As a self-employed business owner — a one-person operation, a solopreneur if you will — saying you wear many hats is an understatement. Not only are you the President and CEO, you’re also the CFO, COO, CIO, CMO, VP of Sales, Customer Service Director and all the workers bees that might exist under those titles in an organizational chart.
As you can tell, the potential for a self-employed solopreneur to get overwhelmed by all of their roles and responsibilities is great, and many do get overwhelmed. However, being a single-person business doesn’t mean you have to operate alone. In fact, you can’t operate alone, if you did everythingon your own there would be no way you could scale your business to grow it.
So how does a solopreneur scale their business to help it become financially healthy and sustainable (meaning, how do I grow my one-person business to make enough money to live and support my family while still being fulfilled by my work)?
That’s a question I often ask of myself, and a good place to start is by getting outside of yourself. What I mean is: it’s helpful to find someone else who understands your business, but doesn’t have a bias toward you (someone who is not a friend or family member who will tell you what you want to hear — that offers sympathetic support, which is also needed in doses, but it doesn’t help to get your thinking unstuck and promote the right kind of business growth).
Having an empathetic, knowledgeable-about-business, unattached resource to confide in; someone who will hold you accountable to things you say you are going to do, and someone who will gently yet professionally push you through your apprehensions is the kind of resource that can help unlock your inspiring creativity as a business owner to discover opportunities and alternative resources to help grow your “team” and scale your business. I’m talking about a coach. A coach can help you think beyond yourself to identify a fresh perspective that will make things click for you in a different way than they have before — that’s often what sparks new creativity in your thinking. This helps you gain the emotional momentum you need to grow.
So beyond having a coach who is like an unattached business partner, how else can you scale your business as a one-person shop? Well, outsource the non-strategic tasks that eat up a lot of your time. What I mean, hire a virtual assistant to do some of your admin work, so you can focus on more revenue generating activities — like meeting with potential clients and doing client project work. A virtual assistant could handle cleaning up your client database so you can finally make sense of what’s in there.
Also, if you’re not overly interested in numbers hire a bookkeeper to handle these tasks for you. The point is, you need to concentrate on strategic activities that help bring money into the business, and if you’re spending all your time filing things to organize your office that means you’re spending less time helping others with your great business solution.
Another way to help you scale, depending on what kind of business you’re in, can be sub-contracting. Often design firms and other agencies will hire a freelancer to help with overflow design work. If you’ve built a trusting relationship with others who could be good sub-contractors for you, work out a fair rate that still allows you some margin for profit on your client work. This scenario can allow you to take on more projects at once — more projects means more clients, which means growth and more income.
I know many of you have some wonderfully creative ideas about how to scale a solopreneur endeavor, so for the good of all readers comment below and let us know.
Posted by: Nick Ventuerlla