any money at all. It just means thinking carefully about what investments provide solid benefits for your company either now or later down the track. Having the courage to make those investments is all part and parcel of running your own business.
Don’t be taken in by companies promising the earth or by signing up to courses that guarantee results through social media campaigns. Take your time to interview agencies or learn the skills yourself. You’re doing just fine, so stay determined and focussed and these early, tough days will soon become a thing of the past.