When I sat down recently to analyse the results of a reader survey we did at Flying Solo, a very definite pattern about the different stages of business emerged. People who were in the early stages of soloism had vastly different problems to those who’ve been round the block a few times.
Which highlighted the importance of us publishing content that covers the full spectrum of our readers’ needs.
Were we covering all the stages of business?
Happily, when I sat down and ran through all the articles we’ve published over the past few years, I could see that YES! There was a healthy mix of stuff for newbies, advanced content for those who are established, and all the stages of business in between.
Looking more closely at the feedback I was also able to identify six stages of soloism. Here’s a description of each of the stages of business along with the resources from our site that would be most helpful to each stage:
Stage 1: Taking the leap
You’ve either already decided to go it alone, (congrats!) or you’re seriously considering taking the leap. So, you’re looking to validate your decision plus you want to set your business properly. You know you’ll save a lot of time and money in the future if you do it right from the start.
You also need a logo, stationery and a new website.
Articles that will be useful to you at this stage of the game:
- 4 essentials for starting a business in Australia
- Starting your own business? Your top 7 questions answered
- 6 things you need to know before quitting your day job to go freelance
- Questions you must ask before building your website
- How to plan a successful website
- Designing a logo on a shoestring budget
Sections from our online course soloism.com that will help:
- Online quiz: Are you suited to soloism?
- Section 1: Why soloism
- Section 2: What you need to success
Stage 2: Will they come?
You’re all set up and have been doing this gig for anywhere between six months and two years (give or take!). You have clients – but not enough. You’re constantly worried about cash flow while also trying to figure out how to market yourself effectively and generate new leads. I’d say this is probably the hardest part of the solo lifecycle, the one where most people wonder if they should go back to working for the man.
If this is you, here’s what you should read:
- 5 things that helped me survive my first five years of business
- Looking for new clients? These 7 web design mistakes stop them calling
- Marketing your small business during tough times
- 7 ways to market your business without feeling like a jerk
- 7 simple ways to improve cash flow
And here are the sections on soloism.com that will be the most helpful:
- Section 7: Seize your market
- Section 8: Get your offering right
- Section 9: Identifying your ideal customer
Stage 3: Crazy Town, Population: You
Remember those days where you were scratching around for clients? You’re almost wistful for those times because, in Stage 3 of the soloist lifecycle, things are a little crazy. You’ve got more work than you can handle and you’re still doing everything in your business – billable work, marketing, admin, accounting. Everyone’s telling you to hire someone, but you just don’t have the time to train anyone up. And while it’s nice having money in the bank, your work-life balance is non-existent.
Here are some helpful articles if you’re currently in this phase:
- I’m drowning, not waving!
- How to destroy a business owner
- How to take control of stress before it controls you
- 7 things the most profitable businesses have in common
The most helpful sections on soloism.com for this stage?
- Section 16: Working productively
- Section 17: Handling overwhelm
- Section 19: Why you need accountability
Stage 4: Take a drive down Process Street
You’re still too busy, but you’ve gotten your stress under control and feel you can breathe again. Overwhelm is only ever just one irate client email away, however, which means it’s time to create processes in your business so you can outsource those tasks you hate. You know that building a team – virtual or real – will be crucial to being able to enjoy your business and allow it to grow without killing you!
These articles will point you in the right direction:
- The one hard thing you MUST do to take your business to the next level
- 3 reasons your offshore VA sucked
- How to delegate well according to your stage of growth
- 5 signs your business needs systemising
- How to get off the business hamster wheel
And here are the most helpful sections on soloism.com for Stage 4:
- Section 20: Handling the backroom
- Section 21: Growing the team
Stage 5: Work-life balance is not a myth
You never thought this day would come, but it’s actually here. You’ve got great systems and processes in place. You’ve got great people behind you. Yes, you’re still working in the business, but you also get to spend a lot of time working on your business. You even get to take holidays and see your kids.
Here are some other people who’ve managed to achieve the same:
- How I automated my business to achieve a 4-hour work week
- I’m taking a 7-week break from my business. Here’s how
- Love it and leave it. How to take extended leave from your business
- How to get all your work done in 5 hours a day
Soloism.com also has some good stuff for those of you in Stage 5:
- Section 18: Staying connected
- Section 23: Refreshing and rejuvenating
Stage 6: Exit stage right
It’stime to retire. Or, you might just have a hankering to try something new. Whatever your reason for wanting to exit your business, we’re thrilled you’ve reached this point in your solo journey.
Here are some articles and podcasts that will help you on your way:
- Business succession planning: Developing an exit strategy
- Is your business breaking your heart?
- Planning your exit
- Exits: Selling up and moving on
And yes, soloism.com has this stage in the soloist lifecycle covered too:
- Section 25: Evolving and exiting
- Section 26: Your personal manifesto
Over to you
Where are you in your solo journey currently? What’s your biggest concern right now? Share it in the comments and we’ll try to point you towards something that may help!