t’s one thing to start a business as a solopreneur. Having a couple clients here and there is great, but it’s something different to grow that business into a revenue-generating machine that allows you to do what you love and earn the kind of money you need on a full-time basis.
Being a successful solopreneur requires planning, follow through, and having reliable partners and services like VSP® Individual Vision Plans on your side. Here are five tips that growth-focused solopreneurs should keep in mind to set themselves up for long-term success.
1. Stay organized.
To go from part-time to full-time solopreneur, you’re going to have to put in a lot of extra hours. But you want to be working smarter, not just longer.
You’re in charge of your time and how many clients you take on in that time. Therefore, staying organized will be a top priority. You’ll want to avoid downtime and double booking as much as possible.
There are plenty of scheduling apps to help keep business owners organized and on time. You might even consider adding an online calendar or scheduling tool to your business’s website so clients easily know your availability. Staying organized will help you avoid burnout which can be crucial when starting out on your own.
2. Know how much money you need to get by.
Going full-time with your solo venture means it will likely be your sole source of income. You can’t just quit your nine-to-five job and “wing it” with your startup. That’s how ambitious solopreneurs wind up becoming saddled with debt.
You’ll want to map out every business expense you have now and can foresee in the future from the start. First, consider how much money you’ll need to start your business. This includes upfront costs like purchasing equipment or tools as well as ongoing expenses like renting a space or buying supplies.
Then it’s time to map that budget for your life expenses. How much do you need for rent/mortgage payments? Utilities? Food? Entertainment? You get the idea. Once you have a sense of your personal expense budget, you’ll need to balance it against your projected business income. How much should a typical client/project pay? This should help give you an idea about how many clients you’ll need to safely cover all your expenses plus profit.
3. Have a financial safety net.
Now that you’ve determined where you want to be financially, don’t forget to plan for the unexpected. People get sick. Cars and equipment break down. Things like the economy and weather can impact demand for your services or the ability of your clients to pay on time.
Since you’re the nexus of your business, having extra money on-hand for emergencies will help ensure your long-term success. One way is to put a certain percent of your profits every month into a separate account. That specific amount is up to you. It’s often wise to have enough money in that account for you to get by for six months to a year or more, depending on the circumstances that arise.
4. Know the risks.
There are additional ways a solopreneur can protect themselves against certain unforeseen events. What happens if you damage a client’s property while on the job? What happens when a client claims negligence on your part? As a solopreneur, you’re open to a wide array of risks.
This is where liability insurance comes in. A general liability policy can help cover expenses related to physical incidents such as bodily injuries or property damage. Professional liability insurance typically covers risks like errors or omissions in your work. You’ll be relieved to have this type of insurance should you ever need it.
5. Don’t forget to protect yourself.
Since we’re on the topic of insurance, solopreneurs need to protect their most valuable asset: themselves.