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HOW2 Launch a Successful One-Person Business


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This presentation was given 25 October 2016 in Zagreb, Croatia, and sponsored by the US Embassy.

Published in: Business

HOW2 Launch a Successful One-Person Business

  1. 1. HOW2 Launch a Successful One-Person Business Mary Ellen Bates
  2. 2. 5 signs you’re a solopreneur You love what you do Performance reviews make you ill You’re comfortable making decisions and taking action You’re open to new ideas You tolerate ambiguity 2
  3. 3. Solopreneur Traits test Smart Creative Persistent Self-starting Strategic, client-focused perspective Can handle annoying clients Don’t need to always be right 3
  4. 4. What is your solopreneur score? 6-7: Why haven’t you launched your business yet? 4-5: Yes, you can! 2-3: This might not be your best choice 0-1: Keep your job! 4
  5. 5. 5 The skills of a solopreneur
  6. 6. Entrepreneurial skills Tolerance for risk and uncertainty 100% client-focused Move out of employee mind-set 100% responsibility for all aspects of your business 6
  7. 7. Entrepreneurial skills Strategic perspective Self-discipline, self-confidence Admit you don’t know what you don’t know Willing to live outside comfort zone 7
  8. 8. Business skills View yourself as a business Take steps needed to succeed Close a sale Talk about money Wear many hats 8
  9. 9. Professional expertise Keeping your skills sharp and fresh Network of colleagues Investing in prof development ID opportunities to add value 9
  10. 10. The Chills and Thrills of Solopreneurship 1 0
  11. 11. 11 The Thrills Flexible schedule Work from home Your clients love you You love your boss 24/7 schedule Live in your office You have to find clients You make all the decisions The Chills
  12. 12. 12 The Thrills You can try anything You can fire clients Can be lucrative Pride of ownership You only have X hrs/yr You have to find clients Ca$h flow Life-long marketing The Chills
  13. 13. Looking at yourself differently 13
  14. 14. Learn to love uncertainty Your clients will NOT value what you did as an employee 100% client-focused means open to anything Embrace ambiguity 14
  15. 15. Self-management Time management Only 1.000 billable hours/year Procrastination management Project management Perfection is the enemy of good (enough) 15
  16. 16. Cash flow insights Have 6 months’ living expenses Don’t fund operations with credit Set your rates as someone in business, not just starting a business 16
  17. 17. Finding the dog whistle “My housecleaning company cleans your house very well” 17
  18. 18. Reality-check interviews conversations 18
  19. 19. Why? Get past the obvious answer to the real value Learn how clients describe their need Become competition-proof! 19
  20. 20. When? Conversations, not interviews Create opportunities to talk Go to local events your clients are at Meet for coffee/tea Talk with everyone 20
  21. 21. Who? Whoever you think will be your clients How? Ask and listen; no selling! See the world from their eyes 21
  22. 22. Conversation goals What’s their biggest need? What happens when that need isn’t met? What would they pay to meet those needs with your product / service? 22
  23. 23. Conversation goals How do they look for {people who provide your service/product}? How could you have the most fun meeting their biggest need? 23
  24. 24. Ask yourself What surprised me from these conversations? How do they describe the biggest need I can address? 24
  25. 25. Ask yourself What do my clients NEED, VALUE and are willing to PAY me for? 25
  26. 26. Talking about yourself 26
  27. 27. Are you a business owner or a freelancer? Freelancers focus on getting their next gig Business owners focus on keeping clients happy 27 What are you?
  28. 28. When you describe yourself... Is it a WHAT or HOW? or is it a WHY? “We offer bookkeeping services for small businesses” or “We help small businesses get more from every euro they earn” 28
  29. 29. HOW or WHY? “We help you plan your next event” or “We make your events stand out” “We develop mobile apps” or “We put your business on every client’s smart phone” 29
  30. 30. Then practice and refine! Test out your description on everyone Blank look? Try another approach Goal: “Ah ha! I need you now!” 30
  31. 31. It’s our job to sell, not their job to buy It’s our responsibility to communicate our unique value effectively 31
  32. 32. 32 Mary Ellen (and I’m faking it)
  33. 33. The Imposter Syndrome If they only knew how scared I am... Once they find out I don't know this... 99 compliments, and you hear the 1 criticism 33
  34. 34. Defusing the Imposter Syndrome Take feedback gently Treat yourself as you would a friend What’s easy for you isn’t easy for others! 34
  35. 35. Defusing the Imposter Syndrome Let go of being perfect Act as if you’re brave! Promise yourself you’ll have fun! 35
  36. 36. Mary Ellen’s SOLOPRENEUR CHECKLIST 36
  37. 37. Solopreneur Checklist Set a launch date Get an accountability buddy Check your finances – do you have 6 months’ living expenses?
  38. 38. Solopreneur Checklist Conduct 5 successful reality-check conversations Write up 3-sentence stories about how your product/service made a big impact on clients 38
  39. 39. Solopreneur Checklist Decide on your rate/price Decide on a business name, corporate structure Register domain, start using biz email address 39
  40. 40. Solopreneur Checklist ID where your clients congregate Write a marketing plan to attract, not chase after, clients Set outcome-related metrics 40
  41. 41. Solopreneur Checklist Print high-quality business cards, with social media URLs Get a lawyer and accountant Set up an accounting system 41
  42. 42. Solopreneur Checklist Set up a monthly savings plan so you can attend prof dev Set up web page & social media where your clients are Reach out to everyone you know 42
  43. 43. Solopreneur Checklist Join your clients’ prof association Evaluate your computer setup Evaluate your office setup 43
  44. 44. Solopreneur Checklist Start your marketing efforts See my 20 Ways to Kick-Start Your Marketing ( Plan a 6-month strategic review 44
  45. 45. 45 reluctant– entrepreneur. com
  46. 46. Find Mary Ellen at: Twitter: @mebs LinkedIn: maryellenbates Facebook: maryellenbates Reluctant– 46