One Simple Way to Avoid Big Problems in Your Solopreneur Business

One Simple Way to Avoid Big Problems in Your Solopreneur Business

When you’re managing a solo business, you never know what sort of problem is going to pop up. Something slips through the cracks. A detail gets lost. No matter how careful you are, you’re just one person, and there are only so many plates you can keep spinning at one time! What can you do to keep one from crashing? Your best strategy is to make things simple. Checklists make things simple. They document routines. They standardize the tasks you do on a regular basis. They eliminate having to think your way through every step of an activity; you simply follow the checklist. You perform the same set of actions, in the same way, in the same order, every time. As our business becomes more complex, we discover that our focus isn’t so easy to maintain and our memory isn’t as reliable as we thought. Especially when it comes to what should be routine matters, we’re shocked to find that obvious and important things are easily overlooked. Even well-entrenched habits can fail us. Checklists rescue us. When we rely on habit alone, we’re likely to skip a step here and there even though they’re part of the routine. The assumption that this small step doesn’t really need to be done in this exact way, gives us permission to do it in some other way, which leads to dropping it altogether if we think it won’t make a difference. Unless a bad outcome is immediately apparent, the revised process gradually becomes the new habit. Eventually, the accumulation of seemingly unimportant changes or omissions can have grave and unforeseen consequences. Remember...
3 Ways to De-Stress Your Solopreneur Life

3 Ways to De-Stress Your Solopreneur Life

If there’s anyone who lives with constant stress, it’s today’s solopreneur! The very definition means that you’ve taken on the responsibility for running your business single-handedly! While having your own business can be very rewarding, allowing you to do work you love for clients who value your talents, there’s no question that there’s a lot of pressure. Anything you can do to de-stress your life is a big step in the right direction! Here are a few suggestions: 1.  Make it easy to work anywhere. If you haven’t yet moved your files to the cloud, I suggest you do it right now. Instantly, you’ll discover how astonishingly convenient it is to be able to access all your documents from anywhere you happen to be! You’ll never again have to copy files to flash drives or attach them to emails in order to work on a project while traveling. You’ll also eliminate the confusion of wondering if you have the most recent version of whatever you’re working on. With only one version, available from any device, you’re always certain.   2.  Delegate tasks. As a solopreneur, you may scoff, “Who in the world am I going to delegate to? It’s just me here!” In fact, the reason you’ve chosen to run your business solo may very well be specifically to avoid the complications and complexities that come with employees. The truth is, you need to find others who can take on those tasks that don’t require your personal touch. Otherwise, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. This is one of the benefits of networking...

What’s the Difference Between Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs?

The term, “solopreneur” has become quite popular in recent years. Sometimes it’s used interchangeably with the word “entrepreneur,” but there are distinct differences between the two. The differences may not be readily apparent, however, since some entrepreneurs work alone until their businesses are large enough to need a team. In general, those who choose solopreneurship over entrepreneurship are usually not interested in building a large business. Many of them start solo businesses with no intention of ever adding employees. Here are the basic differences: 1.  Entrepreneurs dream of a buyout. Many entrepreneurs initiate their businesses with heavy outside investment, counting on being acquired by a larger company for millions of dollars in profits. At that point, they’ll pocket significant gains and move on to their next adventure. 2.  Solopreneurs dream of a business they can run by themselves. Most solopreneurs, in contrast, prefer small businesses they can capitalize and manage on their own. They don’t want to negotiate with outside parties or manage investor expectations. They tend to work in one type of business, becoming expert in that particular industry. 3.  Entrepreneurs focus on their business. Entrepreneurs frequently choose to be out socializing with colleagues, making connections with potential investors or partners and leaving their team behind to do the actual work. They thrive on the energy and excitement of the start-up and growth phases. They look to delegate administrative and technical tasks as quickly as possible so they can focus on increasing the value of their businesses to a potential buyer. The work itself is often of less interest, and they may start up multiple unrelated businesses throughout their careers. 4. ...
Hate Disorganized Paperwork? 8 Ways to Keep It Under Control

Hate Disorganized Paperwork? 8 Ways to Keep It Under Control

One thing about solopreneurs—while the challenges they face may be similar, each person has his or her own way of dealing with them. Every business has its own personal style, and so does every business owner. Take paperwork. Despite everyone’s intentions to move toward paperless offices, many of our documents remain in hard copy. And when it comes to keeping that paper organized, there’s no single method that works for everyone. Most would acknowledge, however, that traditional filing is a chore they’d rather avoid altogether. Therefore, they keep postponing it until all that loose paper degenerates into unidentifiable stacks of stuff scattered all over the office. Then, when something truly important can’t be found, panic ensues—followed by renewed resolutions to stay on top of this tedious task. Things can get really bad. I had one client who was so disorganized that whenever he got a call from a customer, he claimed to be on the “other line” at just that moment, and would need to call back. Which he did—as soon as he was able to locate the client’s file! Clearly, there should be a better way. For those who hate filing, but also hate disorganized paperwork, you may be interested to know that it’s possible to avoid both. Begin by minimizing the amount of paper you need to deal with in the first place! Try these strategies: 1. Stop incoming paper at the source. Paper you never receive is paper you don’t have to file. Or keep organized. Or keep at all. Eliminate this excess paper altogether by unsubscribing from magazines, catalogs, and other mailings that aren’t useful....
3 Time Management “Rules” You Should Break!

3 Time Management “Rules” You Should Break!

If there’s anyone in this world who understands the need for good time management, it’s a solopreneur. Solopreneurs are doing every job in their business, all at the same time! Just keeping track of all those tasks is challenging, but actually doing them is another story entirely. That’s why just about everything you read these days includes tips for getting things done. Surprisingly, though, some of the most common rules don’t work very well for most people. Maybe it’s time to break them! How have these following rules worked for you? 1.  Plan your day the night before That sounds like you’re planning ahead; however, the night before is way too late to identify potential problems. The project that’s due on Monday? Sunday evening is no time to realize you need more information before you can complete it! You should have started on that thing weeks ago. 2.  Complete three high-priority tasks every day If only our work would be distributed so evenly! To the contrary, some days are light; others are heavy. And when you’re managing a business single-handedly, unexpected issues always pop up. So you may end up having to change plans at the last minute, or working until all hours, or realizing some things can’t get done at all. Undone tasks spilling over from one day to the next is stress you don’t need. If you couldn’t get yesterday’s three tasks done, what now? Just forget about them? Complete six tasks today? 3.  Keep a to-do list Everybody has them, but deep down we know they don’t work! If they did, you wouldn’t have items on...
Does E-mail Drive You Crazy?

Does E-mail Drive You Crazy?

You want to start a sure-fire gripe session? Just mention e-mail. People groan. They roll their eyes. They get too much. It takes all day to clear out their inbox. They can’t get “real” work done because they’re too tied up with e-mail. It’s the number one complaint among business owners. For most of us, the real problem is how we use e-mail: We check it every few minutes, because we’re afraid we’ll miss something, or because we’re putting off something else we don’t feel like doing right now. But that’s a constant disruption to our other work, preventing us from getting up to cruising speed where we’re deep “in the zone,” being seriously productive. We respond immediately, because we’re happy to avoid doing that other thing, or because we want to look like we’re on the ball. The truth is, few messages are so urgent that they deserve top priority. If something’s on fire, someone will phone you about it, not send an e-mail. Responding immediately just trains other people to expect you’ll do that all the time. Then, when you don’t, they’ll interrupt you by calling to find out why you’re not answering their e-mail! We sign up for all kinds of newsletters that look interesting, and might, in fact, be worth reading if we had nothing else to do. But unless the content is immediately applicable to the work we’re doing, we usually don’t have time for non-essentials. So we leave them in our inbox to get to “later.” We use our e-mail inbox as a to-do list. We don’t decide when we will actually do...