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Sep 25, 2023

5 Solopreneur Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Read time - 6 minutes

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Mistakes happen, and today, I’m going to share five I’ve made as a solopreneur. I’ve learned valuable lessons from these blunders, and I hope you can too, without the time-consuming detours I took.

Unfortunately, I see lots of others making these same solopreneur mistakes and having a hard time getting themselves to stop.

Many people feel like the only way they can truly learn a lesson is by making the mistake themselves.

While that IS a good way to learn a lesson, it’s not the only way.

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Here’s a preview of what you can discover from the solopreneur mistakes I’ve made:

  1. The common bad habit holding back struggling solopreneurs.
  2. How to bring potential best-sellers to market faster.
  3. The one practice that can boost your business like nothing else.
  4. Escaping the overwhelming to-do list trap.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Mistake #1: Jumping the Gun with Content Creation

In the past, I’ve spent tons of time creating courses and freebies without gauging my audience’s interest first. Once, I built a “Build Your Own Website” course that no one saw! I wasted hours on outlines, recordings, edits, designs, and payments – a real marathon.

Here’s my advice: if you have a great product idea, start discussing it. Create a basic sales page, let people share emails for updates. It takes minutes or hours, not weeks.

Oh, and here’s a pro-tip: If you’re sure your audience needs what you’re thinking of, but you’re not getting the response you hoped for, don’t scrap the whole thing.

Maybe the way you described it didn’t grab their attention. Did you focus on what the product would actually result in, or just what it is? People want to buy solutions, not just stuff. So, keep that in mind next time!

Mistake #2: Chasing Perfection

You know, perfection is often painted as this great quality, but seriously, who’s really striving for imperfection? Not many, right?

But here’s the thing, perfection is like a unicorn—sounds awesome, but it doesn’t exist in the real world. I used to get all caught up in chasing perfection before calling something “done,” and guess what? It just made me procrastinate more.

Honestly, I never expected things to be perfect. I was just trying to shield myself from criticism, which, as a solopreneur, you can’t dodge completely, whether it’s done in secret or out in the open.

But here’s the kicker: when I was on this perfection quest, I was basically criticizing myself and my work. So, in a weird way, I was creating my own criticism (The call is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!).

Perfectionism isn’t a superpower; it’s more like Kryptonite. It traps you, limits your potential, and disguises the real issue: self-doubt.

To break free from this perfectionism trap, you’ve got to dig deep into your self-doubt and learn to embrace yourself, even when you stumble. I’ve got this thing now where I sit quietly and tell myself, “I love myself, even when I goof up, even if I make mistakes, even if I’m not Ms. Perfect.”

Let those thoughts swirl around for a bit, and you’ll discover a whole new level of understanding and acceptance. Remember, you’re awesome just the way you are, quirks and all.

The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy, but the pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.

“The Lean Startup” by Eric Reis*

Mistake #3: Not building multiple income streams from the beginning.

If I could turn back time, this is one of those solopreneur mistakes I’d definitely change.

Initially, as a solopreneur, I focused solely on one service. Having a primary focus is wise, but relying solely on one income source is risky. Markets are unpredictable, spending habits shift, and trends evolve. Predicting the future? Wishful thinking.

What I should have done is diversify my income streams. As a freelance web designer, I loved creating websites but loathed maintenance. I skipped maintenance agreements, fearing they’d overwhelm me. Other freelancers suggested monthly retainers, but I hesitated, thinking it would detract from building new projects.

What I missed was the potential of hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) to handle these tasks, freeing me to focus on what I loved. My strategy back then? Let’s just say I was treading water, not sailing toward success.

I should have also thought through other ways to diversify, from affiliate marketing to selling complementary digital products or offering low-maintenance group programs.

My advice? From the get-go, look at the big picture. In this ever-changing business world, hitching your wagon to a single avenue won’t cut it for the long haul.

Mistake #4: Inconsistent Long-Form Content

Here’s the scoop: Long-form content, like blogs, podcasts, and videos, lets your audience and search engines really get to know you. It goes way beyond those quick social media posts.

But here’s the deal: It needs to live on your own turf. Social media is great and important, but it’s borrowed space – you don’t call the shots, and I’ve seen Instagram accounts with tons of followers vanish due to hackers. Ouch!

There’s a big difference between on-the-fly posts and carefully crafted long-form content. I’m talking about detailed blog posts or YouTube videos that scream dedication and expertise, boosting your credibility.

Sure, anyone can go live on social media, but long-form content? That’s a whole different ballgame, and our brains can sense the effort, even if we don’t realize it.

You don’t need a fancy website; simplicity works fine. But you absolutely need a place you control, somewhere to consistently lead people, show web crawlers you’re the real deal, and establish authority in your niche. That’s where long-form content shines.

I used to avoid it because I didn’t know how to streamline the process. But things have changed. I’ve made time and effort to create long-form content, and it’s helped me see that I actually do have time to create content AND get my client work done (without losing my mind or burning the midnight oil).

Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

“Content Inc.” by Joe Pulizzi*

Mistake #5: Letting Your To-Do List Be Disorganized

Now, this one’s closely linked to my previous blunder. I used to view strict schedules as jail cells, limiting my freedom.

But you know what? I’ve had an epiphany. A good schedule isn’t a prison; it’s liberation.

Here’s the deal: Each morning, I sit down at my computer, and my to-do list lays out the day’s game plan. By day’s end, I know if I nailed it or not.

Before my recent scheduling enlightenment, my to-do list was a never-ending abyss. Days felt unproductive, satisfaction in the work I’d gotten done felt elusive, and important tasks slipped through the cracks. I also poured too much time into client work, neglecting marketing my business (because I just couldn’t find the time to do it!).

I hustled frantically, always feeling rushed. But now, I start my day calmly, tackle tasks in my chosen order, and wrap up when I’m done.

What I know for sure now that I didn’t grasp before is that I DO have time to create long-form content without overextending myself. And it can actually help me create plenty of short-form content.

As a solopreneur, I’ve never savored such peace. I’m not shackled to my to-do list anymore. I can unwind without a constant mental checklist.

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.

“Getting Things Done” by David Allen*

That’s a wrap!

Could you identify with any of the mistakes I’ve made as a solopreneur? Do my 5 mistakes help you see where you can tighten things up in your business?

Getting ahold of all the tasks you have to do to keep your business not only surviving but thriving is the work I do with my clients. I believe that the future belongs to solopreneurs.

I believe that people need more help now than they ever have. And those brave souls who know they can help and put in the effort to offer that help to others are my favorite people.

If anything I’ve written here helps you become more successful by avoiding some common solopreneur mistakes, then I’ll feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose.

There’s so much out there for us – things to do, ways to help, accomplishments to achieve – and I love watching people go after them!

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