Class Introduction: How To Grow From A Solopreneur - Lessons Coming Soon!
The reason I'm here to talk to you is because I've run my own business, Fresh Stitches, and at the start I was a rabid solopreneur. And now, I've realized that that doesn't really work so well. And so, I'm going to tell you why that doesn't work. I may or may not convince you, but at least we're gonna start to get some seeds in your head about like, hmm, what would I do if I wanted to get a little help. And hopefully by the end of this lesson I'll give you a couple of little ideas about how to get started. Because our goal is to turn our businesses into something that gives us a living wage and a decent life. You know, we don't wanna be working 18 hours a day forever. So, let's get started on how to do that. So, first I'm gonna start with telling you why the solopreneur model is destined to fail over a long period of time. Okay, and then I'm gonna talk about the basics of hiring 'cause it is super scary to hire someone. There's a lot of legalese involved. We're gonna talk about who are...
the kinds of people you could hire or would want to hire for your business and why. And my favorite person to hire is actually this tiny little box called a computer. And so you don't have to worry that you're gonna take on a whole staff of people. We're talking, we're just brainstorming simple, easy solutions for your business to get started. So I started out as a solopreneur. Almost all of us start out as a solopreneur. You come up with a great product idea. You have something you wanna sell or you have a business you wanna run. And I actually recommend beginning as a solopreneur. So if you're not familiar with the term, it's just working by yourself and doing everything yourself. And one book that made this really popular was, "The $100 Startup". So, this idea that you alone can startup a business with just a little bit of money. And I think it's the best way to start because when you're starting your business you don't know yet know what the best product for you is. You don't really know who your ideal customer is. There's a lot of stuff you don't know and you may not wanna go 20, 30 whatever thousand dollars into debt, getting this big business off the ground. And this is how most of us start. Who started that way? Started doing everything themselves, like including like cleaning the toilets? Yep. (laughing) That's me too. And so solopreneuring actually works super well for the first two to three years of your business. And of course that varies for everyone but this is kind of the number I hear when I talk to my friends about how long they were doing it for. I like to compare solopreneuring to starting the seed. So, when you're just starting your business, you're growing it. It's really easy to grow the seed by yourself. Some people from this point after two to three years sell their business to like, some big company and that's awesome. But if you wanna be running a business that's sustaining you and your lifestyle from day to day, that's like farming. So you need to be growing these seeds into carrots. And who runs a farm completely by themselves with no equipment? No one I know, right? So, to farm you need to have hands and you need to have help and you need to have a lot of man hours involved. So, this is what I'm trying to convince you. That if we all wanna be farming (laughs), having this productive, lucrative business, and if you wanna be farming, you probably need a little bit of help. So, here are the problems with solopreneuring. And it's this fantasy that we can just be sitting in a cafe, on our laptop and we're taking care of the business our whole selves. So, we have to do whatever it is that gets your product produced. So, in this class I'm talking both about product based business and digital based businesses. So, your business may be being a photographer or being a website designer. You could be a yoga instructor. You could be sewing jackets. So, whatever your business is you need to be doing those things that makes the thing that you're going to sell. Virtual or physical. You have to keep an eye on what's fresh and new. So, if you're sewing garments, you can't just sew and sell the same garment for 10 years and expect it to still be flying off the shelf 10 years later. You need to be looking at new fabrics. You need to be looking at new cuts, new lines. You have to manage ads and social media so people find out about you. We no longer live in the world where the four neighbors around you on the street are going to keep coming back and doing business for you and sustaining you. You have to find new clients. And there's the accounting, receipts, taxes. Yep, we have to do all that stuff too. And I don't know about you but when I was starting my business, I was just working on the production. And that was 10 hours a day. Maybe it's more. And we have to do all these things well. And doing this all by yourself all of the time for years on end is really exhausting. And that's from a personal perspective. It's just plain exhausting to work 15 hours a day, but then there's the how well are you doing it perspective. Are you really good at doing your accounting? Are you really good at doing your taxes? Like if someone came to you and said, are you taking advantage of the blah, blah, blah tax code, are you like, yes of course I am well schooled on all of these financial aspects? Probably not. So, the burden on doing all of these things and doing them really well as your business grows just gets to be too much. So, every business needs a little bit of 'things that are making you money' and a little bit of 'things that are helping your business grow bigger'. You're looking later. What is your business going to be doing later on, that's going to be like the next step for you? And it's really hard to have your eye on the next thing that's gonna be cool when you're stuck doing the production from day-to-day. So, if you think about really famous CEOs from really famous companies, right, they weren't assembling the phones, they weren't assembling the whatever. They were reading, they were browsing, they were coming up with the ideas that would be the next big thing, so they could pass that along to someone who would actually make it happen. Because who's just been stuck like, I have to get this order out, oh I have to go teach this next class, oh I have to do this thing, and you're like, oops what was I supposed to be doing next month. I have no idea. (laughs) I don't know what I'm doing. So, you as an entrepreneur want to make sure you have a little bit of time, extra energy in your reserves for doing the next big thing that's going to keep your business alive and thriving and cool five years from now. So, who's heard of the seven-year itch? Usually we talk about it with relationships, but it's true in businesses too. So what it refers to is that you just kind of get bored and sick of what you're doing after seven years, you know, give or take. And almost every person I've talked to said, oh yeah that's so true for my business. I've been doing, I've been self-employed since 2008. Happened to me a year or two ago, I was like, (sighs) this is kind of, boy this is what I was dreaming of? (laughs) And it's because when you're just like in the trenches doing that same thing every day, and you're not devoting the time and energy to thinking of the new ideas, we get bored of what it is we are doing. And so, the solution to this seven-year itch, maybe it hit you early, maybe you're like (laughs) advanced after five years, is to slide some of those manual tasks, the things you dread doing over to someone else so that you can put the time and energy into coming up with the ideas that you need to be excited about what you're working on. You don't want like, who wants their future to be thirty years of, absolutely, boring daily grind? You know, if you wanted a job that paid steady and was really boring, there's like a 100,000 jobs out there in the world for you. The reason we're entrepreneurs is because we want to be doing things that we have control over and are really exciting and we have to make it exciting for ourselves. So, when we're hiring out, I know it's super scary, I'm gonna convince you soon it's not that scary (laughs), but our goal is to find little bits in our business that we can hand off that either save us some time or money or allow our businesses to be better than what we could do by ourselves, okay? So, very rarely in this class today are we gonna be talking about hiring actual employees. There's a couple of case studies at the end where I talk about people who hire employees and that would be a regular, let's call them staff member, who you're working with full time. Most of the things I'm talking about are tiny little tid bits, a few hours of week, things that just are sucking our energy and our souls away, that we can hand off to someone else that just let us (sighs), breathe a sigh of relief. Like, thank gosh I don't have to do the taxes anymore. And you want to be focused on your best job. I don't think anyone's goal is to have a staff of 30 people. Some people have that as like, I want to grow my business to like, run a staff of people. That was never my goal. I didn't want to be managing, again, if I wanted to be managing a staff of 30 people, there's plenty of other jobs out in the normal world where I could be paid a lot more to manage 30 people than my own business brings in. So, we're just want to find these little things that we can hire out to let us do the thing that we love doing. So we're excited to get started in the morning when we wake up.