When you're both the CEO and janitor of your own business, there's bound to be more than a few frustrations. Handling it all can feel like a juggling show, or a one-man band, or a one-man band juggling show, depending on how you look at it. Work-at-home moms are often frustrated with single-handedly running a household and a business—just take a look at one of our recent forum posts.
But while some frustrations are inevitable, there are ways you can lessen the pain. Here are five frustrations of being a solopreneur—and, more importantly, what you can do to overcome them.
Being boastful is not a good personality trait. As a solopreneur, marketing yourself often feels a bit like being a brag. It's frustrating to find the line between bragging and self-promotion when every positive thing your business does is a positive thing you have done individually.
How to overcome the frustration of selling yourself:
Focus on the traits that make you succeed as a business. What makes you great as a person isn't always the same thing that makes you great as a business.
Focus on the past positive work you have done. Offer statistics from previous projects, or testimonials from happy customers.
Ask for input. Others may recognize your best traits before you do. Ask past clients for testimonials, and use them to brainstorm ways to promote yourself.
Learn (and use) the same marketing tricks other business use. Just because you're a one-woman show doesn't mean you can't use marketing tactics that larger businesses use. Attend seminars, follow marketing blogs, and do whatever you can to learn the marketing side of things.
Building a consistent client base.
While one-time sales and one-time projects are good, they don't yield a very reliable income. Consistent clients are a gold standard for soloprenurs. But getting them can be a challenge.
How to overcome the frustration of building a consistent client base:
Focus on creating a good product or service first. If you want to land long-term work, make sure your short-term work shines first.
Maintain communication with past clients. Whether you use email marketing of social media, encourage those one-time clients to sign up. Maintain communication and you may be doing work with them again in the future.
Dedicate a set amount of time to reach out to consistent clients and one-time clients. If your business includes placing bids for work, make sure to bid for long-term work as well as short-term work, and decide how much time you'll spend on reaching out to each.
Offer an incentive. Give clients a reason to keep coming back. If you sell a product, create a rewards program and they'll want to keep shopping with you to use their rewards for discounted products. If you have a service-based business, give one-time clients a discount to use in the future.
Turning prospects into clients.
You've spent hours talking to a potential client—and while they seemed interested at first, they haven't actually used your business yet. Talk about frustrating!
How to overcome the frustration of turning prospects into clients:
Stay in contact. While you're reaching out, be sure to get their email, or encourage them to follow your social media profiles. You never know why they loose interest—for example, they may no longer have the budget for it, but could in the future.
Don't get discouraged. Every businesses loses leads—don't give in to the lie that it's a reflection on you.
Having your own business means looking like a business—but creating your own logo and marketing materials can be a headache, and can end up looking unprofessional if you're not design-savvy.
How to overcome the frustration of personal branding:
Get help. You don't need employees to get some help with your businesses. Hire a freelance graphic designer. Work out an exchange with another business owner. Seek out a graphic design student that needs examples for their portfolio.
Get the right program. If you're not not a design expert, attempting to learn how to use a program like Photoshop or Illustrator will be frustrating in itself. Try an online logo generator, or a program like Canva for easy marketing materials.
Managing it all.
CEO, secretary, janitor—that's all you, and that's a lot to manage. Owning your own one-person business means you wear many hats, and there's so much to do that it's often overwhelming.
How to overcome the frustrations of managing it all:
Prioritize. Make sure all the “have-tos” get done before the “should-dos.”
Schedule time for yourself. There will always be something that needs to be done, but your business won't do you much good if you've gone insane from it. Take a break.
Learn to recognize when you need help. Newsflash: you don't have to do it all. Whether it's getting help with marketing from a freelancer or getting your significant other to do the dishes, don't be afraid to get help sometimes.
Working for yourself is often rewarding—but also often frustrating. Know that you're not alone in your frustrations—identify them, and then you can learn how to manage them.
Join in on the conversation—share what you find frustrating in the forums.