Misplaced Priorities When Starting Out
As a heart-based solopreneur, it’s common to overestimate the value of elements like websites, branding, design, and other things you might believe you need.
Unfortunately, these factors can become a distraction, consuming hours, even months or a year of time. This can create the illusion of progress. But, what often happens is that after spending significant time and resources, nothing happens. No one shows up to see their beautiful designs, or potential clients don’t magically find their website.
You might ask,
- “What happened? I invested so much attention and money into this. The website looks professional, why aren’t there a hundred people wanting to work with me?”
Misconceptions about Success
We often make the false assumption that success equates to having a website, fancy branding, or a comprehensive business plan. I, too, fell into this misconception. We tend to believe we need to have these elements in place before we can achieve success.
This is a flawed line of thinking.
Such an assumption misses the essence of what business truly is and leans towards a ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality. In adopting this attitude, we say, “If I pretend to be successful, success will come.”
However, this pretense neglects the genuine passion that should be the driving force for starting a business. It overlooks the real work necessary to gain momentum and make progress.
In this process, we lose sight of the basic and practical principles of business and solopreneurship. We hide behind our fear of rejection, forgetting the true essence of our entrepreneurial journey.
What Do I Need to Start (NOW)?
First, let’s simplify by defining what you want.
- Primarily: You aspire to be a heart-based solopreneur. You haven’t started yet, but you want to enrich people’s lives and make a living doing so.
- You intend to leverage your knowledge and experience to help others overcome challenges you’ve faced, saving them time, frustration, and emotional pain.
- You want to start making money as soon as possible, either to support yourself or to save enough to quit your current job.
So, what do you need to accomplish this? To kick things off, here’s what you don’t need: a website, branding, a newsletter, or a million followers.
Four Key Requirements for Success in Starting Out
As a beginning heart-based solopreneur, you may be wondering what’s truly crucial to your business’s success. Here’s the answer:
- A clear core message: You need to articulate the problem you’re solving and who you’re solving it for.
- A compelling offer: Design an offer that outlines your support, the benefits your clients will gain, and why it’s an invaluable opportunity to work with you.
- An effective script: Develop a script that reminds you how to build value in your offer, and helps potential clients understand their problem more clearly.
- A proactive approach: Be ready to reach out to everyone you can, and start conversations to educate yourself on the problem people are struggling with.
With these four elements, even without a website or any branding, you could potentially start making €5,000 per month in as little as three months, or at most nine months if you’re working part-time.
Bear in mind, this isn’t a magic formula. It doesn’t eliminate the need for consistent work, or the experience of failure and rejection. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, these four things are all you need to get started. Of course, you’ll need a few basics, like an email address and a computer or phone.
Why a Website Doesn’t Matter, Yet
The word “Yet” is crucial here. Yes, a website can be a significant asset. It can save you time and help you earn money.
If you have plenty of extra time, you’re not in a rush to earn money, and you enjoy the process of building a website, then by all means, go for it. However, the key point of this Sunday Letter is not to delude yourself into believing that having a website is critical for your initial success steps.
Here’s something I’ve heard countless times:
- “I invested so much time in creating this website and then… nothing happened.”
Many times, the value of the “4 things you really need” (mentioned above) is not understood. Consequently, the website they’ve crafted doesn’t effectively communicate the service and opportunity they want to provide. We often have to start over from scratch in terms of the message conveyed on the website.
In the early stages, the world doesn’t know you, and you don’t have hundreds of people eagerly waiting to hear from you or curious about what you do. A website, in part, serves as a landing spot to communicate a message and opportunity to many people at the same time. But when you’re just starting out, there aren’t “many people” interested in your message.
Substance over Appearance
Being a heart-based solopreneur that provides a service, is more about building genuine relationships with people, than it is about appearing to be a fancy expert online. People won’t hire you, or pay you a thousand dollars or more, if they don’t feel a genuine and authentic connection with you.
When starting out, you must “go to the people” rather than waiting and wanting the people to come to you. This is a skill (and courage) that you will continue to use for many years. Your ability to reach out to people and build genuine connections (substance), will be infinitely more valuable than having a perfectly designed website (appearance).
Substance is found in deeply understanding the problem you want to help people solve, and deeply understanding the human (your ideal customer) who has that problem. The more you understand these things, the better you are at communicating your support opportunity, and adding genuine value to their life.
The beauty here is that in your determination to learn and understand the person and the problem, you are naturally going to build genuine relationships with people. You will, in so many ways, show people that you genuinely care, and that genuine care will lead people to tell others that you care about solving the specific problem and helping people make progress.
Adopting a Researcher’s Mindset
In our Solopreneur Group Training Program (SGT), I teach participants how to adopt the mindset of a researcher. This mindset is about seeking a deeper understanding of the struggles that people are experiencing. I am fascinated by the process of overcoming particular problems that I have had to face, and how my experience can support others going through similar challenges.
The deeper my understanding of people and their experiences with the problem, the more effective I become at helping them solve it. This attitude of seeking to understand brings about several key developments.
- Clear communication: I can articulate more clearly the problems people encounter and the consequences of not addressing these problems.
- Building social awareness: People come to recognize my genuine interest in this problem. They also start referring to me as a valuable resource for understanding their issue. Over time, I gained a reputation as “the guy who helps people understand XYZ problem.”
- Never short of content ideas: By spending time learning about people’s struggles and understanding their obstacles, I constantly have fresh material to write and speak about. This very newsletter/blog post is a result of this process. It was inspired by a free call I had with someone who spent months “preparing for success,” but when it was time to “launch,” they were met with silence.
- Showcasing my unique expertise: Those who resonate with my approach get to experience my unique expertise, building a level of trust that grows over months or even years.
Embracing a researcher’s mindset brings about numerous benefits and opportunities. When I reach out to people with a genuine interest in understanding their problem, I occasionally come across someone who could greatly benefit from one-on-one support.
Importantly, my interest in connecting with people and understanding their pain, fears, and desires is sincere. This is not a “trick” to find clients, even though that inevitably happens. It is the essence of being a heart-based solopreneur. My genuine interest in helping people, whether they pay me or not, often leads to compensation as I consistently strive to understand and make myself available to support people.
Does this approach resonate with you?
If this heart-centered approach to solopreneurship resonates with you, I warmly invite you to explore the Solopreneur Group Training Program (SGT). This program provides the support you might need to make meaningful and more rapid progress in your journey.
Alternatively, if you haven’t already, consider my “Next Step” opportunity. In this initiative, I freely connect with individuals to assist them in determining their immediate next steps towards progress. These are one-off, free calls I conduct with people, which serve as a research tool for me to build relationships and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges they face. Interested? Answer these three questions and schedule a time for a video chat with me.