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3 Success Tips for Solopreneurs that Are Somewhat Counterintuitive

3 Success Tips for Solopreneurs that Are Somewhat Counterintuitive

This year I feel more motivated than ever to not just run my business, but to take it as far as it (and I) can physically go. Maybe even a little further.

Not that I haven’t had similar goals in the past, because I have. This year, they just feel more intense. Like I’ve somehow found this ball of unbridled energy deep in the pit of my gut and want to use it as fuel to achieve things I’ve never achieved before.

Do you have this same type of goal?

If so, certainly, there is a ton of advice out there on this topic. But I’ve also learned that sometimes it is the most counterintuitive tips that make the most impact. Tips like these.

Aim Small

I know. If you read most any success article, it will tell you to aim high. Reach for the stars. Set out to achieve things that make you so nervous, you want to chew all your nails off. While I agree somewhat, I’ve also learned that what works best for me is to focus more on the small things I can do instead.

When I sit and think about the lofty-to-me goals I have this year—like increasing my revenues by 10 percent, learning new skills so I can expand my writing services, and adding public speaking to my offerings—I can easily feel overwhelmed. And what happens when I feel overwhelmed? I’m more inclined to give up.

So, while it’s important that I still keep these lofty goals, instead of placing so much focus on them, I pay more attention to the little things I can do to achieve them.

For instance, to increase my revenues by 10 percent, I know that I need to bring on more clients. Preferably, these clients will be long-term as opposed to one-offs. And I realistically only have the bandwidth to add 2-3 more without becoming so busy I want to pull my hair out.

Therefore, I now have it on my calendar to reach out to at least one new potential client per day. This may not seem like much, but by the end of the year, I will have made 365 attempts to drum up new business. If even one percent say yes, I’ve hit my goal!

What are some small things you can do every day to help you work toward your lofty goals? What doable steps will get you closer to where you want to be by the end of the year? Get these on your calendar. Today.

Do Less Selling

Do you have friends and family on your social media pages who are also solopreneurs? What happens when all of their posts start to become about their business, and they’re constantly asking you to get in touch with them because they have this great new set of products or services you simply cannot live another day without?

You remove them from your feed, right? While you gotta love their passion and respect their determination, you’ll wind up pushing your potential clients away if you do the same to them.

It’s undeniable that as a solopreneur, you have to do some selling to stay in business. This is especially true if you’re just starting out and don’t get a lot of referrals. But it’s also important to not just sell to your clients, but to provide them some value instead.

Someone who I feel does this extremely well is Gary Vaynerchuk, or Gary Vee as he is more commonly known. I follow him on a few different social media pages and rarely does he try to sell his products or services. Instead, he is generally offering helpful advice about how to grow your business, which is why I still keep him in my feeds when others have gotten the axe.

Thinking about your target audience, what are some things you can post about that would provide them value? Are there some quick tips you can share that will help them solve a particular problem? What are some blog posts you can write that will offer helpful advice?

Do this and your followers will not only look forward to your posts, but they will also be more likely to share them as well. That’s definitely better than getting unfriended or unfollowed.

Give Away Your Time

Okay, before you get up in arms at the idea of giving away your time, hear me out. I’m not suggesting that you begin to work for free. That would devalue your service offerings versus promote them. This success tip is more about volunteering in your community in other ways.

When you start giving your time to area charities and organizations, it does a couple of very positive things for you. First, it is extremely motivating. You get this renewed sense of self, this increased clarity about what is important to you in life. This helps you become a better business owner.

Volunteering your time is also a great way to meet people in your area who could potentially benefit from your services. For instance, when I volunteered at a TEDx event, I met a couple of other volunteers who asked to keep in touch after to see if we could collaborate on some writing projects.

Research has also found that consumers like to do business with companies that give. In fact, 73 percent of Americans—almost three out of four—take this one factor into consideration before deciding whether to make a purchase.

So, what are some ways that you can volunteer your time? Research the agencies and organizations in your area that could use some help and reach out to them. Even if you can’t commit to weekly volunteer time, maybe there are some events you can help with on a more occasional basis.

Sometimes achieving higher levels of success means taking a somewhat unconventional path. In my experience, that path has offered some amazing scenery along the way.


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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.