The ongoing global pandemic may have thrown our professional lives in an indefinite uncertainty. But with a little bit of optimism and determination, you may be able to see the brighter side of things. For instance, if you have been mulling over the prospect of starting your own business, this is the perfect time to build your idea, study the market, your audience, and equip yourself with the skills and knowledge you need.
To get excited about the prospect of solopreneurship, start by designing your company logo. It’s a simple aspect, but it establishes that you’re now a brand, and that sentiment can be extremely motivating. With some of the best logo making and brand building tools available today, you can create a professional logo in minutes.Going solo is never an easy road, but with the right attitude, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences. While the level of focus and discipline required has to come from within, these five tips can help make your journey a lot easier.
As a solopreneur who works with clients in different cities and even countries, you must create a web presence that tells a compelling story, showcases your work and allows your potential and existing customers to interact with you. Creating a stellar website is an investment in your brand’s reputation and identity. Here is what you should consider while conceptualizing it:
Your domain name is the first thing that people will come across when they find you online. Find a domain name that is:
Apart from creating a website that looks great and is easy to navigate, you must also pay attention to how it will perform in search engine rankings. Use keyword research tools to find the most-searched keywords and phrases for your industry and use them in your URL, meta text and website copy. Ensure that your website has a fast loading speed by compressing files and optimizing images.
Your website and your social media handles should be the two focal points of your marketing strategy. Depending upon the nature of your industry and your clients/customers, find the platforms that allow for maximum engagement. For instance, if you are running an online store that has scope for creating high-quality and aesthetically appealing imagery, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest may be the right platforms for you. If your company is geared more towards professionals, you should consider establishing an active presence on LinkedIn. Once you have decided on the platforms on which you want to be present, the next steps in your strategy should include:
Use tools such as Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics and Instagram Insights to understand where your audience is located, what demographic groups they belong to and when they are most active online. You can also study other brand pages that they follow to gauge the content they are consuming on social media.
Based on your findings, streamline your social media strategy by laying down the content categories for your posts, such as new products/services, promotion campaigns, showcasing work done for clients, engagement posts (polls, questions, contests) and so on. It would be best if you also tried to diversify your content by using different formats such as videos, infographics, podcasts and articles.
Creating a social media calendar for the coming months can make your job a lot more manageable and ensure that you don’t miss important dates or events. Based on when your audience is the most active, you can schedule your posts by using scheduling apps such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Facebook’s in-built free scheduler.
Engaging with your audience on social media will not only increase the number of your followers but will also enable you to gain a better understanding of your audiences’ needs and take feedback on your services. Post regularly, be relevant, exciting and entertaining, respond to as many comments as possible and encourage tagging and mutual sharing of posts.
The key to running a solo business venture is not just increasing demand for your products and services. Your success largely depends upon the reputation and identity you create for yourself because that’s where the credibility of your business stems from.
People will be more inclined to give you their business if they regard you as an industry insider who is not just an entrepreneur but also an expert. Being part of professional or industry groups helps you create that desired reputation. Find and join relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook as well as forums such as Quora and Reddit, where you can post self-authored content related to your industry or share other meaningful content. Maintain an active presence by commenting on posts shared by others. You can post questions about current industry trends or ask for feedback on your services, which can help you gain useful professional insights. It also helps you expand your professional network and make meaningful connections with people whose services you could employ in your work. For instance, if you are the founder of a digital agency, you must have a reliable network of writers, graphic designers, SEO specialists, PR professionals, brand managers and other vendors. If you are the owner of an online store, you must be well-acquainted with suppliers, shippers and customer relationship managers. Attending virtual networking events and webinars is a great way to create that network.
The life of a solopreneur involves thinking on the go. From improving upon your offerings to coming up with innovative marketing strategies, from allocation of budgets to expansion models, from managing your network of professional connections to meaningfully engaging with your clients/customers, there’s just so much to learn! You want to be able to focus on growing your business rather than get caught up in mundane day-to-day activities. As a new entrepreneur, you’re carrying the weight of your business on your shoulders. However, you can ease the load by using a wide variety of online tools such as:
Being your boss is liberating as you are not answerable to anyone. However, it also entails greater responsibility and accountability. In the absence of an authority figure, it is easy to slack off and give yourself more leeway than you can afford. Procrastination is a trap you want to avoid when you’re a solopreneur. The most effective way to combat procrastination is to set goals for yourself. At the beginning of every month and every day, create a plan of what you want to achieve and list the actionable ways in which you will realize those goals. Consider this plan to be your boss. Like you would have reported to your boss during briefings or review meetings, you need to be answerable to your project and, in the process, to yourself. For instance, let’s say that within this month, you want to add five more clients to your business, increase revenue by 15%, and successfully implement a social media campaign. Or on any particular day, your target is to schedule social media posts for the entire week, have two client calls, send out five invoices, and create a brief for an upcoming project. Breaking down your work into chunks of achievable targets will ensure you stay on track and make your daily job more manageable.
Being an astute solopreneur is about getting over your fears and doing what needs to be done as it is about knowledge and experience. Finally, it is about patience, learning from your mistakes, possibly even unlearning from the past, and having the determination to keep going even when the odds are not in your favour.