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What should I prioritize as a one-person business?

Solo founders should prioritize the activities that will drive their businesses forward while balancing their health, wealth, and relationships.

Cashflow should always be a priority for founders as it impacts mood, stress, confidence, and ability to execute.

Given that, it’s key to understand that people face different lifestyle challenges.

I’ve provided 3 solutions that relate to 3 different lifestyle scenarios:

  1. You’re a full-time employee and your business is a side-hustle.
  2. You’re working on your business full-time but cashflow is short.
  3. You’re waiting for your product to be built.

Scroll down to find the answer that best matches your situation!

1. Full-Time Employees with Side-Hustles

Who You Are:

You have a salary position working for a company that is not your own. You earn income through wages on a full-time basis. You are able to support yourself in your current financial position.

What Your Challenges Are:

You can’t make sales calls between 9:00AM and 5:00PM. You can’t offer your services during work hours.

Recommended Priorities:

Get a website up and develop content in your evenings. Build a community and put some of your spare dollars into ads. Start building your sales list of companies you want to work with or partner with.

How to Transition Away from Your Job:

When the time comes to switch from a full-time job to your own business, you’ll want to take as little time as possible to transition.

By having a website with content and a community, you’ll have accomplished 2 things: (1) developing your brand, and (2) knowing enough about your audience that you can speak to them with confidence.

Use your knowledge of their interests and goals to prepare a plan for selling products, services, and partnering. When you leave your job, you want to have that list of 1,000 companies to contact, partner with, or sell to.

The actual act of leaving is going to be awkward and stressful. Here’s how I suggest you approach it:

  • Talk about it. I’ve been working on this project, I see potential for it, I want to pursue this further.
  • Offer Transitioning Support. See if there’s a scenario where you can adjust your role to help you transition into a consulting arrangement.
  • Submit a Letter of Resignation. These are meant to be brief. Tell your employer you’re leaving and as per your contract you will be leaving after x weeks.

Leaving isn’t easy, but believe me you will feel relieved!

2. Working Full-Time on Your Business with Short Cashflow

Who You Are:

You work in the thick of day-to-day operations building your company. You are under a lot of stress and aren’t bringing in enough revenue. You work for yourself, but struggle to meet your lifestyle needs (rent, car, phone, etc).

What Your Challenges Are:

You’re doing a lot of inbound marketing, but aren’t seeing return as fast as you’d like. You’re spending on ads, but they aren’t converting well. You’re questioning whether or not you should try offering different products/services.

Recommended Priorities:

Build a list of companies you can partner with and form strategic partnerships. Start applying to speaking events and hosting your own. Build your sales list and work prospects.

About Strategic Partnerships

Forming strategic partnerships is wise. Consider a new marketing agency. They might consider partnering with existing consulting company to provide services for their clients. The consultant takes a piece off the top, but the clients are shared to the agency. Suddenly the agency goes from 1 client to 12 clients.

With your new fancy partnership and cashflow, start building your outbound sales operation and inbound marketing operation. Despite having a strategic partner, you won’t want to place all your eggs in one basket. If they fold or walk away, you’re done.

Diversify risk and use the cashflow you earn to invest in sustainable operations for your business.

Heads Up: Inbound marketing can take 1-3 years to pay off. If you have the cash to start it ASAP, do it. Otherwise you’ll start 3 years later and have lost that time.

3. You’re Waiting for Your Product to be Built

Who You Are:

A non-technical founder waiting for your technology product or website to be built by a third party. A CEO whose co-founder is deep into development and you’re feeling under-utilized.

What Your Challenges Are:

You don’t have a product to sell yet. You’re not sure what you should be doing in the meantime.

Recommended Priorities:

Fundraise through Investment – go on the hunt finding investors.

Fundraise through Programs – sift through government programs to find financing incentives.

Fundraise through Services – offer a relevant service that’s adjacent to your product’s market.

Create content that drives awareness of your industry.

Create content that drives awareness of your product pain/solution.

Gather testimonials from people you’ve worked with.

Acquire certifications that build trust and authority.

Essentially you’re going to need money, a community, and social proof that you and your business are serious about selling your solution.

There are number of ways you can achieve these items, but however way you cut it, you’re going to need them.

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