The Accomplished Solopreneur

Issue 23.09

Saturday, March 4, 2023

The top 4 problems all solopreneurs struggle with (#4)

We’re on to problem #4 of the top four problems most solopreneurs struggle with. So far we’ve covered:

  1. I’m overwhelmed (and I don’t know what to focus on next)
  2. I need more leads (marketing)
  3. I don’t know how to do XYZ
  4. I don’t know if I’m doing it right

We’re on to the last of the top four problems every solopreneur struggles with: I don’t know if I’m doing it right.

Remember, it’s about mindset as well as skillset

A brief reminder:

Mindset and skillset work together to solve a problem. Developing a skillset also requires that you change, or evolve, your mindset.

Now on to the last problem.

Problem #4: I don’t know if I’m doing it right

If you’ve been marketing for a while and there ain’t no leads showing up - do you need to change your marketing? Do you need to do more? Do you need to market in different places?

Here’s what I recommend.

Ask Google

The first option, and most often the easy way out, is to “ask Google”, or search the Internet using your favourite search engine.

This is a great option if your problem is how to do something small and well-defined (how to fix a leaking tap). It’s a whole different matter when the problem is complex and vague (how to get more leads).

Looking for the answer to a broad problem on the Internet (how to get more leads for your business) is mostly going to result in broad answers. Most of the time you won’t find anything specific to help you because “the Internet” can’t see what (specifically) you’re doing and comment on it.

But there is wisdom to be gained. If you search (and browse) long enough, you’re going to see patterns. If most advice says you have to show up consistently, you can pretty much assume this is “true”. Then you have to decide what to do about it.

But “surfing for answers” can also result in hours and hours down countless rabbit holes. Use with care.

Sign up for a course (or buy a book)

Courses and books can be very useful (this is how I learnt to write articles), but there are two big questions you have to ask yourself:

  • Is the author (of the book or course) successful at this themselves?
  • Are there testimonials that talk about the successes previous students have achieved as a result of following the course?

This last point is particularly important. Testimonials are a great way to provide social proof of something. But be careful of what the testimonials say.

For example, if the course promises X-ray vision, there are two types of testimonials:

  • “Absolutely loved this course! Fun, entertaining and I learnt so much.”
  • “After taking this course I can see through walls!”

The first testimonial says nothing about the outcome - yes, it’s a great course and fun and all that, but did it work? The second testimonial clearly says so.

Start a Mastermind

I’ve been part of a small Mastermind group (3 to 4 of us) for a number of years. We’re all entrepreneurs, in various stages of building our businesses, in different disciplines, and with very different personalities. We get together once a week for 20-30 minutes and once or twice a year for half- or full-day strategy sessions.

When I look back at all the big breakthroughs I’ve had with my business, I can trace just about every single one back to the Mastermind group.

There are a number of reasons this works:

  • Honest feedback. It’s easy to fall in love with your own thoughts. Outside feedback is critical.
  • Accountability. Over the years we’ve had a number of “challenges” we set for ourselves - or jointly. We ask for help, encouragement and stern words when required.
  • Bouncing ideas. It’s only when you have to articulate something to someone else that you really understand what you’re trying to do.
  • How do I …? None of us are experts in everything, but we all have different levels of expertise in different areas. Asking for their experience with something has always been invaluable.

If you do start a Mastermind, make sure it’s with people who will be honest with each other. Telling someone they’re doing fine all the time doesn’t help them move forward.

Join a community

There are many “communities” for solopreneurs. Online, co-working spaces, accelerators, even your local Chamber of Commerce. Look for something where:

  • people actually give each other helpful advice
  • there are at least some experts (experienced people) around who are willing to share their advice
  • a friendly and helpful atmosphere.

This can be a slower route to finding out if you’re doing something right, but it can take you a lot further than being alone or in a small group.

Get someone to fix it for you

Then of course there’s the option to get someone to fix it for you. Hire an expert to fix your marketing / build a website. If you can afford to invest in something like this, do your homework: check their past clients to see what results they’ve had before.

That’s problem #4 - am I doing it right?

In summary, you can find out if you’re doing something right (or how to fix it), in four different ways:

  • Ask Google
  • Course or book
  • Mastermind
  • Community
  • Get an expert to solve it for you.

Hope that helps.