You’re not alone on this solo business ‘journey’
You started your solo business to do your own thing. You don’t miss the ‘group-think’ from your past company role, although leaving the team environment was hard. But do you think business is supposed to be done solo? That differentiating yourself from other business owners in your field means steering clear of them? Well, it’ll be a long and lonely road to build your business without sharing the highs and lows with people who understand the journey you’re on.
Gather a crew of your best business buddies to share your business ‘road trip’ and help you thrive. Pack the road trip snacks and hang on for the ride!
Less competition, more community
In business we all have unique talents and we’re not the answer to every client’s needs. Rather than keeping other business-folk at arm’s length, you could harness their strengths for your journey.
It’s just like when bringing your mates along for a road trip, you’ll have someone looking after packing the snacks, one in charge of navigation, and one keeping the tunes coming with a playlist along the way. A dream team!
Teaming up with other service providers can help you produce dream results for your clients.
Collaborate for the win!
Being adaptable in your solo business means making the most of resources. Making connections with business buddies is about knowing who you can call on to help you deliver winning results for clients.
Find a mate and collaborate by:
- sub-contracting to share the workload
- undertaking joint projects as a one-off informal partnership
while still staying flexible in your solo business.
For more inspiration on ways to collaborate, check out Collaboration builds foundations for your solo business.
Referrals give clients the best service
You might be doing similar work to someone else, but targeting a different niche, according to your strengths and interests.
For example, I’m in a network of about 400 copywriters, all with different specialisations and levels of expertise. Among us we can serve different industries and clients of different budgets.
We refer work on to others in our network, for overflow or if we’re not quite the right fit. We can’t do all the work in the world!
Providing recommendations, and being recommended for work, lets everyone win. You’re creating ideal solutions for clients by connecting them with their ‘best fit’ service provider, while having others refer your ideal clients to you.
You’d find a similar variety of therapists, coaches, creatives and all manner of service professionals, with potential to build referral relationships to meet a range of client needs.
Knowing who’s out there in your network of business buddies is a handy asset to delivering excellent client service.
Harness inspiration and ideas
Connecting up with other business owners gives you a great resource for generating ideas for your business. You could arrange brainstorm sessions to help each other. You might even formalise it in a ‘mastermind’ where a small group of people come together to nut out one person’s business challenge.
Have a new idea you want to try?
Probably best not to rely on your nearest and dearest family and friends for honest feedback. They’ll cheer you on no matter what you do! Your fellow business owners are great for sense-checking your new approach. They know what works ‘in the market’ and can provide objective feedback.
Talking about your ideas and goals out loud makes it more likely you’ll stick to your plans. It’s a form of self-accountability. Now you’ve told people about it, you’re more committed to doing it.
As the navigator in your business journey, sharing your trip plans and getting help to map out the milestones can help get you, and everyone around you, excited for what lies ahead.
Your business road trip is all about the journey – share the adventure
It can feel lonely running a solo business. Especially if you’re working alone in your home office.
As cheerleaders and champions, business buddies can
- help sustain your momentum toward your goals
- remind you you’re on the right track, when you’re flagging
- share your promotions and service offerings to their networks, expanding your reach.
A supportive network helps turn a stressful and isolating experience into an exciting adventure to be shared.
Put away your competitive side
On your business road trip, let’s ride
Working with you or near you
Your biz buddies cheer you
The collab opportunities are wide
How does it work?
I surround myself with all of these – supporters, collaborators, referral partners – and I don’t think I’d still be in business if I didn’t.
But I can guess what you’re thinking, ‘How do I make friends with my competitors?’
The same way all friendships are made = building trust.
When you’re generous with sharing your knowledge and advice in your networks, a few things will happen:
- people will learn about your unique attributes and be inspired to work with you
- people will get to know you as someone who helps others succeed and will trust your expertise
- you’ll attract the people who are like-minded and place similar value on collaboration and relationship-building.
Growing your networks means growing your support crew for the best business road trip ever.
I maintain my business networks for support and encouragement on the journey, but also so I have a number of experts to call on when creating marketing solutions for my clients. Do you want to join me? Get in touch!
Connectjen: Helping solo service providers create their own achievable marketing plan, starting with getting clear on ‘who you help and how you help them’.