When I started my coaching practice, I was on top of the world, optimistic, and fearless. I was a woman on a mission with a vision and a plan.
Then something unexpected happened. 10 months passed by and clients were barely trickling in. My emergency fund was drained, I was overwhelmed by all the unexpected roles I found myself playing, & my confidence, motivation and drive disappeared. I was burnt out.
Although stressful, that experience taught me invaluable lessons and laid the foundation for my present day success.
These 7 pieces of advice to help you during your first year as a solopreneur are a combination of my personal experience and research.
Knowing what to expect as a new entrepreneur will help you decide if this is the right road for you to take. And if you do decide that entrepreneurship is for you, this advice will help alleviate some of the growing pains that come with starting a new business. 7 Success (& Survival Tips) for New and Aspiring Solopreneurs
1. Look out for Imposter Syndrome Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are not qualified enough to be in your position and that you are faking it. All of the accomplishments that you’ve achieved so far have been due to luck or don’t count for some reason. And you worry that others will find out that you are a fraud. You are not an imposter, your achievements matter, and your qualifications are valid. The next time these thoughts begin to creep in your mind, call them out for what they are. Acknowledging that it’s imposter syndrome takes away some of its power.
2. Prepare to Wear Many Hats
I’m a graphic designer, marketer, copywriter, social media manager, administrator, and the talent in my business. That being said, the only thing that I was actually trained for was coaching- yet coaching is only about 10% of my day.
If you’re like most people, you will have limited funds during the start up phase of your business. And this means that until you’ve reached the stage where you can afford to outsource, you will be doing a lot more than you bargained for.
Two extra tips:
i. Make marketing a priority. Take the time to discover a marketing strategy that works for you and
ii. AUTOMATE. I couldn’t imagine scheduling appointments via email, manually delivering promotional content, updating Pinterest daily and coaching. Automation will save you time and preserve your sanity.
3. Adopt a 9-5 Mentality This one was the game changer for me.
Freedom was my biggest weakness. Being able to take Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off because I wasn’t feeling myself or was overwhelmed screwed me.
Building up the discipline is one of those struggles that no one really talks about when starting a business.
To avoid going through this phase try this.
Imagine you were a construction worker. You wouldn’t call in because you weren’t feeling great. You buckle up and show up to work. If you were a secretary, you wouldn’t leave until you completed your deadlines for the day or take a 2 hour break in the middle of the day.
Keep this mentality in your own business.
Be accountable to yourself. Print a time-card sheet and track your daily hours if you need to.
During my first week of practicing this, I was able to complete a marketing project that I had been putting off for months, in 3 days!
4. Take Breaks
Schedule your breaks and honor them the same way you would honor a meeting with a manager.
Burnout is real and you are not immune.
5. Accept that Fear and Mistakes Will Follow You Around
You will never feel 100% ready.
Taking another course and making that last adjustment will not get rid of your fears.
You’ve got to move courageously and act in spite of your fear.
You will also make mistakes. And that’s okay.
Don’t wallow in them.
Reflect. Learn. Grow. Move On.
6. Keep Your Goals to Yourself
Talking about your goals actually demotivates you and decreases your likelihood of following through.
There’s a scientific explanation about the detrimental effect that sharing your goal has on your unconscious mind and consequently on your actions.
For the a simplified break down of this process I recommend this article.
For the sake of your motivation show, don’t tell.
7. You will have Zero Days
Even 9-5 jobs allow you to take some sick days. Self-care expert or not, there will be days when you get nothing done on your list.
It happens, running a business is hard, you are human, and this is all new.
Don’t beat yourself up. You’ve been giving your best and now you’re running on empty.
a. Listen to your mind and and observe your body
b. Give yourself the time to recharge
c. Re-center, refocus, and get back on track
Bonus : Improvise
Strategic Planning is only 1/2 of the battle.
Yes, you should have a clearly defined vision and make a detailed plan on how to accomplish it.
But, don’t forget to prepare yourself to adapt when nothing goes as planned- because there will be a time when nothing goes as planned.
It’s well known that determination, drive, and discipline are some of the key ingredients to success.
But, flexibility is equally as important.
Growing pains are inevitable. If your goal is big enough you will hit roadblocks.
Preparation can decrease the intensity of these pains, but once you start up in the real world you will struggle and obstacles will get in your way. Luckily, your first year as a soloprenuer has some wonderful sides to it too.
The Other Lessons You'll Learn...
1. You Will Be Incredibly Impressed… With Yourself Yes, there will be days when doubt and regret flood your thoughts. But then, there will be days when you reflect on everything that you’ve done- the risks you’ve taken, the courage you’ve displayed, and the skills you’ve picked up along the way.
And you will be amazed with you.
2. Everything Else Dulls in Comparison Sure you are stressed, tired, overwhelmed, and life is incredibly hectic right now. While knowing the exact amount of money coming in every month was a beautiful time of your life, you know that there is absolutely no way that you could go back to your 9-5. Working for yourself and building your empire is just too rewarding.
You are doing what you love, the risk is low-key of thrilling, and you wouldn’t change this for anything.
3. Those Growing Pains are Molding You into a Badass
You know so much more than you did a couple months ago.
Hell, you know more today than you did last week!
You're growing at an exponential level and it’s an absolutely incredible experience.
You’ve got this.
Until the next time
P.s. have you checked out the Life by Design Planner Yet?
It includes fun and effective activities to gain clarity on what you want and design your best year yet.
It then turns into a planner with room for you to make quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals.
To check it out and get your instant copy, click here.