Before I even knew what a solopreneur was I was an entrepreneur. A business owner. A guy who created value and who built connections to improve lives. After uncovering the term on Matt’s blog here at Search Decoder I did some thinking; wouldn’t it be way cool to get inside the mind of a successful solopreneur trainer?

If you want ideas grow your solopreneur business, or if you are just starting out on your solo journey, start following tips from successful solopreneurs today. Follow their blueprints and get inspiration you’ll need to get through the early days of soloprenuership.

Solopreneurs NEED to think differently, to step away from the herd, to create spectacular lives, and to make a real difference through their businesses. I modeled much of my entrepreneurial mindset on the works of brilliant men like Richard Branson, Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuk. These heavies can directly or indirectly train you to be a successful entrepreneur but if you don’t have the resources to create the infrastructure and hire the staff for your entrepreneurial venture you better speak to a solopreneur for valued insight.

This is a guest post by a contributor. Opinions his/her own.

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Inside The Mind of a Solopreneur Trainer

I was delighted when Solopreneur Solutions LLC founder Donna Amos chose to answer a few questions about solopreneurship. You’re faced with a different, distinct set of problems versus the issues embraced by regular entrepreneurs. From doing the bootstrapping thing to leveraging your time effectively you need mentoring from a prospering, knowledgeable coach to avoid the pitfalls encountered by most solopreneurs.Donna-Amos

Meet Donna Amos.

Donna has created applications and systems to help solopreneurs attract more clients, to boost your web traffic and to embrace today’s ever changing marketing technologies.

Today’s interview benefits newbie and veteran solopreneurs alike who want to get out of debt and increase their overall cash flow through their ventures.

On to the questions!

1:  What drives you through the highest peaks and cavernous valleys of being a solopreneur?

I learned a long time ago when my first business was a dismal failure that failure is just a stepping stone.  I have learned to say next, when I have a disappointment. Of course you have to evaluate what went wrong, take the lesson away and then keep at it. I have always told clients that they can only take 24 hours to lick their wounds and then they have to move on. I do my best to live by that in my own business. What I know for sure is that our self talk can sabotage us faster than anything else, so we have to manage it.

On the other side of the coin when things are going great I take advantage of the high and will often take a risk on a new project or stretch myself to move beyond my comfort zone. That is what solopreneurship is all about.

2:  What practical tips can you share for boosting your cash flow to keep your solopreneur business afloat?

I suggest looking at your business model and make certain it is the most profitable model for your solo business.  I like monthly packages that keep clients working with me for the long term and provides consistent income.

What I often see from clients is inconsistency in their invoicing. When possible setup automatic payments or take credit card details, with tools like Square, so you can run their cards when an invoice is due.

Depending on your business model, I would recommend a service like Freshbooks or Quickbooks online to make invoicing easy and do it weekly or monthly which ever is appropriate for your buisness.

If you provide an on site service then I would recommend Pocket Suite which is an iOS app that allows you to do invoicing on the fly and schedule that next appointment as well.

I also recommend a net 10 or even a due upon receipt when you are in the early years of your business, you don’t have the luxury of financing your clients services, even better is payment up front.

Remember it is your business and clients will comply with whatever you establish as acceptable from the beginning, don’t be afraid to take control.

cash machinephoto credit: Old Money via photopin (license)

3: Did you find the transition to becoming a solopreneur highly difficult? What tips can you share to ease the transition of leaving the cubicle and working from home?

The most challenging aspect of being a solopreneur is that my office is in my home, which is what I wanted. But, you have to compartmentalize the two roles; I can’t be doing laundry while writing a blog post for a client. Home stuff has to be done in the same hours it was done when I worked outside the home. And work has to be finished when family time is required (this is the toughest part for me, I could work all the time.)

Related article: How to Build a Home Office on a Shoestring

Another challenge was training family and friends, they seem to think because you are home you are available. It was up to me to set those boundaries. At first a few feelings were pinched but in the long run all is good.

In the beginning I had to separate my working space from my home space so I could develop the habit of keeping disciplined while working.

The bottom line is to establish what works for you. You may have a different working style. When I began my second business I had three small sons, and although my business was in my home, I worked while they were in school and then took time when they came home and then worked after they went to bed.  Whatever works works.

Finally, be careful who you give your time to, not everyone is worthy and you must protect your time at all costs.

home office soloprenuerphoto credit: snaps via photopin cc

4: What is the #1 tip you can offer for increasing funding for your venture?

Many solopreneurs have grand visions of getting an investor to buy in to their business or a bank giving them a big fat loan. Those two options are generally out of reach.

There are two ways though to get the funding you need. The first is if you have a retirement account such as an IRA or 401K. There are options for borrowing from them for a startup that can give you at least 5 years to pay it back. That option can be risky if you are not certain and committed to your decision to start a business.

On a side note, the one area that most new business owners struggle is sales, they don’t want to be considered a sales person or pushy. If that is your perception then please do not borrow from your retirement account.

The second option is to use a service like Fundwell.  Fundwell matches your circumstances to the right lender and presents you with options. Please be smart about borrowing, it’s far better to boostrap your business and focus on sales and cash flow.

Finally, don’t discount Crowd Funding if you have a unique business model that others can get excited about.

5: I also read that you have created a score of systems and applications for your clients. What practical tips can you share for developing these critical, time-saving systems and apps?

This is an area I am passionate about. I encourage every new business owner to approach their business as if they are going to sell it. You can’t sell it without systems in place that you can hand to that new owner. Systems and a database are number one.

As you begin working with clients document the steps you take. In the beginning they won’t be written in stone because you will find better methods of accomplishing the same task.  But with documentation it becomes easy to train someone else to take over any and all tasks. When I hired my first virtual assistant I trained her on a webinar to do certain tasks and required her to document each step and then send to me. It was a great resource when after three years she moved on, and broke my heart by the way.

There is a cool site called Process Street that has some checklists included that you can modify but also allows for you to develop your own and share them with your team. By team I mean your virtual team.

Without documentation you can’t evaluate your systems and look for ways to improve them as your business grows. Flying by the seat of your pants will not make it easy to leverage your business for growth.

6: What tips do you have for solopreneurs who are struggling to get out of debt?

Use cash to pay for everything. You don’t have to cancel credit cards but freeze them in a block of ice while you are whittling down the debt. This will also help with improving your credit rating.

Getting out of debt like anything else requires a plan that is faithfully followed.  I have worked with solopreneurs using the Dave Ramsey program. I highly recommend it.  Knocking out debt little by little provides a big sense of accomplishment.

If you need a line of credit for your business to get you through cash flow issues try a service like Kabbage.  They will give you a small line of credit that you can draw on, every withdrawal must be paid back within 6 months and the payments are automated. So do not use more than you really need, not intended to purchase the new widget.

dona ramos

Get in touch with Donna here.

Looking for a soloprenuer resource? We wrote one for you!

Our upcoming book, Solopreneur Ronin: Break the Chains, Earn Your Freedom, and Engineer a Happy Life Blogging from Anywhere, is now available on pre-sale on Amazon Kindle!

Pre-order now and save 85%! Get the Kindle book for 99 Cents today.

Your Turn!

What are you doing to boost your solopreneur cash flow?

How did you get out of debt?

What questions do you have about being a solopreneur?

1 reply
  1. Matthew Capala
    Matthew Capala says:

    Great insights, one tip I liked is to use credit card transactions to collect fees for clients, I do some consulting and recently been using Square, which helped me collect my money from clients much quicker and at responsible rates. It’s also easy to issue and track invoices, and Square doesn’t hold your money, you get a bank transfer within a couple of business days. I think cash flow is everything if you are a soloprenuer, so always look for ways to streamline and accelerate billing and collection.

    Reply

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