As a solopreneur, I need to keep motivating myself every few months — to achieve a new target, look for new projects, connect with more people, and essentially do what it takes to continue to grow… Otherwise, it’s easy to slip into a happy and comfortable state of inertia.
Being away from the workforce takes the pressure off you in some sense. Your targets don’t determine your incentives (what you earn is what you get), your work is not reviewed every six months during appraisal time…and you have no team to help keep your energy levels high.
In a nutshell, there is no external motivation… And that’s why, every now and then, you need to reboot and recharge your personal enterprise, so as to keep you in business and keep your creative quotient high.
Healthy doses of vitamin M (in this case motivation) do both — raise your creative spirit and improve your bank balance! But what tools do you use to keep yourself motivated, month after month, year after?
Here are some ideas…
1. Revisit your vision
While the easy way to raise the bar is by upping the target, or increasing revenue, another way could be to find a new purpose altogether…or to revisit your vision, and see how you can build on it.
Going back to the vision board every quarter is probably a good idea for entrepreneurs and solopreneurs to remind you of what you had envisioned at the start, and if you’ve achieved it thus far. It also helps you assess if you have deviated from the vision, or if you need to incorporate more into the vision.
So, if you started out by providing a particular service to clients, which you were doing yourself, could you perhaps stop doing that service yourself, and consult for it instead?
This would mean creating a whole new set of business tools, that make you think differently, and are also more client-centric… Because the approach helps the client’s enterprise become a more sustainable one, where instead of leaning on an external vendor, they can now create most of what they need in-house.
But that does not mean they will not need you anymore? No, it actually means they will need you more…because you will become the go-to expert for all their problems, and you will move from being merely a vendor to being mentor/advisor to the client — an irreplaceable position for sure.
You will also earn more as a consultant, as you spend less time on execution and more time on delivery, eventually helping you have a greater turnaround, and impact a larger number of clients.
2. Expand your service range
You’ve probably worked with every kind of client from every kind of industry… And you’re probably thinking, ‘What more can I do?’
But the question to ask is, ‘What have you still not done?’ With the digital medium, growing so fast and pervading every aspect of our lives, there’s a good chance that we haven’t explored every facet of it yet. We probably still haven’t understood how else we could contribute to it.
As a content writer, I often get asked if I’ve written scripts for web series, and my honest answer is, ‘Not yet.’ Simply because I’m happy to explore it if given an opportunity.
Likewise, every service provider or consultant will have some unexplored business avenues that you simply need to seek out, and perhaps spend a little time researching before you foray into it.
So, always can keep an open mind for expansion, and also keep tracking your industry to gauge its needs, and how you could probably play a small — even if only experimental — role in it.
3. Rework your branding
Branding essentially stands for how people recognise and perceive your enterprise. While a lot of it is conveyed through imagery — your logo, signature etc — it is essentially also built through the values you stand for, and the quality of services you provide.
The basic ethos of your services, and your beliefs as an individual service provider or consultant are best conveyed through promotional campaigns. Marketing and branding are as important to individuals and small enterprises as it is to the big companies who set aside budgets for the same.
As an individual, you needn’t spend big bucks, all you need to do is spend time strategising a promotional campaign for yourself… You can draft emailers or short messages that you can send out to your contact list. You can also write micro-blogs on your expertise, and put it up on social networking platforms.
These simple exercises will help you rethink what services you can add, how you can make your brand more appealing and accessible, and ultimately reach out to more people.
AB testing, which is essentially about creating two versions of the same message, and sending it out to two different sets of people, will also help you know which of your campaigns is resonating better with your audience.
These are just a few ways to reinvent yourself as a solopreneur…I’m sure there are many more and feel free to write about your own strategies below. But the important point is to consciously focus on reinvention, to keep it at the centre of what you do, and not let it enter your solopreneur life only when you see yourself wasting away, and not generating enough business.
Business can slump, but your mindset must always be alive and vigilant, ready to incorporate and let go of anything that is not serving you and your business.
For this to happen, work at always staying fit — mentally, emotionally, physically and financially…because only when these aspects are in balance can you take the necessary time and risk to reinvent yourself and your business, to keep it profitable and always in the green!
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