3 Biggest Problems and 4 Pillars for Solopreneurs
They lied to us. Didn’t they? We meet them in different ways. Some through Instagram, others through Snapchat, and others through other platforms. Here is what’s similar, they all plugged us the same damn thing.
“Becoming an entrepreneur is not hard. You just have to get started.”
And Boom! Our journey started.
Most of us probably thought the journey will be easy, only to get the surprise of a lifetime. Others thought this one person will make them super successful, and things turned out to be different.
Let us now set the record straight. We will tackle some of the problems we face as solopreneurs. We will also address what really matters.
1. Getting Stuff Done
In other terms, the lack of enough actions that result in accelerated progress.
This may be due to the following reasons i.e
- Poor time management
- Getting stuck in the planning
- Lack of productivity
- Lack of self-motivation/self-drive
- Chasing non-existent perfection
Common with advanced solopreneurs. Still relevant to beginners.
- Lack of organization (next-level organization i.e Sleeping and waking up at the same time and planning your days)
- Lack of optimization (Better organization lead to optimization)
- Not working with a mentor
- Not working with a community
Go through the list and self diagnose. Be brutally honest with yourself. This will help you know what is preventing accelerated progress.
The next step is to do something about it. At the end of the day, it’s all on you. No one is coming to help you. You have to help yourself. The earlier the better. Time is never on your side.
For some, helping yourself is not a one-day thing. It may take time. Fall in love with the process. Every new day is a new opportunity to keep trying. An opportunity to push forward.
In my case for the past 2 years. I have been trying to fight perfection so that I can move faster. Till now I am not there yet, but I keep trying. Moving fast is critical and can make a huge impact.
2. Being A Dabbler
Basically, not sticking to it. This is something else that is preventing accelerated progress.
This is huge, in my case I went through the rabbit hole of dabbling with everything shiny I come across. At the end of it all, I had nothing to show for it and hadn’t made any noteworthy progress. I then decided to focus on my goals and cut off distractions.
Dabbling comes in many forms, not just the whole idea of what you do or your niche.
Dabbling in your lead generation or marketing. Dabbling within the niche. Dabbling with your services or products. Dabbling with your social media pages. (You start an Instagram page for your business. Three months later you delete it and open a twitter account)
Dabbling spreads your effort. It’s literally impossible to grow while dabbling. Don’t confuse dabbling with testing. The purpose of testing is to get results. Testing doesn’t change the focus but dabbling does.
I would say this is the no #1 reason why most solopreneurs never get any worthwhile success. It takes time to build sometime. Most of the time solopreneurs quit without even giving their business a chance to grow.
Shiny object syndrome increases every day. More than ever we are now bombarded with ads from all directions. Whatever you pick, stick with it.
Let not shiny object syndrome deter your path.
If you can suppress the dabbling demon, the battle will be a half won.
3. Lack of awareness (Lost Focus)
This is focusing on activities that have very little ROI based on effort, time, and resources. An example would be, focusing on an activity that requires a huge effort yet it has very little return.
This is a complete lack of awareness. We are setting the record straight.
I see this all the time, people exchanging blog posts read. How many blog posts can you read in a day? This is a negative ROI for your time. Better spend that time doing something better. Something with a long-term gain like writing more blog posts or pitching writing opportunities to get a backlink.
Other good examples are web developers or graphic designers who spam online groups and forums. The audience is not targeted. Unless you are responding to someone with a problem, this is also a negative ROI.
What to do
Learn from the leading experts in your industry. What are they doing? Copy that. Better yet, evaluate by yourself. What are some of the efforts that move the needle for you? Focus on those efforts and ditch the rest.
Let us now look at what matters.
What Really Matters
These three points I am about to lay are very important. They can be your turning point. I wish someone had told me this when I got started.
Yes, you. Another way to put it, personal traits. Your attributes as a person. Let me explain, do you know that one person that you are confident you are smarter than them yet they get way better results than you. Sometimes even 10X better results than you. Yet they know so little while you are a repository of knowledge and skills. That is what am talking about.
Your attributes as a person are a multiplier of success. Not even the best course in the world can beat it.
This can include:
- Being results-oriented.
- Being self-motivated.
- Good self-management i.e time and discipline.
- Capacity to absorb rejection.
- Capacity to keep pushing, not giving up.
- Capacity to push forward under immense challenges
- Insane work ethic etc.
From my experience so far, this is everything. Nothing can beat it, it is the multiplier of success. If I was asked to pick that one thing that really matters. I would pick this one, personal attributes.
In a short story, let’s say there is person A and person B. They all want to start and grow a company
Person A scores 7/10 on the business idea, scores 7/10 on the business model, 5/10 on funding knowledge, and finally scores a 3/10 on personal attributes.
Person B scores a 3/10 on the business idea, another 3/10 on the business model, 5/10 on funding knowledge, and finally 8/10 on personal attributes.
Who do you think will outdo the other?
(Remember we said personal attributes are a multiplier of success)
Let’s do the math.
(Business Idea + Business Model + Funding Knowledge X Personal attribute)
Formulae: BI+BM+FK x PA
7+7+5 X 3= 57
3+3+5 X 8= 88
Person B clearly wins. From the math above you can see why personal attributes matter more than anything else.
Here is the good news, what matters the most more than anything else is fully reliant on YOU.
It’s not locked somewhere. It’s not reserved for the rich or the privileged in society. It’s not in the hands of corrupt leaders. It’s fully on you. You have full control. God is fair. isn’t he?
2. Putting In The Hours. Getting obsessed (The process)
Nothing can substitute putting in the hours. There is no shortcut.
From the best MMA fighter to an e-sports champion, one thing they share, they all put in the hours.
The process is inevitable. Processes build and mold. Diamonds are made from a pressure process. Success is no different, a process must be involved. Fall in love with the process.
Get obsessed with your work. Don’t be the type that works for 20 minutes and wants to take a 30-minute break.
Getting obsessed is real. To achieve it you have to stick with your work. When you feel like leaving your laptop or eating some food in the fridge and it’s not mealtime you resist the feeling. Avoid the temptation at all costs.
Initially, there will be some teething problems. These are perfectly normal but eventually, the obsession kicks in. Where focus goes energy flows. When you don’t feel like working, that’s an energy conflict. Probably you’ve been focusing on other things and your brain wants to continue focusing on those things.
So you have to break the chain by focusing on what matters until your brain gets used to it.
And that’s not the end of it. Once your brain gets used to it you are now on a flow. Once in a while, you will lose your flow and you have to repeat the process all over again.
The last time it happened to me I had taken a one week break. When got I back I had lost my flow. My brain wanted me to keep doing those unproductive things that I was doing during that one week.
3. Moving fast, Speed.
Speed is very critical in life. You remember the duels back in the wild west? If you thought we are out of the wounds, we are not. Only that this time it’s happening in disguise influenced by advanced technology.
Just look at some of the fallen giants in the business world, speed was a factor. And as they fell others rose. Just like in the duels, one person dies the other survives, gains reputation and respect.
Solopreneurs are no exception. To become successful quicker through accelerated progress, you have to move fast. Making mistakes and breaking things shouldn’t be much of a concern. Mistakes are unavoidable and they will always happen. So you better get a good ROI for your time. What is important is progress.
Moving fast is something you can start working on today. Note down all the tasks you need to complete, that is the first step.
The second step is trying to complete each task on your list using the least time possible. Do this every day on each task on your to-do list. Be consistent with it. In a month you will have completed tasks that would have typically taken you 2 or more months to complete.
If you are a perfectionist like me there will always be some friction. That’s okay, keep working on it.
Lastly, as you move fast be adaptive. In your pursuit of speed, things may not go as planned. That is absolutely fine. Important is to get back and maintain the momentum.
Numbers basically means quantity.
Numbers are directly proportional to personal attributes and accelerated progress. A person with great personal attributes has great numbers behind him/her and moves fast.
Let’s say two people get fired from their job. One of them has great personal attributes while the other doesn’t. They then start job hunting at the same time.
The person with good personal attributes will apply for more jobs and attend more interviews(numbers) than the other. Therefore he/she is more likely to get a job faster than his/her counterpart.
The same principles apply in the business world. Solopreneur is no exception. Numbers make a huge difference. You can’t compare a person with 40 youtube videos and another with 15 youtube videos if they both started uploading the same day. If resources are equal the one with 40 will be much more ahead.
Even if you factor in the one with 15 videos production quality can’t compare with the one with 40 videos. The latter will still be ahead if the value provided is constant. In the long run, the difference will be huge.
This can also be reflected when running social media pages. Value constant, you can’t compare a page that posts 6 times a week and another that post 3 times a week. The latter will always be behind. It then boils down to whether posting on social media moves the needle for the business.
Numbers are very crucial in life. Not just in the above two examples. They reflect in your bank account. They show what you are worth and the hard work you’ve put in.
Don’t get it wrong though, quality wins over quantity all the time. But when quality is constant quantity wins. If you can hone both all together you will be on a path to greatness. Pulling this kind of stunt requires speed.
As a solopreneur, a lot is usually at stake. Working alone and getting your desired results is not a walk in the park. You are prone to loneliness, lack of motivation, bad habits, distractions, etcetera.
All these things play a role in keeping you away from your desired results. What if you can hack the system and get some odds in your favor?
The way to do this is loving what you do, passion overrides personal attributes. When you love something you can stick with it even when it feels impossible. This is a trait that can only be observed in individuals with great personal attributes. Passion overrides all that and provides you a way to leverage accelerated progress regardless of your personal attributes.
That’s all for now. I wish you the very best as you grow. Continue pushing and never give up.