If you are a one-person band and relatively new to running your business, then you'll know the true meaning of the phrase 'the buck stops here'! With so many balls to juggle and often little or no financial safety net, it can be tempting to work every hour of the day and take a DIY approach to everything in order to save time and money.
Whilst I'm all for learning from experience, the truth is that wearing too many hats and doing everything yourself can quickly lead to overwhelm and burn-out. You can become scattered and distracted, and end up wasting a lot of energy and resources without actually achieving very much.
If I could offer new solopreneurs any advice, it would be to stop spinning your wheels and focus. Here's why:
1. Focus helps with goal and priority setting
As free-spirited entrepreneurial types, many of us take a scattergun, unstructured approach to our businesses.
We try every marketing strategy we come across. We jump from one social media platform to another. We join countless Facebook groups. We have a huge collection of free downloads waiting to be consumed. We have hundreds of ideas in our head, all demanding equal attention. We try something new with great enthusiasm, only to say "That doesn't work!" after 2 weeks and move on to the next shiny object.
This type of "spray and pray" approach rarely works. It can become an endless cycle of never accomplishing anything. Instead of spreading yourself too thinly and widely, you should focus your attention, energy and time on a few things that work.
So, ask yourself:
- "What do I want to focus on in my business?"
- "What do I want to be known for? What do I feel most passionate about?"
- "How can I best help my clients?"
- "Which marketing activities are working for my business?"
- "Which marketing activities do I enjoy?"
- "Am I spending my time on the right things?"
- "Is what I'm doing aligned with my values?"
Focusing will not only help you to identify your current work priorities, but it will also help you plan your time more effectively. The key is to design your schedule around your top priorities in such a way that you're able to devote the most productive part of your day to these jobs - and nothing else!
2. Focus increases the quality of your offering and output
If you think about it, specialisation is often the hallmark of people who are at the top of their game: knowledge experts, technical whizzes or master craftsmen.
These people are highly sought-after and charge premium rates because they've chosen to focus their efforts on developing a set of highly refined skills or in-depth knowledge within a very narrowly-defined field or area of expertise.
Remember the saying: "Jack of all trades, master of none"? There's a reason for it. You can't build authority if your offerings are too broad. I mean, have you ever heard anyone referred to as an "expert of everything"? I thought not!
3. Focusing helps define USPs and build brands
Your business stands more chance of succeeding if you're clear about what you're good at and focus your efforts on developing and marketing that offering, rather than trying to be everything to everybody.
Initially, this may require some soul searching, but in the long run, it'll be a lot easier for you to define your personal brand and market yourself more effectively with a leaner, meaner promotional strategy that'll yield better results than a scattergun marketing approach.
Sometimes we make life more complicated than it needs to be. Just remember that to start building a successful business, you only need:
- To solve one problem
- To provide one solution
- One well-defined set of ideal clients
- One lead magnet to start building an audience
- One effective marketing strategy
Create a signature program
One way to achieve this level of focus is by creating a signature program where you solve one specific problem for your clients. Your signature program is your unique "how to" system that helps your clients achieve a set of predefined outcomes. It's a solution based on your own success in solving a problem, whether for yourself or for past clients.
Say no to what doesn't serve you
Remember, focus is as much about what you say no to as what you pay attention to. Steve Jobs said it best:
"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things."
Don't want to use Facebook to market yourself? Don't do it. Find another platform that works for you.
The idea of doing live videos make you physically ill? Don't do it. Plenty of successful businesses don't use live videos.
Advice from a well-known guru makes your cringe? Don't listen to it. Unsubscribe. Find someone whose values resonate with you.
Do what works for you
There are hundreds of way to put yourself out there. The only "have to" is that you have to market yourself. How you do it is entirely up to you. Pick a few things that you enjoy doing and focus on those with consistent, intentional action and you'll start to see results.