How To Start a Home Business as a Solopreneur
This is a guest post from Jori Hamilton (see more about her at the end of the article). Thanks Jori…
Starting a business on your own can feel daunting. When you’re a solopreneur, you end up wearing many hats. You’re the CEO, the marketing director, the accountant, the HR manager, and the employee all rolled up into one. And if that sounds like a lot, just wait until you have an employee dispute! 😉
When you are the one in charge of all these separate “departments,” it’s easy to fall behind or to feel overwhelmed trying to handle everything at once. However, working as a solopreneur and growing your home business is not impossible – it helps to have some focus an planning.
In this article, we’ll offer guidance on how to start a small business on your own, as well as tips on how to make it as a solopreneur and achieve success.
So you know you want to run a small business from home, but you aren’t sure where to get started. Knowing what to do to get the ball rolling is understandably confusing or stressful for some, but you can make it happen.
To start, you need to have a plan with some clearly defined goals laid out. Short-term, this can look like coming up with a general plan for how your business is going to work and what you are going to need to get it officially up and running.
This can include coming up with a name, getting your business officially registered, and obtaining any necessary permits or a license. You should also clearly identify what it is you will be doing as a business, such as what products you will be making or what services you will be providing. Short-term planning should also include some budgeting and financial work to determine what you can afford and how much money you need to bring in to earn a stable income.
For the long-term plan, you should decide where you want or need to be down the road to ensure your business is working the way you need it to. This can include a five-month plan or five-month goals, a one-year plan, a five-year plan, or a ten-year plan. Though five and ten years can seem a ways off, it’s important to have a plan and goals in mind as this will help you work towards something specific, which can help keep you on track and works as a sort of guide, so you aren’t just doing things aimlessly.
The next step in strategic planning for a new business is to determine who you are as a business. In other words, what is your brand image and identity?
We’re not talking about what your business is called, but what it is that your business represents and stands for. Brand image is an important part of making a name for yourself and connecting with your customers. It is essentially your core values and guiding principles that define who you are and why you do what you do.
These can be things like compassion, empathy, sustainability, inclusivity, equity, etc. It can also include things that tell people what your “vibe” is. Is your brand fun and quirky? Chill and laid-back? Thoughtful and sincere?
It’s important to determine your brand identity as this can help guide you in what you do, and it informs your customers of what to expect from your business.
Next, you’ll want to take some time thinking about who your ideal customers are. If you don’t know who your product or service is for, then how can you expect to appeal to their interests and get them to buy what you’re selling?
So take some time and do some research to identify who your target audience is based on your brand and what you’re selling. Getting into the mind of your consumers can take time, and it’s something you want to be thoughtful about, but it’s not impossible. And in the end, it will help you create more thoughtful products or services that connect more with your customers.
Of course, no home business is complete without the right tools and equipment to get you started. As a solopreneur, it is especially important to have the right office equipment and other tools to support you since you are doing everything yourself — just make sure you dispose of all this equipment correctly when you upgrade or replace it. Plenty of office equipment contains storage media even if they don’t have hard drives.
Doing it right might mean you have to spend a bit more than you’d like upfront, but it will be worth it in the long run. You should also focus on buying things that can help you automate your processes as much as possible, as this can help relieve some of your workload.
So focus on things that help you stay organized, software and tools that can make task completion easier, and any other tools or equipment you need to create your products or provide your services. A well-equipped home office is the key to getting you started.
As a solopreneur, you will also have to handle all of your digital marketing. And the most essential part of marketing to your customers today is having an online presence. Your small business must be online if you want to attract customers and make sales.
This not only means having a website where your customers can learn all about you and contact you, but you should also have a social media presence as well. The majority of today’s consumers interact with brands through social media. If you have a website but aren’t doing anything to market your business on social media, then your customers won’t find you as easily.
So building a quality website and having an active social media presence is a crucial part of running a successful home business.
Finally, with so much data being shared and stored online today, it’s also important for you to have a solid cybersecurity strategy to protect your business. Data breaches and cyber-attacks happen more often now than ever before, and the last thing you want when you are running a business on your own is to get hacked. This can put both your business and your customers at risk. So make sure you have good data security the moment you get up and running.
Tips for Becoming a Successful Solopreneur
Running a business on your own isn’t easy. If you want to grow your business into something successful, you will have to work hard and will likely spend a lot of your time dedicated to this endeavor. But if you are dedicated and willing to put in the effort, you can make it happen.
Below are some tips for solopreneurs to help you achieve success:
- Know your passion and remember why you are doing what you are doing.
- Do what you need to stay motivated.
- Network with like-minded people who can support you and inspire you.
- Stick to the plan and stay organized as much as possible.
- Remember, you’re only human—take breaks when you need them.
- Don’t let money be what drives you—money isn’t everything.
- Have fun and have patience.
At the end of the day, the work you put in determines the success you will have. Of course, things can happen that are out of your control. Starting a business on your own does come with risks. But the more you plan and prepare yourself, and the harder you work, the more likely you are to overcome any hurdles or roadblocks that stand in your way.
Just remember to also give yourself time to relax and enjoy your free time. If you burn yourself out, you won’t be able to do the hard work needed to grow your business. It’s all about balance. Work hard and then reward yourself with a break when you need it.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, marketing strategies, and HR solutions. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach