Have you decided to ditch your job and market your unique skills as a solopreneur?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, the 2019 State of Independence in America report tally up to a whopping 41 million Americans who generate $1.28 trillion–yes, trillion–annually.
While some of those workers start their businesses as a side hustle, others dive right into the cockpit and take flight into a full-time solopreneur.
These numbers are impressive–and growing. The availability of technologies today free workers from “an office” and allow them to work from anyplace they want. Home offices thrive from kitchen tables, spare bedrooms, garages, or even out of suitcases for those we call “digital nomads.”
Who Are Solopreneurs?
These business owners span all age groups and economic backgrounds. Instead, they share a common thread–a drive to succeed on their own and take charge of their careers.
But what are some of the services that they perform? Below is a partial list:
- Software and app developers
- Event planners | Meeting planners
- Life coaching
- Online travel agents
- Online course developers
- Accountants | Tax preparers
- Affiliate marketers
- Website designers
- Graphic designers
- Freelance writers | Bloggers | e-Book bloggers
- Online tutors | Teaching English
This list could go on and on. However, each career is viable and thriving for those who wish to work hard to make a go of it.
Planning for Success and Growth in Your Business
For many, the decision to become a solopreneur is the easy part. And, getting your first few clients may not even be very difficult, especially if you have work experience and a few contacts.
Indeed, the real challenge lies in setting the proper framework for your business early on. And that’s a structure that enhances your productivity so that you can continually work on activities that generate revenue. Otherwise, you’ll be bogged down by administrative tasks quickly.
Let’s look at some productivity tools that you’ll need to ensure sustainable growth.
1 - EmailMeForm
Of course, we are going to suggest that you have your online forms in place. Of all the online tools that you’ll need, your forms are integral to enhancing your growth.
With our tools, you can set up the five necessary forms you need to get started.
- Invoice form: Keep track of your revenue. You can also integrate your EmailMeForm with PayPal for credit card payments in the earliest days of your business.
- Payment form: Do you do enough business to accept credit cards yourself? Our safe and secure payment form secures customer data in the EmailMeForm Vault. Data will be safe from online fraudsters and hackers.
- Contact form: This form works 24/7/365 to accept requests from prospective clients who want to do business with you.
- Newsletter subscription forms: Add value by sending newsletters to your clients, offering them valuable tips. This form grows your base.
- Customer survey form: Assess customer happiness and make adjustments to build customer loyalty.
As your business grows (and your revenues increase!), you can scale up to a larger plan that supports your continued trajectory of growth. That could include signing up for Vault, our “safe house” to store credit card and other sensitive data safely and securely.
2 - PayPal
In the earliest days of your solopreneur business, you might not process enough payments to partner with a credit card provider to run card payments directly. Time enough for that, later!
Until you reach that volume, you need a payment provider that has the built-in tools. Thus, you can focus on driving revenue. PayPal offers that capability.
Not only can you invoice and accept payments, but you can also create recurring invoices, generate reports, and pay for goods and services. All right from your PayPal account.
Plus, the brand is well-recognized and trusted by consumers. Credit card fraud is ever on the rise, and consumers are tine in to anything that looks suspicious. You will have no arguments from customers about making online payments with this brand behind you.
Their fees might be a smidge higher than those you’d pay if you processed payments with another provider. But the convenience of their all-in-one service is alluring to many start-up solopreneurs.
3 - WordPress
WordPress is the platform chosen by over 172 million businesses from all around the globe in 2018. Solopreneurs love it because it’s affordable to self-host. And, it’s easy to set up on a start-ups budget. That’s thanks to the ease of plug-ins to perform so many functions.
Do you need a website? Some would say not, but we say–probably. If people can’t find your services online, you will face challenges in growing your business.
Therefore, having a website with a blog, information about your business, calls-to-action, and links to your social profile is money well-spent in these early stages.
Plus, you can grow your subscriber base (i.e., prospects and customers) by adding your EmailMeForms into WordPress quickly.
4 - Newsletter or Email Marketing Provider
Another productivity tool that will help you remain productive and set you on the path to successful growth is an app to aid in your email marketing and newsletter efforts.
We have many customers who integrate EmailMeForms to two primary providers–Constant Contact and MailChimp. “Integration” means that as your form collects user data, it shares that information with your email marketing tool. Therefore, you don’t need to process entries manually. Pretty cool, right?
Many choose integration with MailChimp because of the low cost. In fact, it’s free to start. You can scale your plan as you grow.
Even if you start very small, sending your newsletter out to just a handful of subscribers at first, you are doing two things. First, you are getting in the good habit of using this digital marketing tool. Second, you’re providing extra service to your clients. And if you don’t talk to them, you’d better believe that your customers will!
On the other hand, users might set up with Constant Contact and willingly pay the subscription fee for one reason. The beauty of their newsletters is indiputable. This service offers a larger number of really cool templates that users enjoy customizing.
5 - Social Messaging Apps
Satisfied customers are, undoubtedly, the lifeblood of your business. They can offer you repeat business, referrals, and leave you glowing online reviews.
However, today’s consumers have shrinking attention spans. Where users were okay with sending an email and awaiting a reply years ago, that no longer cuts it today.
Large companies are employing chatbots to assist customers around the clock. But you know you can’t afford that yet. The answer for you is in adding social messaging apps. Your customers love social media, and they love using it for personal communication.
The most popular of these is Messenger by Facebook. But you can choose other channels as well–What’s App, Snapchat, and Skype now offer this same functionality. Share a plug-in on your WordPress website or button on your social media so that customers can reach you when they need you. While they won’t get the instant response of a chatbot, you are still responding faster than you would to an email.
If you choose to use social messaging apps, please remember to never share sensitive data, credit card numbers, or confidential information via these online tools!
6 - Social Media
Facebook. YouTube. Instagram. Twitter. Pinterest You know all the social media big guys–and you should use social media marketing to spread the word about your business.
Users love social media. And, you can use this addiction to your advantage. Setting up business profiles on the bigger social platforms allows you to drive traffic to your website or landing pages to convert sales–for free!
Yes, advertising boosts are available. However, building a following of dedicated subscribers enables you to put your brand back in front of people daily. And, when you create highly shareable content, they will help you spread the news about your services.
Social media might seem exhausting. And, you’re right! For if you try to manage it one site at a time, it will overwhelm you. Fortunately, apps like HootSuite, Zoho, Later, and Buffer are affordable. And, they allow you to drop all your content into one place, then push it out at a scheduled time.
One thing to watch out for–some of these apps provide superior analytics over others
Solopreneurs and Data Security
As you fly solo, you are responsible for keeping both your business assets and your clients safe. That’s an enormous task.
As you select the online tools that will help you stay productive and grow, be confident that you are using tools that will do two things. First, they must protect your sensitive data. Second, they must offer you the functionality and scalability that promotes growth.
Make sure that you use companies that take a firm stance on data security.
For example, when you use EmailMeForm for your online forms, you will be protected by knowing that we are PCI-certified. That means we meet the Payment Card Industries lofty standards and passed an independent audit to prove our worthiness.
And, as you begin to collect credit card payments, you’ll be able to scale up your account with us, adding Vault to your account. This spot secures sensitive data like credit card numbers in a location that’s protected by multi-factor authentication.
Be sure that any online tools you use offer you this same security. This eye on safety will enable your productivity and protect your efforts as a solopreneur.