This is a super exciting post because special episode 50 of the SG Podcast went live recently. I started the SG brand/podcast almost 2 years ago and didn’t really know what would come of it, so making it to episode 50 was pretty cool.
Instead of doing my usual interview with a successful solopreneur, I self-recorded an episode talking about why I started the brand/podcast, how I got it started (for those interested in starting a podcast of your own, you’ll see how easy it is) and what I’ve learned from the 50+ guests I’ve had on.
It’s pretty cool, because after interviewing the first 15-20 guests, I started noticing these patterns in what successful solopreneurs were doing. Noticing similar responses, or similar struggles, or similar things they did that led to success.
I wanted to share a few of these key lessons from my first 50 episodes, and also recommend giving it a listen here to get the full experience!
Top 3 lessons from interviewing 50+ successful solopreneurs:
1) It’s a really tough journey and you have to work hard
No one has had an easy journey to success and there is no way to get around doing a lot of hard work. Whether it was putting in time on the evenings/weekends, quitting their 9-5 or some other way, they made the time and took incredible amounts of action. Without it, there’s simply no way to get your own business off the ground. And if you don’t think you’re cut out for it, solopreneurship may not be right for you (which is totally fine too!).
2) Focus on your target market and create value
You can’t just “follow your passion” blindly. Yes, you can start with your passion, but you need to get an idea of what parts of your passion people actually want and are willing to pay for. This is an important distinction, because if there isn’t demand, you will have a hard time. Next, focus on creating massive value, solving a problem or filling a need.
3) Get started fast, even if for free
The one thing many solopreneurs wish they did is start earlier. And there are probably tons of people out there with ideas who should have started already. One easy solution is to stop worrying about technicalities, or dollars, and just start helping people. Whether it’s free coaching, or some type of program, or blog posts, anything… just start. Not only will you learn about your market, you’ll gain some momentum, you’ll get some testimonials, referrals, and more.
You never know what can happen when you get the ball moving.
The other thing I’ve recently learned is that while some industries/business can be very different, a lot of the same principles apply. As you may know, I’m balancing my immigration practice and highly related immigration tech startup, and I gotta say…
Going from solopreneur to the startup world has been an eye opener.
While there is a fair amount of overlap and my experience building my own solopreneur business has helped a lot, there’s a whole new slew of things to do, know and figure out in the startup world.
That being said, it’s been super refreshing to try to figure out this new “environment” and tackle new problems – those are the most fun to try to solve, right?
My biggest struggle: finding and keeping engaged users. The immigration process is a long, personal and sometimes complicated process, so trying to keep potential users engaged and building trust with them has proven a challenge thus far.
But I have faith that I can solve it.
Sometimes you need to know when to go back to the basics, and also lean on people/resources to help you when you’re feeling lost.
Regarding the basics, I love the idea of “doing things that don’t scale”. There’s a great blog post on it from Paul Graham that I’ll include below. To find and engage new users, I’m starting to do things that don’t scale first (ie. the nitty-gritty, not-so-pretty stuff).
Also, a to-do/priority list and organized calendar is once again saving me. If you have a busy week, and/or are trying to manage multiple projects, and/or just don’t know what you should be doing, then you should be keeping a to-do list that you can constantly revisit, evaluate, update and work off of.
Hope all of this helps! If it does and you want a weekly dose of it, make sure to sign up for the SG email list here!