Building a business online is hard work – I figure I’d get that out of the way before I get into the more palatable part of this post. It would be presumptuous to think that the road to success is easy and streamlined. Unfortunately, great ideas and the passion to execute them are not enough to ensure victory. So here are some steps I’m taking to keep me on track for a much higher chance of success.
Clarity is King
According to Fortune Magazine, the single biggest reason most businesses fail is because they created products nobody wanted. To be successful, the key is to identify a problem and then find a way to solve it. A market that’s looking for a solution, and not finding any results, will be your biggest asset.
How I’m doing it: Pre-launch – Start before you start
My first 1st 6 months have been dedicated to taking on clients before I launch officially in 2019. That means offering discounted consulting work, which is helping me build up my confidence, get clear on my process and get client testimonials. The information garnered has especially been helpful in getting clarity around the problem I solve, for who and how.
Content is Queen
Content warms up your audience so that they can gain trust in your ability to help them. Relevant and valuable content that addresses the problems of your audience allows you to showcase your ability to solve a problem. And as engagement around your brand grows, your content will spark conversations that will give you as well your audience insight into issues your audience are interested in.
How I’m doing it: Build a targeted and engaged audience via my business Facebook page.
I categorized general themes around my business that guide my conversations online. I’m also aware of the value of live video and so primarily use Facebook live to host a monthly content series aligned to a product/service that converts prospect to paying clients.
Consistency is key
Starting out as a solopreneur can be a lonely and difficult journey. Don’t make it even harder by trying to do everything yourself. Find a way to connect with other people in a similar situation for support and encouragement. You have options that range from networking events, to Facebook groups to talking to a business coach, or getting an accountability partner.
Its also important to remember that you are in business to make a living. So unless you have a trust fund or sponsor that supports you, making money is the priority. That means focusing on income producing activities.
How I’m doing it: Getting organized for maximum productivity
Community – I joined a group coaching program where I work with other new and seasoned business owners on different strategies suited to my business.
Accountability – I have weekly accountability calls with my business bestie to discuss progress with regards to income goals and related income producing activities. This is something I value and I’m grateful for in terms of encouragement and necessary tough love to keep going.
Productivity – Organization looks different for everyone, but here are some areas I’m working on to feel a little more on top of my admin, systems and processes:
- Communication & CRM: Put in place a system that automates client communication and tracks leads. I use mailchimp.
- Schedule & Time tracking: I created a schedule that allocates SUFFICIENT time to key business activities (prioritizes my income producing activities such as my weekly Facebook live videos).
- Productivity & to-do lists: Find a system that helps you stay on track and get your shit done. I use the bullet journal and even host a monthly meetup called BUJO & Brunch in Johannesburg to review and plan out the month with accountability.
Confidence is crucial
…the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone i.e. yourself and your ability to achieve success.
Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally, because owning a business means constantly having to figure things out (your website, your positioning, your social media accounts, your contracts, always wondering where your next paycheck is coming from ….). Unlike a 9-5, you need to get conformable with uncertainty and unending hustling. Your business isn’t going to build itself. You have to find the motivation every day to move your business forward. You constantly need to balance between building your client pipeline, delivering on client work, marketing your biz and dealing with the never-ending admin that comes with doing everything yourself. No day is the same, which makes it interesting, but the work never, ever ends. And you need to be ok with that.
How I’m doing it: Master your mindset
As a service-based business, your attitude is the billboard of your business. I keep mine positive with inspiration from other entrepreneurs and wise words such as these: The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.
Granting myself grace – I got this pearl of wisdom from my business coach. Doing anything new is a learning process and that means there will be highs and lows. Understanding that this is a journey – and a brave one at that allows me to be much more compassionate to myself. I don’t always get it right the first time and I’m ok with that. I knew starting my own business was going to be a challenge, and I did it anyway. For me, the fulfillment I get from living and working with purpose and passion is worth the struggle that goes with it.