I write an article for The Successful Solopreneur column every month. So, it’s not impossible to think that I sometimes cover similar topics a few times, even if from a different viewpoint.
When I decided to make this month’s piece about business advice for solopreneurs, I thought I remembered covering this topic before. After looking back on previous articles, I discovered I was right. But that was back in 2019.
A quick review of that article proves that good business advice typically doesn’t change. While you may want to check it out yourself, I also wanted to update it—giving you the best advice for your one-person business as you enter 2023.
To help with this, I sought the advice of two other solopreneurs. Here’s a little bit about each of them, as well as the advice they have to offer.
Business Advice from Kristen Mashburn of KPMashburn
Kristen Mashburn is a company culture consultant and the founder of KPMashburn, which offers services designed to create a more successful and effective workplace culture focused on employee processes, engagement, and motivation.
Mashburn offers two pieces of advice to other solopreneurs:
- “Just because you’re a solopreneur doesn’t mean you should be alone. Build a team around you. Every solopreneur needs a coach, CPA, lawyer, a mentor, a group of peers that you meet with monthly, and a close confidant that you can have coffee with often.”
- “Don’t give up, just adjust. If you’ve decided to go out on your own, you’re deeply passionate about your business. Things will get hard. But do whatever it takes to make it work. It’s worth it.”
Business Advice from Ellia Harris of The Potential Center
Ellia Harris is Chief Innovation Coach at The Potential Center, a business that helps people in manager roles learn to use creative problem-solving in their leadership positions. Harris offers four pieces of business advice to solopreneurs:
- “A business coach once told me, ‘Business owners are marketers first, subject matter experts second.’ Learn about marketing and messaging, even if you hate that part of the business, or farm it out. By being aware of best marketing practices you’ll be better able to make important strategic and vendor decisions.”
- “Invest in a small team of independent providers. I have a VA, copywriter, social media agency, and web designer. It’s money well spent because I know I’m working with responsible professionals (as soon as I learn that they’re not, I cut them loose), it reduces stress and, most importantly, it provides the time for me to do what I love and what I excel at.”
- “If you can afford it, invest in a group business coaching program or 1-1 business coach because it speeds up your rate of learning. Having said that, I’ve come to appreciate that being a solopreneur is about enjoying my business, not busting my (metaphorical) balls to please someone else – that’s one of the reasons I’m no longer an employee! At the end of the day, I rely on my instincts – only I know what I’m passionate about and what feels joyful, and I’ve cut ties with coaches who don’t get where I’m coming from.”
- “It’s easy to be isolated as a solopreneur. Yes, you may be more productive working all 40 hours on your business, but you also need to feed your soul. I regularly attend networking events (most are still virtual so they’re easy to get to). It’s nice to know you’re not alone!”
What’s My Best Business Advice for Solopreneurs?
After around a dozen years working for myself as a freelance writer, I’d have to say that my best business advice for solopreneurs is to always trust your gut. If you feel like a client may not be the right fit for you, pay attention to this.
The same holds when it comes to making decisions about what you want to do with your business. If it feels like you’re going the wrong way, it’s worth looking at what you want to do more closely so you don’t do something you’ll regret.
Any time I’ve gone against my gut, it has turned out poorly. I’ve found myself with clients who’ve had different thoughts or ideas, or I started taking my company down a path that ultimately left me feeling tired and frustrated.
Now, I take the time to become aware of how I feel when talking to a potential client or making a bigger business decision. If something doesn’t feel right or somehow feels off, I walk away or do further searching to figure out what is going on. This has served me incredibly well over the years. And I hope it serves you well too.