Here at Spark, we work with a variety of solo entrepreneurs and freelancers, including consultants, coaches, fractional executives, CPAs, and more. Our mission is to help them scale their businesses and achieve their goals.
We have found that most of these solopreneurs face remarkably similar challenges in growing their revenues. Recently, we examined their overlapping concerns to compile 15 common needs, challenges, and solutions. We’ll be exploring this list over the next few weeks in a series we’re calling “Growth Hurdles.”
We see this as a way to Spark (pun intended) a conversation and learn from each other, so please join in and share your experiences, too.
Solopreneurs need to focus their energy and efforts on high-value, strategic tasks and delegate or outsource the more tactical items on their lists. “Working on the Business vs. Working in the Business” is a common mantra—but it’s easier said than done.
On the face, the challenge appears to be a lack of resources. There’s just too much work for one person. Looking deeper, however, solopreneurs will usually find a need for a strategic plan to move tactical activities off their plate in the most efficient, cost-effective manner.
So What Do They Do?
Most solopreneurs succumb to the temptation to put in long days to “brute force” their way through a growing task list. They develop a daily “to do” and power through it until they run out of time, energy, or both. The next day, a new list. Rinse and repeat.
Business owners may try delegating a few things, but without a plan and the right resources to alleviate their tactical backlog, the delegation process frequently creates more work than it eliminates. Many solopreneurs freeze up at this point and resign themselves to the idea that they cannot scale further.
#1 Develop a plan of attack
Your plan must clearly distinguish the strategic tasks that move the business forward from the tactical but necessary activities that too often dominate the daily schedule.
#2 Identify and engage resources
Solopreneurs can benefit from today’s wide array of resource marketplaces, ranging from virtual assistants and gig freelancers to automation software. But the plan has to come first—and that starts with a clear understanding of the strategic wins the business needs to grow, scale, and increase profitability.
Consult Your Compass
During our initial meetings with clients, we often ask to see their daily or weekly task lists. Inevitably, a solopreneur will detail 10 or 20 disparate items—sometimes more—and nearly every point is tactical.
At this stage, we challenge the client to hone in on the handful of things they could accomplish within 30 days to advance the business. If these are truly strategic objectives, it’s only possible to complete a few in that timeframe, so the list will be short. I call my version “The Big Stuff.”
Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of other lists—daily tasks, weekly tasks, long-term goals, and so on. But The Big Stuff serves as my compass. I break down my annual strategic goals into monthly steps (which I adapt to changing circumstances). The month’s Big Stuff then comprises the most important action items for accomplishing my high-impact, strategic goals. Some months, Big Stuff has three or four objectives. Many times, there’s only one major task.
When I then examine my daily “to do,” I ask myself whether each item helps achieve the Big Stuff. If not, I need to start moving these lesser tasks off my plate. Finding the right resources, tools, or approaches to remove—or at least minimize—low-value activities frees up more time for The Big Stuff and accelerates growth.
Need guidance to help you focus more attention on your Big Stuff? Simply reach out. The Spark team has decades of combined, multi-industry experience driving consistent, repeatable growth. The process starts with an introductory strategy session to discuss where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. This complimentary session is scheduled with one of our Growth Coaches or with me—never with a salesperson. Worst case, you walk away with some insight and advice. Best case, you start on the path to scaling your business to meet your aspirations.
Click here to schedule. We look forward to connecting with you.