Looking for practical ways to reach financial success when pursuing a non-conventional career path as a solopreneur?
Being a successful solopreneur isn’t simply about having a marketable business idea that can withstand competitors. It is about having a thorough plan and processes in place to see financial growth and stability in the initial year and beyond.
It is possible for non-conventional career seekers to reach their business goals and financial success in the modern age. However, it takes a significant amount of discipline, dedication, patience, organization, and due diligence.
To begin your successful financial journey as a solopreneur, check out these ten practical ways to effectively approach and manage your business.
1. Brainstorm your SMART goals and objectives.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to have strong business, marketing, and financial plans. These must include your mission, SMART goals, and key business objectives that will guide your work.
You should segment your strategy for success into four quarterly goals. These goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. At the end of every quarter, you want to review the previous three months to decide if you should make changes to your annual plan and objectives.
Taking these initial steps will ensure you are clear about what you want to accomplish as an individual entrepreneur as you begin your business journey and every step along the way. As a result, you will gradually see improved business processes, customer satisfaction, and steady revenue growth.
2. Have an organizational system in place.
The last thing you want is for your business to grind to a halt because you weren’t well-organized. Having an organizational strategy for your small business in place will ensure that your busy work days go smoothly. No information is lost or forgotten, so your customers remain satisfied.
According to Neil Patel, you want to focus on a few critical organizational strategies to see tremendous success. These strategies include keeping your work environment and storage areas clean and organized, having the right tools in place to track customer communications and business expenses, creating annual social media marketing plans, managing your passwords, and keeping digital records, resources, and notes.
3. Find community business connections.
Creating your professional brand to market yourself and networking with like-minded business leaders is essential to business success.
Networking allows you to connect with other entrepreneurs, freelancers, and contractors in your local community. As a result, this leads to more robust business connections and word-of-mouth marketing with prospective customers, even without a large marketing budget.
To start investing some time and effort into meeting with other local business leaders, consider joining local business networking groups and attending local events, such as Chamber of Commerce meetings.
Also, don’t forget the importance of setting up a business page on a professional networking platform. Along with the ever-popular LinkedIn, you can generate business opportunities and build your network with platforms like Hivebrite, Meetup, Opportunity, Run the World, and Slack.
4. Consider co-working spaces.
Remote and at-home work has become increasingly popular since the pandemic. However, only some feel motivated to work at their home office daily. Likewise, most solopreneurs simply can not afford the overhead expenses of leasing office space to maintain a professional appearance.
A great alternative to investing in a long-term office lease is to find an area for co-working or shared office space. Coworker is an excellent website for searching, finding, and reserving coworking desks, private offices, meeting rooms, virtual offices, and other shared workspaces in your location—anywhere around the world.
If a shared workspace still does not fit your budget or business goals, you can also work outside of your home at a local library or coffee shop to change your scenery and stay motivated. If you are concerned about where to meet clients, consider meeting them for lunch or coffee. Use relaxing public spaces to discuss a project or introduce them to your services.
5. Invest in automated software and tools.
As a solopreneur, you wear many hats in the business world. You need to be able to keep track of client information, projects, product or service sales, financial records, and everything in between. To reduce the stress associated with keeping track of everything, investing in the right tools and software is essential to streamline your processes.
Take Harlow, for example. The company’s all-in-one freelance platform helps small business owners get and stay organized, save time, and look professional with automated invoicing, proposal templates, client and task management, and more. Their flexible invoicing feature helps freelancers manage their finances so they can send, track and collect payments on time.
Beyond financial and operational management, every solopreneur can benefit in their daily work with tools focused on communications, business accounting, customer relationship management, and beyond.
If you run a business that reimburses your employees for vehicle business mileage or simply need to track your vehicle use for business use when it comes to annual taxes, MileIQ is an excellent option. Users can integrate it with QuickBooks, Concur, FreshBooks, and other expense-tracking programs.
6. Use a business credit card.
One of the best ways to see exponential business growth is having the ability to invest in your business. Along with using a bank account that is separate from your personal finances, consider applying for a business credit card.
Using a business credit card will allow you to keep a single record of your expenditures. This saves you from using all your investment funds at once. When you can repay expenses throughout the year—rather than directly out of your pocket—do so. That way, you can reduce cash outflow, improve record-keeping and continue to grow your credit.
The type of business credit card you can receive varies among market lenders, so be sure to research a credit lender that supports your small business needs.
7. Plan for your retirement.
While your focus may be on your career path and goals most days, you don’t want to overlook the need to plan for your retirement. Retirement is an often set aside objective for solopreneurs. However, you should consider the same initial steps toward opening a 401(K) or another retirement account as you would in a traditional job setting.
Before deciding what type of retirement account to open, you will want to consider your long-term goals. Whether at the beginning or middle of your solopreneur career, thinking about the end result is crucial in developing a detailed plan for your career path and ultimate retirement.
Think about how much you want to save by the time you retire. Do you plan to move to a dream location? Do you want to travel occasionally — or frequently travel — during your retirement years? How much will you need to budget for each expected year of retirement?
From there, you can look at retirement account options that fit your ultimate financial goals and will help you reduce your taxable income as you contribute throughout the year. Solopreneurs should also build a successful retirement savings plan. For example, consider a self-employed 401(K), a traditional ROTH, or a straightforward IRA plan.
8. Remember, money isn’t everything.
While it is important to remember your worth and have your product or service prices demonstrate such, you want to also keep your fundamental values and mission at the forefront of your mind on your business journey. A successful business isn’t simply about financial success. According to the founders of GoDaddy and JetBlue Airways, it is about perseverance and providing every customer with exceptional experiences.
There may be times when you come across a potential client who requires your services but can’t afford your regular prices. As your own boss, you have the power to consider how you can help. Can you provide a discount on your product or services? Do you have a referral program where you can offer a free service if they refer additional customers? Can you advise them on how to achieve what they need? Do you have a blog or other digital content that may be useful to them?
It may seem that you are losing out on potential revenue. However, considering your customers’ needs alongside your core business values and company mission can make a significant difference too. Understanding their needs can help you find alternative ways to be an asset to them and deliver customer leads through word-of-mouth marketing and customer reviews.
9. Don’t forget to reward yourself.
It doesn’t matter whether you run a small or large business. As an entrepreneur, you work hard to keep your company afloat and your customers happy. It can be all too easy to get lost in meetings, projects, marketing, business networking, and every other responsibility—regularly leading to burnout or simply poor motivation for many leaders.
Remember to reward yourself in small ways throughout the workday to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. Using Pomodoro, you can give yourself small rewards after 25 minutes or an hour of work, such as walking the dog or having a midday cup of coffee.
But don’t just think about day-to-day rewards; remember to give yourself adequate vacation time throughout the year. As a self-sufficient business leader, you can provide yourself with benefits and opportunities that not every company offers. Taking care of yourself might include taking a week’s vacation mid-summer. Use that time to clear your mind or at least give yourself mental health days to reset and recharge.
10. Open a savings account for tax season.
One of the biggest mistakes that new business leaders and freelancers make is not planning for the upcoming tax season. Your planning should include staying well-organized by keeping print and digital receipts, invoices, utility bills, and other necessary financial documentation.
You also want to keep a business account. Use it to save money for the upcoming tax year and unexpected expenses. And don’t forget to use TurboTax and other relevant tax tools to help manage expenses throughout the year.