One key for prioritizing your solopreneur workload

by Michele on October 3, 2013

When you run a one-person, solopreneur business, there’s a lot to do.  Even if you have outsourced help, there’s still a lot to manage so prioritizing is key.  Solopreneur priorities

One thing that makes it hard is that there are just so many choices in how to gain clients and grow your business.  In both the online and offline worlds, there is more that you could do than you could ever actually do.  So, how to you decide?  Where is the first place to go or what is the first strategy you should implement to start getting clients?

One simple answer is the most likely place.  Don’t go with the most fun, the most popular, or even necessarily what the experts are saying – instead, go with the one client-winning strategy that is most likely to work.  I’ll give you an example of a mistake I made.  Once I had my business up and running for about a year, I did what “everyone” said to do – I joined a local chamber of commerce.  I thought it would give me authority and credibility, and that the contacts I would make would turn into mutually beneficial relationships.  Boy was that a bomb for me!  It turns out, “my” type of people usually don’t hang out at chambers of commerce.  They are great for certain types of business, and I saw lots of people thriving there, but I met almost no referral partners, potential collaborators or potential clients. Solopreneurs just usually don’t join the chamber in my area.  I later became friends with a few other solopreneur business owners who had the same impression of our local chambers.  To be completely fair, I did really enjoy going to this local chamber and others as well and I did meet a few really great people who I’m still in touch with today.

Now had I had this idea of working from most likely to least likely ways to get clients before I joined the chamber, I would have taken a look at the roster and seen who was a member and that very few of them were a match for the type of people I wanted to meet.  It’s easy to see things in hindsight, but I did have to learn it at the time.

Now that I know a little better what do I do?  I go to groups that draw the people I want to meet.  I look for groups of creative, solo business owners and people looking to start home-based businesses.  I use Meetup.com a lot, and I’m on a lot of local mailing lists.

So, what client getting activities are you working on that aren’t the most likely to bring you success?  What can you stop doing so you can make room for something more likely to bring you new clients?

 

Comments

  1. Mozette says:

    Aaahh, I’ve been out and about lately handing out my business cards to anyone who is nailed down to a park bench long enough to talk to. Yep, I’ve been acting like a politician (that sounds really bad, doesn’t it?) But really, what I’ve been doing is talking up Crafty Pegs so people know who I am, that I’m friendly, what kind of work I do and that I will do commissioned works too.

    When I picked up my business cards, I grabbed a handful of them on my grocery shopping day and handed out as many as I could to anyone I talked to that day. I handed out about 15 business cards in that day! And since then, I’ve been still handing them out from an nice card-holder I bought so that when I am out somewhere I can just leave a card or two on a table and people can see what I do and look me up on Facebook.

    More recently, I’ve been going to my Craft Group and just leaving my business card out for the ladies there to pick up and take home. Seeing Christmas is around the corner, I’ve started my business at the right time of year where I’ll start getting commissions for Christmas soon – well I hope so – and I’ll have some money coming in soon.
    I’ve also put a pile of my cards on the noticeboard wall at the Logan Art Gallery and they’ve looked at my Facebook page too and love it! So, I’ve got people there taking my cards too.

    It’s been a little over a month, and I’m gaining popularity in the area… people are looking at my page and are getting to know me. I’m still painting up plenty of pegs and pencils and creating magnets too. So, I’ve just gotta wait for the customers to start buying my product and enjoying it for what it is… a fun little item to have around the house. 😀

    1. Michele says:

      Sounds great, here’s to a good holiday season for you!

  2. Dawn Mentzer says:

    Great points about spending your time networking where you’ll meet the types of professionals that could be potential clients, partners, or good sources of referrals. Not all solopreneurs will benefit from the same sorts of groups. My experience with the Chambers of Commerce has been a good bit different than yours – probably because of the types of businesses I focus on working with. For me, both the larger regional chamber and my smaller home town chamber have led to some wonderful professional opportunities and a good deal of business. Well worth the approx. $550 per year I spend on the memberships because I’ve connected with quite a few local marketing firms who provide a steady stream of projects. Not all solopreneurs have had that same experience though. You’re right, Michele – it’s very wise to carefully consider the audience that networking groups and their functions draw before making a commitment to join!

    1. Michele says:

      Great example Dawn, of how the same group might work well for someone and not well for someone else. Thanks for the comment! Michele

  3. I am just getting started with the meetup thing. Tomorrow I have my first meeting with some local start-ups and some investors. Any tips? I have completely no idea what to expect or how to prepare. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Michele says:

      I hope your meetup was great! I like to look at the guest list and see who is going to be there. You can usually get a look at a person’s profile and greeting to the group. There is often a few people that I want to prioritize meeting. It also helps me have a general feel of who is going. I also like to prepare what I will say in various settings. If I’m given a chance at a 30-second introduction to the room, I might offer a free consultation or free ebook. I might bring something with me to give away for 1-on-1 conversations. I make sure I’m prepared to answer with a current request if someone says “How can I help you?” I might be looking for referrals, introduction to people who can host me to speak, or some other type of introduction. I’m always shocked at how many people can’t answer this question. Hope this helps! Michele

  4. […] “One key for prioritizing your solopreneur workload” by Michele Christensen […]

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