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The First Step to Achieving Success as a Solopreneur

The First Step to Achieving Success as a Solopreneur

No one starts their one-person business with the goal of failing. And if you’re like me, you don’t just want success as a solopreneur—you want great success. You envision yourself going further than others in your field. You picture yourself at the pinnacle of your industry, becoming a solopreneur that others around you look up to and model themselves after.

So, what’s the first step to rising to this rank? Is it putting in long days and providing stellar customer service? Does it involve creating a higher-quality product or responding to customers’ problems with greater speed and efficiency? While all of these things are important, the first step is to actually ask yourself one very critical question.

The One Question to Ask Yourself

Success means something different to everyone. So, the first step to achieving success as a solopreneur is to ask yourself what success means to you. Unless you’ve thought about this before, this isn’t always an easy question to answer.

To help you gain clarity, imagine what your life and business look like once you’ve achieved success. What are you doing on a day-to-day basis? When does your workday start and end? Where are you working? What amount of money are you earning? Do you have a work-life balance? How much time do you have off per year?

Asking questions such as these helps you identify what you are working toward. Your answers give insight into how to structure your business to create the home and work life that you desire.

How to Set Your One-Person Business Up for Success

With a clear image of what you want your solopreneurial life to be, you can take the steps needed to achieve your version of success. Set up your company in a way that provides the vision you want.

For example, if you envision having Sundays off to spend with your family, set that boundary now. Don’t answer emails from customers or clients on this day of the week so they learn to recognize it as being off-limits.

Even if you do need to put in some time on a Sunday to stay caught up with your workload, keep all of your work in-house. If you need any input from your client or want to send them a drafted project, hold off on doing this until Monday. This way, they don’t expect to hear from you on the weekends in the future, which can help protect this time.

Set Goals for Continued Progress

In reality, you aren’t always able to structure your business the way you want it at first. Starting a one-person business from scratch often requires that you work longer days in the beginning, for instance, usually providing the opportunity to shorten them after you’re more established. You will also likely earn less than you want, whether by not having a full client load or charging lower rates until you get more experience.

Setting goals helps you to keep progressing, taking you from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. Even if your business isn’t where you want it to be at the beginning, knowing that things will change in due time can make it easier to stay the course. Setting goals is one way to ensure that you continue to progress.

Set both short and long-term goals, then decide the steps you need to take to make those goals a reality. Do at least one thing every day to work toward the success you want. As long as you keep moving forward, you’ll hit your goal eventually.

Be Prepared for Fluctuations

When setting your goals and working toward them, it helps to remember that success does not occur in a straight line. It’s more like a dance in that you’ll take a few steps forward followed by a few steps back. Just keep dancing and strive to enjoy the process.

While some people look at backward steps as failures, change your perspective and look at them as learning opportunities. Use what they teach you to modify your approach and you will create a stronger and more resilient business in return.

No matter where you are in your solopreneurial journey, always keep your vision of success in mind. Let it guide you as you work to get out of this experience what you desire. Use it as a measuring stick that tells you whether you’re progressing toward your goal in the way you want or if you need to modify your approach to increase your level of satisfaction.

As long as you stay true to your personal vision of success, you cannot lose. And if your vision changes over time, don’t be afraid to change with it. Life is an evolution, after all. Evolve with it and you can feel happy and satisfied, no matter what your version of success looks like at the time.

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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.