There are people out there right now that need your skills and your advice. They want to learn from you and they’d be happy to join your community, if only it existed. Don’t let your fears keep you from creating a community.
When I first came online, I was overwhelmed by all of the “experts” I saw. Perhaps it was because the first summit I attended was an extensive weeks-long training from the leading experts in Social Media.
It was as if I had been thrown into an advanced calculus class before I had learned how to multiply!
So much new jargon! I didn’t know the difference between SEO and a CTA. These elite professionals would throw out jargon which the moderators understood perfectly. I had no idea what they were talking about.
Surprisingly, I learned a lot during that training.
Yet unsurprisingly, I established myself in my own mind as an outsider in this complicated world. From then on, when I went to conferences or engaged in online chats, I always felt that everyone knew so much more than I did. And that they were more successful.
I have been blogging – and learning – for several years now, and I have a clearer understanding of what was happening.
Slowly my eyes were opened to the fact that many of those people didn’t know as much as I did. And I began to realize that i could do this. I could be successful online.
So if you are one of those who feels like an outsider looking in, I have some great news for you.
You have unique gifts which will benefit others. You also have a personal mission which may be similar, but it won’t be just like anyone else’s. Have faith in who you are – and know that there are many others who need what you have to offer.
They also need your encouragement.
That’s why we need community.
Your community may be those who listen to your podcast, or read your blog, or those who read your emails. Or you could want to start a membership community. Or a Facebook Group.
With any of these communities, you will have more impact if you consider a few things.
Decide on the goal of your community.
The first thing you want to do when building your community is deciding what the goal will be. It’s a good idea to look at the end result your ideal client wants. For example, if your ideal client wants to start a blog, then creating great blogs can be the goal for your community. Other communities could focus on speaking or podcasting. Some could focus on all of these things.
Interestingly, within your community, there will be smaller topics of interest. Best tools for the job. Best practices. Creativity. Mindset.
You can see that the list could be endless.
Who are your people?
Every community has its own culture that’s shaped by the creator and members. When you’re thinking about culture, you might want to consider your personal values. For example, if you’re building a Christian community then you may stress the importance of Biblical principles while on the job. Obviously in this case, good character would be important to implement in your group.
Walk alongside your members.
The most effective teaching is walking alongside your members or friends.
What do I mean by that? Let people learn from your mistakes as well as their own. When people see you as authentic, they can relate – and they can learn better. Let them see your journey, and let them see where you are at the moment.
When their guard is down, people learn a lot more from a peer than they do from a school marm. So be real and be honest.
Your community will be delighted to find someone who understands their struggles.
Find a partner
If you’re nervous about building a community, look for a partner. This is someone that runs a business or brand that complements your skills. For example, if you’re an excellent writer, team up with someone who is a great internet marketer.
This set up benefits you by cutting your responsibilities in half and it benefits your group by allowing them to receive support from two people, instead of one. Keep in mind that you’ll want to build your community with a partner that you already know and like. You should also have a plan in place for what happens if one of you becomes too busy to participate or if one of you wants out of the community.
The bottom line is this. We need each other, and if you can answer that need in your business or blog, your effectiveness will increase many times over.
Many of us have lofty goals of becoming solopreneurs. We might dream of starting a side-hustle and growing it into a business. Or maybe we’re already working solo, but dreaming of going bigger. Of scaling our business to heights that allow us to earn a fully passive income. So that we make money while we sleep!
Sounds terrific, doesn’t it?
Often though, these aspirations fall through and we don’t achieve quite the goals we set for ourselves. We start with good intentions, but eventually end up getting over tired or frustrated to the point of wanting to quit.
So what do we do?
The problem is often very simple. When challenges come, we often just try to work harder. Or purchase one more bit of software. As a result, we might be adding hours of work to our already busy schedule when other factors need to be considered.
If we are trying to build this productive business while we are generally unhappy, overworked, or not eating correctly, we are wasting our time. If we really want to improve our productivity we need to be healthy, energetic and well organized – it’s all connected.
So let’s take a look at our lives as a whole. Every part of our daily routine influences other parts. Only a holistic approach to our lives and our work can bring the results we are looking for.
You know what I am going to say is first, don’t you?
Start your day with prayer and Bible study.
Even a few minutes of focused time with God can set you on the right path. There have been times when I have done this, and times when I haven’t. Believe me. I have learned how significant this is. Often while praying, new ideas will pop up. New contacts will emerge. And every time you follow this bit of advice, your confidence will increase.
If God is for you, who can be against you?
Early Morning is also a good time to exercise.
When you increase your circulation through your choice of activity, you increase your energy and your clarity. Whatever your goals, you need energy to accomplish them.
De-clutter. Clear the Space Around You.
All of those scraps of paper with insignificant notes need to be thrown away. Certainly yesterday’s coffee cup needs to be taken to the kitchen. Throw anything out that you don’t use regularly and that isn’t sentimental.
Likewise generally minimize your clutter by putting things in organized boxes and creating good systems to help you stay tidy. You’ll find you end up with a lot more mental space, a lot more time on your hands, and a lot more physical space for your productivity.
While de-cluttering, take a look at your computer. Your email account, your download files, and more. if you can manage to set up a plan for de-cluttering your computer, you will find more time and focus for your work.
Regulate Your Sleep/Wake Cycles
If you are currently all over the place in terms of your body clock then you should change that so that you have a stricter schedule on week days. Wake up early so you have time to work and come round in the morning and go to sleep with enough time to get a full eight hours so you’re refreshed tomorrow.
I realize that some people are more “hard-wired” in their sleep habits. If that’s you, try avoiding caffeine late in the day and drink some “sleepy tea” instead. Also, gear your end-of-day routine toward peaceful, calming endeavors.
As you take these steps, you can increase your chances of a good night’s sleep and an earlier bedtime.
Have Some ‘You’ Time: Schedule yourself in some time that is going to be ‘your’ time. This is important because otherwise you will end up distracted and wanting to do other things.
Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy eating will give you more energy and help you stay fresher during the day.
Even a few changes , like removing the sugar from your tea and coffee, cutting down on salt in your cooking, drinking fewer fizzy drinks, and taking the butter off your toast.
Easy right? Now make sure you drink five pints of water a day, and eat lots of fiber.
Have Some ‘You’ Time:
Schedule yourself in some time that is going to be ‘your’ time. This is important because otherwise you will end up distracted and wanting to do other things.
One of the ‘You’ Time items could be to adopt an awards system for yourself. Any activity that isn’t work is a ‘reward’ and you’re only allowed one at the time. So after a particularly difficult task, reward yourself. You’ll look forward to the intermittent moments – and be motivated to do the hard tasks.
Small Changes can make a Big difference
These are all small changes to make but they address elements of your life across the board. You’ll find very soon that this starts to give you more energy and focus in every area of your life and that you start seeing returns which snowball over time.
Being a solopreneur means running a business that is entirely yours. You are the person providing the value, but also the marketer, the web designer, and the accountant.
Most likely, you manage all this from the comfort of a home office somewhere.
While this style of work creates many opportunities, it also presents a number of obstacles, as we have discussed earlier. In particular, it can weigh heavily on your mind.
EVERYTHING is your responsibility. And it’s always right there.
This is why it’s so important that you create strict rules for your work/life balance and that you think of the lifestyle you want to achieve before you even begin pursuing your dream career as a digital entrepreneur.
In other words: you need to think about how much work you’re willing to put in and what kind of work you’re willing to do. You need to build your work in a way that is sustainable and enjoyable, so that it will be able to hold together even as it reaches critical mass.
Some things to consider:
Create your ideal working environment. (As far as possible)
This might mean that you work from a well-crafted home office and keep that for work only.
Likewise, it might mean that you seek out coffee shops to work in in your local area. This can help to prevent cabin fever, ensure you get social interaction and remove the temptation to procrastinate by watching TV or repeatedly making yourself sandwiches (a common problem).
Go to networking events, work in shared offices and attend conferences and seminars.
More and more people work online and just like any other industry, a lot of success as a digital marketer comes from who you know. Rubbing shoulders with other successful people will make you feel more accomplished and it will open up doors. Moreover, it will help you to get some time out of the home office!
Create set work hours and be strict about working inside those.
Rest is just as important as work if you are going to be as productive and efficient as possible and there’s no point earning money if you never have a chance to enjoy it!
Know the lifestyle you want to lead.
Know what you want to accomplish and then work to achieve that – no less and no more. This is what ‘lifestyle design’ is.
Don’t let others dictate your goals. Your family time, your church involvement, and your recreation are to be included when you are designing your life.
Balance is the key.
Outsource the work that you don’t enjoy or that is too much for you.
When you are first starting, money may be too scarce for hiring others. However, eventually you may want to hire staff or freelancers.
You can also outsource to VAS (virtual assistant services) or to service providers procured on freelancer sites.
Remember: This is Your Business.
Design and work your business in a way that will bring value to you and your family. You are the boss, so you can set the parameters and live by them.
Work and live the life you want!
There are countless advantages to being a solopreneur. Not only do you get to work from home and generate all your own income, but you also get to create something you’ve poured your heart into and something which truly represents who you are.
You can be yourself!
Many Christians are finding this solopreneur lifestyle to be a wonderful way of blending their values with their work.
Yet there are some challenges to the solopreneur lifestyle. To truly enjoy this lifestyle and to have it be profitable, you need to face these challenges.
And overcome them, in order to thrive.
So let’s look at some tips to help you overcome the most common challenges of the solopreneur lifestyle.
A lot of people find that working from one room all day is very monotonous. But this challenge should not be an issue. One of the brilliant aspects of working from home is that when it’s a nice day you can sit in the garden. If you don’t mind the distraction you can even go and work in a coffee shop for variation. The world is your office, so get yourself out there!
I have an office area with a desktop, printer, etc. I work there much of the time.
However, I also have a laptop which I can use anytime, anywhere. I love this special tool which allows me to change the scene – and yet keep up with my mission.
Being Constantly “On.”
It is very important to make a distinction between work time and family time. That means that when it’s family time, you don’t take work phone calls or emails. You can get back to the people later.
Some solopreneurs even have separate phone numbers for their ‘personal’ time and their ‘work’ time. That way the phones can be turned on or off depending on whether they are “at work” or “at home.”
Loss of Structure:
As working from home can leave you without structure, you must take steps to overcome this. Planning your work is more important for a solopreneur than for an office worker.
Someone working in an office usually has others demanding work loads and time restraints. When you are your own boss, you have to play that boss’s role with yourself. You must set up a schedule with expectations and timelines.
Then reward yourself when your deadlines are met.
One way to feel connected to the real world is to call friends and sort errands in your lunch break. It’s also a good idea to join groups or networks in your field.
Find ways to connect with others for companionship and motivation.
Which brings me to the final challenge: Staying Motivated.
When you are your boss, your counselor, and
your motivator, you need to be alert to slipping in these areas.
Networking is a great way to increase your motivation. Also, reading or taking courses from others in your field. You’ll not only stay motivated, but you will find new ideas to spark your energy.
As with any endeavor, we Christians realize the importance of prayer for our mental well-being and our success. Commit each day to God and ask for His direction. Also ask Him to open doors for you. Ask Him to bring the people across your path who need to hear what you have to say – or who need the benefit of your offers.
Oh, and when He brings that direction, do what He says. Reach out to the people He brings your way. Help them achieve their goals, and your success will come as a result.
As you lay that foundation of prayer, you’ll conquer the challenges.
You’ll stay motivated and energized for your mission. You’ll overcome monotony, disconnection, and the distractions of working from home.
And you’ll have greater success.
Being a successful solopreneur is an extremely challenging goal.
Being a great parent is likewise extremely challenging.
So can you be both? With careful thought and planning, yes you can!! Many have accomplished this.
Both of these ambitions will take up lots of time and thought. They both leave you with very little energy at the end of the day. And they both linger psychologically: meaning that it’s very hard to “switch off” in either case.
As you can imagine then, finding a way to do both these things at the same time is quite a challenge. So what are some secrets for doing this?
Let’s take a look.
Perhaps you are too focused on work, which leaves you stressed when spending time with your family. Your webinar didn’t go well and you realize that you made mistakes in your presentation.
Or maybe you are thinking about your new product launch.
Or your business stress has you in a bad mood.
Maybe the cash flow isn’t what you want and you are struggling to pay your bills.
Then perhaps you’re too far the other way. Maybe you’re a great parent, but you let that interfere with your work-life. Maybe you can’t focus at work and you’re constantly taking holiday to spend time with your family.
Maybe you’re distracted by hearing the kids play downstairs and you just can’t focus on work.
These are definitely issues many stay-at-home Moms face when they start a business.
So, what do you do?
There’s no single answer to this. There are so many variables in this situation that one answer wouldn’t be relevant for everyone.
I would say to pray and ask God for guidance. He will help you to see how to maneuver this. How to plan and how to implement your plan.
But here’s a truth that is fairly universal: If you try to do both things simultaneously then you will do neither well.
This is why you need to be very strict and disciplined about what you consider to be “work time” and what you consider to be “home time.”
Some successful solopreneurs “dress” for work – just as if they were going to an office. No pajama days for them. This simple trick can help them and their families realize that office hours are important.
Set up a schedule for work, and stick to it. Focus on your work for these set periods of time, and afterwards, switch your attention to your family. Then focus on them!
You might feel as though that defeats many of the benefits of being self-employed in the first place. But there are ways to get the benefits AND still keep things separate.
For one: as long as you are able to focus hard and work fast, there is nothing to stop you from taking additional breaks throughout the day. As long as they are clearly defined and you go back to work afterward!
Sometimes you can try to focus on completing a certain amount of work, rather than working for a given amount of time. This incentivizes you to work quickly, and it means you often can take more time to be with your family!
One of the great benefits of being a solopreneur and a parent is that you are setting a good example. Your children see that you are working hard – and they want to emulate that behavior.
They also see that you are setting goals and accomplishing them. Children thrive when they see the success of their parents. They will even benefit from seeing you make mistakes and correct your course along the way.
Such examples are “caught” and you will see your children being more productive. They too will want to be visionaries and set goals. They too will want to put in the work necessary to achieve those goals.
So pray, plan, implement, and be a great role model for your children. They will gain much from having such a parent!
And you will flourish in your pursuits!