9 Insider Tips for Solo Entrepreneurs

Many of us would love to be our own boss at some point in our life, but getting there, (and staying there,) can be harder than most people think. Even the most successful business will have started off small, and the initial struggle to get it to grow was probably enormous. Of all the skills and traits that can help a solo entrepreneur make it to the top, discipline is the most valuable. Only self-discipline allows the creation of a healthy balance between personal and business life.If you're thinking of starting a solo company and you're focused, and hard-working, there's a good chance you'll have every success. But there are a few things you should expect on your journey to the top. Here's a list of 8 tips for starting a solo business:


1. Expect ups and downs

A common mistake is to believe that once you have created a business plan, and you stick to it, nothing can possibly go wrong. Sadly, this is not the case. Running a new business is a rollercoaster of highs and lows that demands you keep your wits about you at all times. Of course, celebrate the highs, but at the same time you should acknowledge the lows and work on them constantly. The more positive you can stay and the harder you work on your initial mistakes, the better the chances of your business becoming a success.


2. Be realistic

Starting a business requires heaps of enthusiasm, and it's okay to dream a little about how great everything will work out. It's important, however, to not promote yourself too much, too quickly as this could come back to bite you later. True, you'll want your clients and customers to have good reasons to keep coming back, but you should be realistic about what you can deliver. For example, you're offering discounts and gifts to your clients, (which is a great idea as it shows that you appreciate them,) make sure these promotions are sustainable. If not, then you could end up bankrupting your business and losing everything.


3. Brand yourself

You need to give your business a name that stands out from the crowd. A lot of start-ups tend to do a hog-podge job of branding, but this puts them in a weaker position than that of their competitors. Take the time and think about your brand. There are clients and customers out there who are continually looking for brands they can trust, and if you neglect them, you could risk losing a considerable share of your market. Think what would help people remember your business, and try to give your company an image that people can relate to. Ace this, and you can be sure to get heaps of repeat customers and referrals.


4. Be your best client

When you're preparing food for family or friends, you have to at least taste it before you serve it, right? You need to know whether your culinary talents are good enough, or if they require improvement. The same applies to your business. You should always sample your own products or services before launching them onto the markets. This will enable you to identify any problems and areas that could be bettered. You may also gain more ideas and a better insight from using your services and products that could help your company grow.


5. One good idea is not enough

It is true that a large number of successful businesses started with a single, simple idea that then developed into something great. However, if you're relying on your one good idea to be enough, you'll most probably fail. Remember, people will have already had similar ideas to yours. Others will copy and modify your idea, and some may even steal it outright. By all means, if you've created a unique business model, product, or concept, you should run with it. Make sure you keep tweaking and tuning it to continuously adapt, (and react,) to changes in the markets, and to counteract your competition.


6. Do not dwell too much on early success

It's possible your business may pick up right from the start, and you're hitting your targets and goals in just a short period. That’s all great but it can also change very fast. Your aim should be to maintain that success and steadily grow it to reach new heights. For this reason, it's usually better to exercise some restraint and continue at the same pace. Otherwise, you could be caught over-stretched if the market suddenly takes a downturn. Don't take this as an excuse to be overly pessimistic. You shouldn't go looking for trouble where there is none, but you'd be wise to celebrate your success responsibly.


7. You need a mentor

A business or industry mentor can shield you from making the same mistakes they made when they were starting out. If you can, find yourself someone who really has 'been there, done that, got the t-shirt,' and is willing to help you find your way to success. He or she doesn’t have to be in the exact field that you’re in, but they should be a business person who started from a similar position as you. A good mentor can make all the difference between running a mediocre company, and one that could reach heights you never thought possible.


8. Take care of yourself

Neglecting your physical and emotional wellbeing can lead to you losing focus and render you unable to make decisions that you need to be making in your business every single day. Make sure that you exercise, eat right and take regular work breaks to stay fit and keep yourself in the right state of mind to run your company. Think of yourself as the engine to the success of your business, and once that engine breaks down, all bets are off.


And lastly,

Always try to approach difficult times and situations with an open mind. Remember, fear and lack of discipline can cost you everything so there's nothing wrong with hoping for the best but expecting the worst. The journey of a solo entrepreneur can be an exciting one indeed, just be prepared to take the rough with the smooth, and allow yourself the very best shot at success.

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