“I want to go into business to fail” said no solopreneur ever. In fact, it is the hope for great success that keeps many of us going day in and day out, even when it feels like things just aren’t going our way.
While sometimes success is achieved, in part, by luck—such as by being in the right place at the right time—the reality is that having certain traits is by and large a main determiner as to whether a specific level of success can be reached. What traits are these?
Call it perseverance, determination, or never giving up. Whatever name you choose to use, having an unwavering grit to keep going when every muscle in your body wants to wave the white flag and just “get a real job” is often what separates the successful solopreneurs from those who started on this sometimes rocky path, but failed to stay with it long enough to see true results.
Though I have many loyal clients who I enjoy working with day after day, week after week, and month after month, I have many more whom I’ve done just one project for and never heard from again. If I didn’t have thick skin, this could potentially bother me enough to question my own abilities. Yet, I do realize that not every client and service provider is a good fit, so having thick skin if the relationship ends keeps me from taking these types of situations personally.
A Willingness to Be Different
One of the things I appreciate most about my former boss is that he danced to the beat of his own drum. It didn’t matter what others in his field thought or did, he was willing to color outside the lines so to speak and leave his own unique mark on the world. Granted, this did cause him some resistance from time to time, but it also set him apart, which in business is a good thing.
High Level of Integrity
I’ve worked with many clients who’ve shared stories of hiring service providers with a clear lack of integrity because they missed deadlines, always made excuses for submitting subpar work, wound up charging more than what was originally agreed upon, and sometimes disappeared altogether. It’s pretty hard to get repeat work this way and since business success relies not only on developing a loyal customer base but also in receiving solid referrals, having integrity is critical to achieving business growth.
The Desire to Give More
I know that some professionals in my field charge for every phone conversation they hold with a client. However, I look at our talks as a great way to build our relationship, increasing the odds that they’ll continue to choose me as their writer over the long-term. Plus, if I give them little extras that no one else is willing to give, I find that they’re more willing to contact me when they need work in the future. In fact, there is one client I have who has switched employers around five times since we started working together, yet he always takes me with him wherever he goes.
Just the other day, I had to have my garage door opener fixed. Somehow, within the first few minutes of chatting with the man who was here to do the work, we got talking about how he had once taken his young daughter to the hardware store to purchase duct tape and she was upset when she learned that the tape had absolutely nothing to do with ducks. By displaying a level of personableness versus being all business, he left me with a good impression and I will definitely call him in the future if I need his services, in addition to gladly recommending him to friends.
There are many days when I don’t want to get out of bed, when I would rather pull the covers up a bit tighter and return to a peaceful sleep. Yet I also know that my clients are counting on me and if I’m going to make my business work, I’m not going to be able to do it from my bedroom. Being a solopreneur requires that I have a fairly high level of self-motivation or it’s all too easy to find other things I’d rather do instead.
Since I specialize in providing content related to health, wellness, and personal development, I work with a number of solopreneurs like myself. The one thing that I appreciate from them that keeps me excited about having them as clients is when they’re responsive. Whether it’s a simple email to confirm that they’ve received my article or a quick text to say that they’ll be a few minutes late to our call, the fact that they took the time to get in touch says that they value me and my time, a factor that also makes me value them.
Though there are arguably many more, these are the eight traits I’ve found most valuable not only to my career, but also in my dealings with other solopreneurs. While there is no way to guarantee success simply by exhibiting these values, I really can’t see how they could ever hurt.