Do you have a desire to be a solopreneur? Solopreneurship is a business strategy and lifestyle that is gaining popularity in today's world, but it's not for the faint of heart.
I have first hand experience being a solopreneur, which is why I wanted to invite Josh Elkin, the founder of Best Coast Marketing, to share his solopreneur checklist with you.
This checklist will help you determine whether or not you are ready to quit your day job and dive into the world of solopreneurship.
Take it away Josh!
Coming up with a business plan can be exciting, especially when you find yourself in a less than interesting day job. You start to imagine all the benefits of being your own boss, doing the work you want to do, and making your own hours.
The more you plan and take steps to start your business, the more real it becomes, and you realize that this isn’t just a dream. This is something you can actually do. Which leads you to the tricky question: are you ready to quit your day job?
To someone working in a dead end day job, the idea of starting a business and becoming a solopreneur is appealing…and quite possible if they know what they’re doing.
You can even run your business on the side to supplement your day job income. But as your business expands, balancing the two can be difficult, to say the least. The trouble is knowing when you’ve reached your breaking point.
Are ready to become a full-time solopreneur?
It may be easy to supplement your income with your business, but until you devote yourself to it full-time, it’s hard to say whether you’ll be able to fully support yourself that way. Business always involves risks, but you can minimize those risks with careful planning.
Here is a checklist of questions to determine whether or not you are ready to quit your day job and become a full-time solopreneur:
1. Do you have 3-6 months of savings?
In the beginning stages of building a business, don't expect to make money right away. It will take time to build the foundation and establish credibility in your industry. There’s also the feast-or-famine nature of business to consider.
A solopreneur knows that they have to be ready for dry spells. While you are balancing your day job and your business, start to build up an emergency fund. Most financial advisors recommend that you have 3-6 months of savings in an emergency fund before you go off on your own.
If your business is successful early on, great! Continue saving. It never hurts to have that cushion, in case of emergencies.
2. Have you done your market research?
Before you launch your business, you need to know what you are up against. Take a look at the competition. What do they offer to your potential clients? How does what you offer differ from what you offer? Does it differ at all?
Before you quit your day job, have a clearly defined idea of what sets your business apart, and exactly why clients should choose you over the competition. It’s also important to make sure that you are networking in all the right places.
Figure out what social media platforms your target audience is most likely to frequent and establish your brand there, before taking off on your own.
Run analytics on your social media accounts and your website to see how well you are doing and where you need to improve. Once you feel confident that your brand stands out, you can consider drafting that resignation letter.
3. Do you have a network?
Word of mouth is one of the most effective methods of bringing in new business. Marketing research reveals that the vast majority of sharing of information about brands is actually offline, rather than online.
Have you told all of your family and friends about your business, and are they telling their family and friends? Do you have business cards printed? Do you have a strong social media presence?
Put your business out there whenever you can and get people talking about it. When customers start coming to you, instead of you seeking them out, that’s a good indication that your network is working and you are on your way!
4. Have you planned for unexpected costs?
It’s difficult to plan for unexpected costs, since they’re…well…unexpected. But you can expect that unexpected costs will happen.
Whether those costs are a client closing their own business or shipping the wrong products to the wrong customers, at some point, the unexpected is bound to strike. Again, it’s important that you have a cushion, but it’s also important that you have a backup plan, in case things go awry in your business.
If your computer dies, will you be able to replace it quickly? If you lose a supplier, how quickly will you be able to find another?
5. Do you have a backup plan for yourself?
Failure happens to all of us. It doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it is an integral part of any success story.
Take it from Michael Jordan who said, “I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Embracing failure is the best way to ensure your success. Sometimes business plans, even good ones, never take off. If your business fails, you want to have a backup plan for yourself, so that you aren't left stranded. Will you be able to return to your day job if money is tight? Will you have time to pursue another business plan, while working part-time?
I encourage you to embrace failure. What matters isn't that you fail, but rather, how you are able to transform your failure into success.
Preparedness is key for making the transition to become a full-time solopreneur. Once you have a network, regular clients, marketing research, and a solid backup plan, all that really remains is finally putting in your two weeks notice.
If you have the desire to become a full-time solopreneur, but feel like you are being held back by your full-time job, I hope that my checklist helps you prepare to make that eventual transition. You will never know if you are ready until you actually start taking action to make your dreams a reality.
Josh Elkin is the founder of Best Coast Marketing, a marketing agency which helps increase their clients’ traffic through organic link-building. Josh enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, marketing, productivity and self-improvement.