“Believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”
Going out into business on your own and becoming a solopreneur can be an incredibly joyous process. If you’ve worked at a soul-sucking corporate job for a while, you’ve probably spent many of your days staring out the window and pining for the day that you’d be able to wake up, plan out your own schedule, and start building your dreams instead of someone else’s.
Unfortunately, when that day finally arrives, most of us squander it. We never anticipated how overwhelming it can be to suddenly have a calendar full of unstructured time! We didn’t realize that we’d struggle with sticking to regular work hours or figuring out which projects to start with. After a while, we might actually start to miss the feeling of having a boss that tells us what to do each day.
Turns out, when your livelihood is totally in your own hands, it can be seriously intimidating.
As a solopreneur, you have full control over your plans, your income and your time. This is both wonderful and terrifying! If we’re not careful, it can be paralyzing.
So if you’re a solopreneur struggling to get things done and stay productive when you’re working from home, alone, fear not. There are a few really great ways to fold more support into your business life and keep you feeling connected to your purpose. Here are five of my faves!
1. Leverage your social media
If you’ve been following me for a while, you might be surprised to see this top the list of suggestions! I typically see social media as a huge source of distraction, comparison, and loads of unhelpful limiting beliefs that can hinder our business progress. But as with all technologies, social media services are good servants, but bad masters. The way we use the tool (instead of letting it use us!) makes all the difference.
I put this as the first tip because it’s totally free! Nothing is stopping you from using your social accounts in a way that is actually supportive, starting today. Here are a few ideas:
- Share your daily to-do lists in your Instagram stories. It’s a great way to create some accountability and stay on task. Sarah of Yes and Yes does this almost every day!
- Talk about your goals publicly and share progress reports. Elise Cripe is the queen of talking about her goals.
- Intentionally follow teachers and hashtags that inspire you and provide helpful resources and ideas
- If you need help getting recommendations, use that Question sticker to crowdsource answers from your friends & followers
If social media is where you get a sense of community right now, lean into it! Use the tools available to you to easily connect with others.
2. Do some virtual co-working sessions
In the era of COVID-19, virtual coworking is really having a moment! It’s an especially helpful tool for a solopreneur, since you don’t have coworkers and colleagues that you’re interacting with daily. The best part is that these sessions can be really casual and impromptu, if you want them to be! Find a friend (whether they are a solopreneur or not!) and get into the habit of working together in a Zoom room. I find it helps to briefly share what you’ll be working on, but then just get to it. I have more tips on how to have a productive work sprint right here.
If you need more structure or don’t have a friend who wants to take part, try a more formal session. Lots of physical coworking spaces are now offering virtual coworking sessions, so look up a few options local to you. Or you could try a service like FocusMate, which sets you up with a friendly stranger who is also looking to get things done!
3. Upgrade your systems
I know: this sounds boring. I promise you that it’s not! Setting up systems in your business that work efficiently and save you time can be one of the most supportive things you can do for yourself as a solopreneur. So many people think that they desperately need to hire hands-on human support to help them with various tasks and processes. But in my experience, while hiring humans is great, it’s not always necessary at the times when we think it is.
Many times, simply upgrading to a better tool or software gives us a huge boost to our productivity and peace of mind.
I’ve written previously about what I consider to be the five most important systems and tools for solopreneurs, so feel free to give that article a read right here. But if you want a shorter version, here are some quick diagnoses for you!
- All your clients are paying by eTransfers and receiving manual invoices? Get a CRM (service-based business owner) or an eCommerce platform (product-based business owner)
- Struggling to figure out what to do with your time and feel totally unproductive? Find a to-do list app or project management service that you love.
- Totally overwhelmed by DMs, emails, and text messages from your clients? Shut down some communication streams, turn off notifications, and establish a specific time for dealing with messages.
- You have no way to track inventory or materials? Try a beautiful database solution like Airtable or Notion.
- You’re spending all your time typing out complicated explanations? Install Loom and explain it in your own voice!
4. Create or join a peer mastermind group
I am such a broken record on this topic, but I have to be honest with you! When I was starting out as a solopreneur, my mastermind group was the make-or-break factor keeping me on task and on mission. Without those women, I would have been alone and adrift, throwing things at the wall and hoping something would stick. Instead, I got excellent feedback and clarity that helped guide me on my journey. That simple group made all the difference.
I’ve written quite a bit about creating a mastermind group, which you can read right here. In essence, though, the process is simple. Find a couple of peers that you respect, designate a time to meet, and take turns sharing about something you’re struggling with. And there’s no reason these colleagues have to be local, either! Virtual meetings are just as effective.
Don’t have any colleagues you want to connect with in this way? Try Googling local mastermind groups near you! There are almost always free MeetUps and other options available. Or try a service like InFounders, which creates custom mastermind groups for entrepreneurs.
5. Join a coaching community
The one limitation of a peer mastermind group is that you’re usually connecting with folks who are at about the same level of success as you. Don’t get me wrong: that kind of support can still be hugely helpful! Please re-read #4 if you don’t believe me.
But sometimes you’re going to need a bit more support. Maybe you need to hear from someone who is an old pro at what you’re trying to build & can help you out. Or maybe you just want to connect with people who don’t share the same limiting beliefs as you! In those cases, being part of a coaching community with other like-minded entrepreneurs at various stages of their businesses can be a huge boon to your success.
When you’re looking for a community to join, make sure you’re putting your values first. It won’t matter how experienced the community members are if you don’t feel aligned with how they run their businesses. Work with people that you trust and respect. If you’re in the market for a business community to support you, here are three of my favourites!
- The Profoundery: I’m a bit biased because this is my own business community, but I love it. I designed it to support the thoughtful, intentional solopreneur who is feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process of putting their dreams into the world. I kept it simple: there is lots of accountability in place to keep people moving, group calls to let us connect live, and a fun Slack community to share & support one another.
- Wandering Aimfully: This community is jam-packed full of interesting and awesome people who are always willing to lend a hand, be silly, and be supportive. Jason & Caroline, the founders, are incredibly intentional and also full of experience, wisdom, and technical know-how.
- We Should All Be Millionnaires: I recently joined this community and have been really enjoying it so far. The Hello Seven team has gathered a very diverse group of coaches and community members, and it’s wonderful to learn from their collective wisdom. The membership also includes access to four of their signature courses to help you learn new skills and perspectives.
All of these techniques are great, but they do require you admitting to yourself that you just can’t do it all alone anymore. No human is an island, not even the intrepid solopreneur! The sooner you realize that there are tons of resources and communities and tools designed to support you, the better off you’ll be. We all need to be supported, but it starts by supporting ourselves.
I’d love to know: How do you find more support for yourself as a solopreneur? What was the biggest game-changer for you when it comes to feeling more supported in your business? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram, @stephpellett!
PS. If this post resonated with you, I want to invite you to join me in The Profoundery! It’s an incredible community of smart, caring entrepreneurs who are trying to make a difference in the world. Learn more & register right here ⬇️