Top Tips for Solopreneurs: Calling in the Troops!
When you first start in business, you need to learn to turn your hand to a little bit of everything. A bit of accounting, a bit of marketing, a bit of social media. Learning to network, to sell, to blog, it's all a steep learning curve.
But no one ever succeeds entirely on their own. Even the most seemingly solo pursuits, like Ellen MacArthur's solo circumnavigation of the globe, took a whole team to make possible.
We can navigate ourselves through our businesses earliest stages through our own efforts. But if we are to focus on our area of expertise and not spread ourselves too thin, at some point we are going to need to call in the troops.
Nowadays, there is an amazing network of experts out there to help you. And they are available at the touch of a button. Even on a modest budget, you can buy in expertise in copywriting, web design, accounting, administration, marketing and sales, on an 'hourly' basis. Websites such as peopleperhour.com have been set up to connect you with a worldwide market place of experts, offering spots of time and discrete project work to help you give your business the fuel it needs.
What I like the most about these sites is that there is no major risk on your part. You put out a proposal, people pitch - you choose who you want to work with and you place a deposit in an escrow account. When they have delivered on the specification, you release payment.
Of course it is important to vet your potential virtual employees. A few recommended ways to check them out:
1. Ask for the contact details of a referee with whom they regularly work.
2. Visit their website or linkedin profile - who are they connected with? Does their work look professional?
3. Call them for a brief telephone interview or, if location permits, arrange to meet up in person.
A good professional will never hesitate to provide you with samples of their work and credible referees.
Some of the projects I have contracted out with great success include:
- formatting and design of leaflets and brochures
- event management
- book keeping
- general personal administration
- web design
- social media strategy
Consider where in your work causes you the most pain, strife or confusion. What small low risk pilot could you do to test whether a person with expertise in that area could generate better results and free up your time?
Aside from the web, remember that there may be trusted friends, family and colleagues who would be happy to help. Can your kids stuff envelopes? Is your partner a dab hand on excel? Are old friends of colleagues now in related industries - perhaps an informal drink or dinner would be a great opportunity to learn from their expertise.
Part of the fun of being a solopreneur is the opportunity to learn new things and to apply new skills and thinking to your business idea. That's why I believe that enterprise is about the best personal development there is. No one can be good at everything. The process of self-discovery helps us to find out what we should focus on and who else we need to add to our team. As we learn about ourselves we can identify where our time is best spent and when calling in the troops can pay real dividends.