Once you’ve decided on your solopreneur business idea, the next—and often biggest—step is to simply get started. So, how can you put your idea into motion?
We put our thinking caps on and put together six tips for solopreneurs who are still finding their feet, to help you on your way.
1) Find a business idea that fulfils your needs
You’re going to invest a lot of time in your solo business, so it should be something that you are passionate about, and will keep you engaged.
Ask yourself why you want to start a solopreneur business. Do you want flexible hours, or do you have a hobby that you want to make your career?
Our solopreneur business ideas guide is just a starting point: in reality there are thousands of business models you could look into running alone. Take the time to assess a few options, think through the practicalities of each, and decide on what feels like the best fit for your ambitions and preferences.
2) Set a goal and create a business plan
Once you have your business idea and a broad vision for it, it’s time to put this onto paper—or even a document in Dropbox Paper—and map out the details of your business model.
A typical business plan will include details of the following:
- An executive summary
- A business description
- Details of market strategies
- Competitor analysis
- A design and development plan of your products and services
- Information about your operations and management plan
- Financial information, planning and factors
Try to keep it as simple as possible. Anyone should be able to read your business plan and understand what your business is, how it makes money, and how it will operate.
Creating a business plan will also help you to spot issues in your idea and solve them before putting plans into motion. You might also want to think about the longer term, and consider growth strategies for your business if you’re hoping to expand eventually.
3) Stay organized and stick to your plan
When you run a business as a solopreneur, it all comes down to you. You’re running the operation, delivering the work, and dealing with customers. As soon as you fall down, the business does too.
That’s why it’s crucial to stay organized and keep on top of the various moving parts of your one-person business.
4) Automate as much as you can
There’s only one of you. The more time you can dedicate to delivering your solopreneur business’ product or service, the more revenue you can generate.
This is where automation can help. Why spend time working on mundane tasks, when technology can do it for you?
Dropbox integrations with industry-leading automation tools, like Zapier and Nintex, mean you can streamline and automate workflows with your Dropbox content, freeing your work from the manual actions typically needed to work across apps.
Take content approval, for example. This typically multi-step, multi-stakeholder process can be fully automated within Dropbox using K2, a popular workflow automation platform. By automatically routing content to contributors for collaboration and approval before publication, you can take unnecessary manual tasks off your hands.
For solopreneurs, this can be a gamechanger in reducing micromanagement that could otherwise cripple your productivity as a core team of one.
What’s more, the power of automation within Dropbox will continue to grow over time, as platforms increasingly invest in advanced integrations.
As Eyal Inbar, Vice President of Global Technology Alliances at K2, puts it, “K2 and Dropbox share a common goal, which is to simplify the way in which users discover, connect, and manage information, whether it resides on-premise or in the cloud. By integrating with Dropbox, we can help empower customers to reimagine their workflows and build powerful process applications.”
5) Don’t be afraid to bring in an extra pair of hands when you need it
While the name solopreneur implies that you intend to work alone, there’s no reason you can’t bring in support from time to time when you need it.
If you’re having a particularly busy month, or need a specialist skillset on an upcoming project, you should definitely consider outsourcing some of your work. Why not bring in a freelancer, for some needed support? Or pay for an accountant to look after calculating your taxes?
The right support won’t dilute your status as a solopreneur—instead it will free you up to focus on what matters: the success of your own business.
Sharing the workload doesn’t mean you need to break your workflow either. With Dropbox file sharing, you can take complete control over who has access and for how long. And with our content collaboration tools, you can work simultaneously on the same files in parallel, without getting in each other’s way.
6) Practice patience, relish in the freedom, and remember it’s not all about money
While our other tips have been more practical, we’d like to close on a slightly more philosophical point.
Solopreneurship can be tough, and it isn’t for everyone. Once you’ve launched your own business, it may take some time to start generating revenue. At times, it may even start to feel like it’s not playing out the way you first imagined.
But remember, this career path isn’t just about money. The beauty of a solopreneur business is that you are truly in control and can afford to enjoy the freedom that comes with it. This is your business, and there are so many benefits that come with that.
Above all, patience and perseverance are the foundations of a successful solopreneur’s path. Remember why you set out on your own in the first place—core values, lifestyle choice, freedom—and give your business the time it needs to find a solid footing.
Give yourself the space to do your best work
Running a solo business can be a whirlwind one day, and calm as the eye of a storm the next. While there are many parts of this you can’t control, one thing you can take control of is your workspace.
Start by organizing your desk, your home office, and your paperwork. Then take it up a notch with Dropbox: a place you can use the tools you love, safely store the files you care about, cut through the clutter, and make your working day as productive as possible.