Get the help you need to be a great solopreneur business owner

by Michele on September 20, 2011

Solopreneurs should get the help they need

Solopreneurs should get the help they need

When I first started my business, I didn’t work exactly in my current specialty.  I started as a professional organizer who specialized in productivity, systems and time management for entrepreneurs.  Like most solopreneurs, my focus has changed and will probably continue to evolve over time.

Like many solopreneurs, I assumed all I had to do was set up an online brochure (aka a website), print some cards and get to it.  I knew my stuff and got great results so how could word not spread like wildfire right?  Ha, ha.  Wrong.

I thought I’d be spending a little time every week on “business,” things like paperwork and an occassional lunch or coffee meeting.  Even with my extensive business background I was unprepared for just how important it is to be an excellent business owner and not just an excellent provider of whatever you offer.

Fast forward a few years, and investments of time, money and energy into my own  learning and I’m so much wiser.  What I finally get now is that as much as we spend time getting the skills we sell up to par, we have to invest in getting business skills up to par as well.  You can be the best at what you do, but if you don’t run a solid business you won’t be successful.  Like it or not, the day you opened shop you became a business owner.

That brings me to the point of this article – get help with the business part of your business.  No matter how great you are at what you do, you still need to run a business that works great for you and there are people and products that can help you with this.  Of couse, this is what I do so it would be dishonest to say I wouldn’t be thrilled if you choose me for help.  However, I’m hugely committed to the success of solopreneurs everywhere, so if I’m not your pick that’s fine but please pick someone or something.

Getting help with your business should not only be a non-negotiable in your set-up, but it should also be an ongoing activity you are always doing.  Now that I see how much this kind of help can shortcut my success, I’m always on the lookout for the next thing to boost me.  Start paying attention to what your are having difficulty with so you can be on the lookout for your next solution.  Whatever problem you are having, it’s likely someone else has faced it, solved it and now sells the solution to.

One final point – beware of any purchasing more help than you’ve implemented.  Try to only buy as much as you can put into practice soon, otherwise you’ll end up with a backlog of “shelf help,” i.e. things you’ve paid for but haven’t implemented and are sitting on the shelf and not helping you.  The only time I make an exception to this is when I see something at a really great price that I know I will need soon.

What kind of help do you use in your business? What has it helped you achieve?  What do you wish you had gotten help on sooner?


  1. Jessica says:

    Hi Michele! You had me chuckling when you said, “I thought I’d be spending a little time every week on “business,” things like paperwork and an occassional lunch or coffee meeting.”

    I chuckled because that’s exactly what I thought, too! Wow. Then again, I wonder if I’d known the truth if I would have been so eager to start a business. (Which is funny because even though my innocence around business-running is long gone, I’m still so happy to be a business owner, so it might have stopped me way back then, but managing it all [with help!] is also easier than I probably would have anticipated.)

    Your point about not purchasing more help than you’ve implemented is brilliant! Purchasing too much definitely gets overwhelming (and expensive!).

    1. Michele says:

      Jessica, interesting how the perspective changes… the truth about managing a business might have stopped you from doing something you love and now it’s not such a big deal. Wow, to think what might not have been. BTW – I know firsthand about buying more than you can implement! I’m on a buying diet and an implementation burst right now.

  2. Dawn Mentzer says:

    Great points Michele – so very true! Being a solopreneur demands time and energy not only in the work done for clients, but in all the business management tasks as well.

    As a solopreneur and a SCORE mentor, I caution new business owners to make sure they don’t delegate or outsource away all of the tasks they enjoy most because they feel obligated to be the business “manager”. Keeping your hands on some of the actual “work” will keep you energized – and if you’ve got someone you trust doing some of the mundane yet necessary admin stuff, you & your business will both benefit.

    1. Michele says:

      Thanks Dawn! I think your idea of keeping some of the “work” yourself is a good one and it’s an idea I haven’t heard before. It seems like a person could outsource themselves right out of what they started the business to do.

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