There is one truth about starting a successful solo business: you’ll need plenty of mentoring and coaching. The challenges and obstacles facing a solopreneur are much different from those facing an employee.

You’ll need to break the chains of your current lifestyle and eventually liberate from your 9-5 job. Doing it nilly willy won’t work. You’ll need to follow an action-oriented game plan to create the life of freedom you’ve always dreamed of.

Here are some useful tips from some fellow Solopreneur Ronins I’ve worked with and gotten to know very well over the years. These experienced soloprenuer have “walked the walk” of independence, learned the ropes, made their share of mistakes, and soldiered on to victory.

They are all “senseis” who’ve taught me a lot about what it takes to survive and thrive as a solopreneur.

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

senseiMichaelFrey (Sensei_iaido.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Think like a business owner instead of as an employee

The hardest thing for a solopreneur to do is to learn how to think like a business owner instead of as an employee. There are a myriad of different skill sets required and the most important skills are marketing and sales.

In the U.S., business failure rate is near 80% within five years of launch and of those that fail 70% will be in the first twenty four months.

Solopreneurs cannot take a lot of time to focus on administrative tasks and product or service creation. Businesses must market and sell in order to be successful. The hard part is learning how to market the product to the customer through attraction instead of just hunting for sales. I recommend that any business owner, especially a first time business owner, build their foundation of their business on the following questions:

  1. What tangible values do your customers experience after they have bought a product or service from you?
  1. What problems did each tangible value specifically solve? Don’t be stingy here, there could be five or there could also be hundreds.
  1. Who are you specifically solving each problem for?
  1. How is your product or service a solution?

When you do this type of grueling work you will discover very quickly what business you are “really” in.

don purdum

Don Purdum consults and coaches businesses on how to resonate and connect with their audiences through marketing and sales. I am an author, blogger and speaker. Don’s Website: Unveil the Web

Make sure you build your business around something you love

My best piece of advice is to make sure you build your business around something you love. You’re going to be living and breathing this stuff for years and if you don’t love it, you’ll never get past square one.

However, this needs a bit of explaining. I don’t love everything about what I do and I didn’t love everything about what I did when I started out. But I did love a part of it – and that’s important.

When I started to make money by doing one thing (web design for clients) I started to branch out into other things (creating courses for entrepreneurs). I found I could pivot my business towards things I enjoyed even more.

So, when you start out, make sure there’s one part of the business you really love and work to develop that part.

rob cubbon

Rob Cubbon is an Amazon-bestselling author, online teacher, graphic designer and all-round good guy who wants freedom for you and success for your business. Rob’s Website: Rob Cubbon Dot Com

Learn to multi-manage your multiple tasks

Picture a solopreneur as an Indian Goddess with many hands. For me, it’s a symbol of multitasking, which I think most women bloggers are good at.

Define your tasks and determine whether you have the necessary skills to deal with them. Then you need to carefully plan your schedule, time your tasks, and distribute your work so that everything is taken care of because it’s only you who’s to work, as there is no one else to do it for you. (Of course, you could always get a VA to help you, and that would be a smart thing to do, if you can afford it.)

Learn to multi-manage your multiple tasks and team for producing terrific results in time.

Harleena Singh

Harleena Singh is a freelance writer and blogger. Quality is my forte, and fascination my domain. Harleena’s Website: Aha Now

Commit to a single strategy and execute

I work with many first time solopreneurs. No matter what niche they’re in, or what their solo business model, there’s always one thing I impress upon them.

That’s the importance of committing themselves to a single plan of action, a single strategy and a single business model. “Committing themselves” means that they need to stick with their plan by working at it consistently over the period of time required to make a meaningful assessment.

Solopreneurs, especially newbies, will tend to jump from one plan to another, this strategy then that, one shiny object after another.

They’ll start out determined to follow one path, but a few days later, they’ll hear about a “better” path to take. So they quickly abandon their original plans, and start in a different direction. Two weeks later, they’re off in a yet another direction.

Get a plan, work the plan, then keep your blinders on. Don’t even assess the results for at least 30 days. Keep your focus on the process, not the results.

donna merrill

Donna Merrill is a Blogging and Social Media Coach, Loving the life I live on the beach. Donna’s Website: Donna Merrill Tribe

Work on your soloprenuer mindset to win big

Working on your mindset is the most important thing by a long shot.

Most of us weren’t raised in an environment where we were groomed to become the powerful creators of our experience that we truly are. We have been instilled with lots of limiting beliefs, and our self-image is usually tarnished to some degree, based on taking as truth, and other negative things others have told us about ourselves. To realize the success you desire in the most joyful way, you have to identify all the potential blocks to it, such as worrying you won’t be able to be successful because no one in your family ever was.

To create the success you desire with the most joy and ease possible, you want to tap into the invisible support system that is the Universe. Do your best to work from a place of inspiration and not force, manipulation and fear.

What we focus on expands, and you want to clearly define what you want out of your business so you can be more deliberate in creating it. You may not know how everything will unfold exactly and that is cool.

Learn to trust your intuition. That is the connection with the ‘big’ you that knows exactly what you want and exactly how to get you there, even if you aren’t sure yet.

kelli Cooper

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer, traveler, animal lover, student of the Universe. Kelli’s Website: Life Made to Order

Overcome the fear of failure

My Top Tip is this. NEVER EVER GIVE UP. Sure, there will be times when you think you are wasting your time. You will think that your dream is too big and unachievable. As my buddy keeps saying, “make achieving your dreams greater than your fear of failure”.

For the past decade my dream has been to become the greatest web developer in Birmingham. I may not be the greatest but I like to think that I am. I have clients all over the globe raving about my abilities. Hell I know of big design firms here in Brum that employ loads of developers that cannot boast a global client base.

Here’s a bonus tip: find something different from your peers and make it yours. Stop following and doing what others are doing. Change the status quo. Find something different to make you stand out head and shoulders above the rest.

phillip dews

Phillip Dews is a Blogger and ‘a Birder with Tweetybirds on the Brain!’ Phil’s Website: Phillip Dews Dot Com

What’s your Solopreneur story?

Need more soloprenuer mentorship, resources and tips? Check out my new book on Kindle:

Solopreneur Ronin: Break the Chains, Earn Your Freedom, and Engineer a Happy Life Blogging from Anywhere

kindle soloprenuer ronin

13 replies
  1. Don Purdum
    Don Purdum says:

    Hi Ryan and Matthew,

    What a fantastic book! I want to thank you so much for asking me to contribute to it. It was an honor and privilege to do so!!!!

    I will be promoting and sharing it and I wish you guys the best success!

    ~ Don Purdum

  2. Harleena Singh
    Harleena Singh says:

    Hi Ryan & Matthew,

    Wonderful post indeed 🙂

    It’s good to see my tip among all the expert entrepreneurs. I agree with you that mentoring and coaching really helps a lot in blogging and marketing, just as in any other competitive field.

    Choosing to be a solopreneur is great, however, to be a successful one is something that needs a lot of work . I’m sure these tips will be helpful to the readers.

    Thanks Matthew for hosting Ryan on your blog. Have a nice week ahead, both of you 🙂

    • Matthew Capala
      Matthew Capala says:

      Agreed Harleena, everyone talks about 8 in 10 new businesses fail, and as a newbie solopreneur you need to hedge yourself creatively and constantly worry about the cash flow, it’s a reality of starting a business, thankfully new social media and blogging tools allowed the new breed of soloprenuer to develop multiple and independent income streams to build financial freedom – over time – and earn your freedom! Thanks for your tip

  3. Phillip Dews
    Phillip Dews says:

    Nilly Willy hey! Should that not be the other way round?

    Wow what a day I have just had! I can say that coming home to this has really focused me and made me a lot happier.Today has been a day of major extremes I can tell you (starting by being awake for over 20 hours, Insomnia)!

    Just as this post went live I got notified by that infernal machine commonly known as a mobile telephone (sorry I mean Cell Phone) that I was featured amongst such luminarie bloggers and awesome people as Don, Rob, Harleena, Donna, Kelli, Ryan and of course Matt.

    I has experiencing a very Low in my 39 point 5 years on this planet (something I may talk about another time) amongst some awesome and brilliant highs. It’s amazing how things can transpire over time. Do you guys not think?
    How karma actually works in our brilliant lives. Today has been one of those incredible days full of brilliant high’s , some lows and some emotion, However I am glad I can write this comment and let you guys know what this day has been like.

    In ending I think it’s time for a little french red wine and to thank Ryan, Matt and all those other awesome bloggers for letting me contribute and be featured on this brilliant, epic post.
    Cheerio my pilgrims.

    – Phillip Dews

  4. Matthew Capala
    Matthew Capala says:

    Thanks for your brilliant comment Phill and for sharing your thoughts. Good karma and paying forward are the foundations of building online relationships (a prerequisite to creating any type of online influence and income).

    I am glad your day evolved from lows to highs Phill, I try to keep it flat as much as possible and keep the highs and lows in check where possible

    Cheers Phill

  5. Donna Merrill
    Donna Merrill says:

    When I received this book I couldn’t put it down. Everything in it resonated with me. Because I was a solopreneur since I can remember It all starts with our mindset. Being your own “boss” carries many responsibilities.

    But once you own up to them, create your business with the intent to help others, it is a great feeling. I like to focus on that part. Money will always follow.

    Thanks so much for including me in this post!


  6. Sherman Smith
    Sherman Smith says:

    Hey Ryan and Matthew,

    Looks like I’ll be picking up another fantastic book.

    I remember those transition days from being in an employee mindset to a solopreneur and it’s a challenge that a lot of us go through.

    And to think I thought it would be a piece of cake. I do have to say that there are still remnants of the employee mindset but it’s not as bad as before.

    It definitely is a process and following the advice of these great people here will be very wise, especially for the newbie solopreneurs!

    Thanks for sharing and have a great rest of the week!


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