Four Tips for Solo Entrepreneur Success
There are many perks to being your own boss: flexible hours, working from home, calling the shots. But it can also feel lonely. As an entrepreneur, you may have to wear multiple hats and work long hours. But don’t feel like you have to do it alone. Here are the little-known secrets fellow entrepreneurs use to avoid feeling isolated or overwhelmed.
Join a meet-up group. When you’re flying solo, you may not have employees or colleagues to bounce ideas off. Networking and sharing tips, tools and resources at a meet-up group with other like-minded individuals could be just what you need to keep motivated and move your business to new heights. Laura Roeder, founder of MeetEdgar.com, a company that develops social media marketing technology for small businesses, recommends that solo entrepreneurs also join non-business-related groups. “You’ll be inspired when you see how people are doing things in other industries,” Roeder says. “Cross-industry brainstorming and collaboration result in more innovative solutions.”
Consider a co-working space. Working from home in your pajamas every day may not be as motivating and productive as you thought it would be. Renting space in a shared work environment can help you ditch the distractions and maintain your sanity. “Co-working is a cure for the loneliness solo entrepreneurs often feel,” says Roeder. It provides not just workspace but exposure to a mix of entrepreneurs with different—and oftentimes complementary—skill sets, such as writers, designers and developers. “Co-working also provides an opportunity to build referral networks and establish mutually beneficial partnerships,” she adds. “Change out of your PJs, get out of your home office and go shake some hands,” says Molchadski. “If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.”
Build a dream team. Vlad Molchadski, CEO of the Dallas-based digital marketing firm Biz Traffic LLC, recommends adding a SCORE mentor to the team. SCORE is a nonprofit organization that offers business advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Molchadski has been a mentor for three years. “SCORE offers free one-on-one mentoring, workshops, virtual conference calls, webinars and local workshops,” he says. “We have volunteers and mentors from every industry and with a wide range of expertise.”
Support can also be found online, such as on MicroMentor.org.
Maintain personal and professional contacts. Get out of the house and schedule lunch or coffee with some of your contacts from time to time. Your network can be a good source of feedback and may also give you new business leads. Online tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn make staying in touch easy, but nothing takes the place of good old-fashioned face time. “Every dollar you bring in comes from another person,” Roeder says. “If you want to keep your bank account happy and your client roster full, you need to maintain solid relationships.”
It’s safe to say that the key to finding the support and mentoring you need as a solo entrepreneur is to break out of your bubble.
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