Solopreneurs are a powerful and growing force in today’s career landscape. A solopreneur is “a business owner who works and runs his or her business alone.”

Related: The Difference Between a Solopreneur and a Side-Gigger (Infographic)

A solopreneur is also the proverbial chief cook and bottle washer, who started the business, owns the business, runs the business and is responsible for the business’ failure or success.

A solopreneur is not the same as an entrepreneur, however. Both assume risk and build a business, but a solopreneur does it alone.

The entrepreneur engages traditional forms of business-building, including the hiring of employees. But the solopreneur chooses whether to grow the business with contract agreements or outsourced providers rather than the standard model of employer/employee.

The benefits of solopreneurship are better experienced than reported, yet if you’re curious about the lives of these disentangled, high-risk, high-reward captains of their own fate and are considering taking the same plunge, here’s what you can expect.

1. You can be a workaholic if you want to.

Workaholics get a bad rap for all the wrong reasons. If working relentlessly is your thing, then you get to do it, no holds barred. No boss to please. No employees to harass. Just you doing what you love, burnout or not.

2. You get to keep what you make.

Yes, you have to pay taxes. Quite a bit, actually. On the other hand, your business profits are yours alone. You can choose to incorporate as an LLC or an S-corp, but either way, the money your business makes is the money that you make. Invest wisely.

3. You get to hire creatively.

Solopreneurs have help. They hire. They manage. They even get to boss people around, sort of. The process, however, is different. Instead of employing a CFO, the solopreneur might engage the services of an advisor, or purchase accounting SaaS or work with a contractor.

4. You discover the power of automation and outsourcing.

The solopreneur must automate processes and outsource tasks. In the absence of minions to do his or her bidding, a successful solopreneur learns to create streamlined systems that accomplish crucial business tasks.

Related: 4 Differences Between Solopreneurs and an Entrepreneur Working Alone

5. You live to work.

Solopreneurs don’t have to go it alone. They can just as easily shutter their shops and start papering the town with their resumes. They can go right back to the corporate grind. But, why? Work is an adventure — a passionate engagement in the excitement of life. That’s worth living for!

6. You can turn on a dime.

Startups love to pivot. Pivots are a survival tactic. Solopreneurs pivot, too, and they can do so without any accountability to shareholders, stakeholders, board members, employees, investors or even a pet cat. They can pivot like nobody’s business.

7. You choose everything about your business.

It takes a lot of decision-making to run the business. From the carpet’s hue to the company’s slogan, you decide everything. If you’re a sucker for control, you’ve chosen the right line of work.

8. You can create your own schedule.

A 9-to-5, a 5-to-9, or a 9-to-9? What gives? You’re the one in charge. Deciding how, when, where and how long to work is completely up to you. Most solopreneurs, though, don’t choose to binge-watch Netflix, sleep in or loll, poolside. And “creating your own schedule” is just another way to describe the inflexibility and demands of working all the time.

9. You are responsible for your own success.

You have to take big risks if you want big rewards. Solopreneurs internalize this truth. Rather than leave their success to the whimsy of an employer, they choose to take their success firmly in hand.

10. You develop your own vision.

Whose vision do you want to follow? Your own or your employer’s? A solopreneur makes this decision with fierce independence and experiences true fulfillment as a result.

11. You embody your own brand.

Personal branding is the practice of creating and curating your public identity. Since a solopreneur is a business, he or she will find it more important than ever to engage and achieve personal branding.

12. You experience adventure every day.

An adventure is defined as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” That basically sums up solopreneurship. Job security? Not a chance. Steady paycheck? Nope. Benefits? You’re kidding. You live a life of adrenalin-pumping adventure, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Conclusion

Do you notice a common thread running through these 12 awesome things? Each can be tweaked ever so slightly, and ultimately turn into a terror.

In short, your passion for work may morph into a soul-sucking monster. Your high-earning potential may push you into a miserable tax morass. The necessity of making every decision yourself may burden you with a relentless mental strain.

So, the life of a solopreneur is not for anyone. It takes an iron stomach and a clear head to pull off this kind of self-brutalization and insane risk.

What’s more, these risks of soloentrepreneurship are high, and you can completely dispense with any level of normalcy

You hear people complain of their “healthcare,” and you think what health care? Others brag about their four weeks of accrued vacation time, and you smirk about your unlimited vacation time. Conventional cubicle dwellers moan about their mean boss, but you know the meanest boss that ever walked the planet — yourself.

The risks are high. The burdens are great. Yet the experience is transformative.

The few who have tried and succeeded at solopreneurship invariably achieve great things. Whether they continue as solopreneurs, metamorphize into entrepreneurs or leave it all behind them, they know what the solopreneur life is about, and they have the glory stories to tell about it.

What is your experience as a solopreneur?

Related: These 7 Tips Helped Me Avoid Solopreneur Isolation

When I started my company eight years ago, back when I was a student, I had no idea of the learning curve I would face before I might actually make it. Today, as I continue to run my firm as well as speak to and advise other startups, I continually go back to some of the lessons I learned through direct experience (many times, the hard way) and through helping other companies avoid the same mistakes.

Related: How Listening to Your Gut Can Make You a Better Founder

From all the years I’ve been an entrepreneur, a few of those lessons stand out as defining moments in my career. They also represent moments in the trenches when I had to make a significant change, to either my business infrastructure or my personal mindset, in order to advance to the next stage in my company’s growth. Here are 10 of those lessons from my personal experience:

1. If you don’t start delegating as soon as your budget allows it, you will burn out fast.

One of the most important lessons for me as a founder was that you need to spend as much time as possible, as soon as possible, in building teams. You may be able to last a year or so as a one-man show. But if you’re seriously growing your business, you will not be able to wear all of those hats on your own. You can only hoard your cash and keep your overhead low for so long. Start reinvesting into team building and the dividends will multiply.

2. Shoot for goals that are 10 times bigger, and actually believe in them.

A lot of times, it takes just as much effort to close a small deal as a big one. The only barrier is your own thinking. Further, if you build your business plan around a goal that’s ten times larger, and take that much more action, it’s a lot more likely that you will hit and surpass your original goal anyway.

3. Do the stuff you don’t want to do.

In almost every case, the stuff that you least want to do is the stuff that is most important to do. I learned very early on that I needed to suck it up and do those boring/hard/not-fun tasks if I was ever going to move the needle. Even when you delegate what you’re weak at, you still end up with something on your to-do list you don’t want to do. This is what separates the best from the rest.

4. There are some things you shouldn’t do.

I spent a lot of time in the beginning doing tasks that I shouldn’t have been doing simply because I tend to be a taskmaster and perfectionist. Now, each morning, I review my to-do list; and if there is something there that ultimately isn’t necessary and consequential, I either delegate it or eliminate it altogether. Focus on the top two-to-three areas where you can make the most impact on your business.

Related: 7 Management Lessons From a 7-Time CEO

5. Watch out for information overload.

I love to read, and I read a book per week. But I’ve also learned to be careful about overloading myself with too much information. There are a thousand books about everything out there. Find a few really high-quality sources of information that serve you and drill down on them. Read them over and over and immerse yourself in them. Implement what you learn and then move on to your next source. Don’t get lost in the bog of information out there to the point that it keeps you from taking action.

6. Know your ‘why.’

You’ve got to know why you’re doing this, and it can’t just be money. There needs to be a reason beyond financial goals that pushes you to get up and do this every day. Building a company is hard, and lots of obstacles will make you want to give up. You need to have a reason for hanging in there that is much bigger than the problems you are going to face every day.

7. Recognize that many wins were originally far-fetched ideas.

Oftentimes, the idea that you think is least likely to work or is too far-fetched is the idea that becomes your next home run. Whether it’s that potential client that you are unsure about contacting because he or she is out of your league, or that marketing campaign you never thought could work, just do it (while managing your downside) and let results dictate what’s a good idea or not.

8. Measure everything.

The only way to improve anything is to measure it every single day. Why? Measurement brings clarity and awareness.

9. You need only one service/product.

When you are a fledgling company (and especially if you’re an agency), don’t waste time, money and effort trying to offer 20 different services. Sell one service and become the best at it. Down the road, an expansion will be much easier when you have the cash.

10. Keep in touch with everybody.

Always look at every contact as a relationship, and not just a transaction. Keep in touch with as many contacts as possible on a regular basis. Send personal notes, articles you think they’ll enjoy (such as this one!) and holiday greetings. Relationships are critical to long-term success.

Related: Unlikely Lessons From Building a Multi-Million Dollar Social Business

5 of the Best Tools to Track and Measure Your Domain’s Social Impact written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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Photo Credit: Unsplash, via Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

No matter what type of business you own, it is definitely in your best interests to not only have a website but to also take the time to track your domain’s social impact. After all, a website alone no longer provides a strong enough Internet presence to push your site toward the top of Google’s search engine ranking. Additionally, without a positive and big social impact, you will end up missing out on a large percentage of your potential customers.

The best place to start is by selecting a domain name that is going to be easy to remember and spell, which is also highly descriptive of your business. In other words, if you have a law firm in Chicago, you might want to consider having ChicagoLaw as at least one of your domain names. Next, it is important to put certain key tools in place to help you ensure that you are getting the most out of your potential social impact.

1. Analytics

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 Image by Yoel Ben-Avraham, via Flickr

 Google Analytics are well-known and loved by website owners of all types because they can sync up with Google AdWords, they provide a lot of information for free and they can be linked into many enterprise software platforms that offer more robust tools. Analytics will give you a good snapshot of how many of your site’s visitors started on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus, and this is a big piece of the social impact puzzle. Keep in mind that Google determines your site’s influential rating and search engine ranking in part by the links between your social media pages and website.

2. Tracking Your Social Media Popularity

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Image permission by Nadja Shiller, Searchmetrics

Analytics will show you how many people visit your site after seeing a link on social media, but this is only one piece of the puzzle. Enterprise software such as the Searchmetrics Suite is able to truly capture the impact that your efforts are having on your company’s social media presence. Searchmetrics analyzes the performance of each social media site and provides useful tweaks for improving visibility, monitoring brand perception and optimizing your overall cross-network performance.

3. Increasing Your Overall Influence

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Image by See-ming Lee, via Flickr

As previously mentioned, Google ties your social media popularity into your domain’s overall influence score. So how can you boost this score without spending a lot of time and money? The answer is simple: utilize Klout to see real-time updates on your level of influence. Additionally, Klout suggests sharable content that is well-written and should be of great interest to the people within your social network. This is a good way to get your followers to share your content, which in turn will boost the total number of people who see your company’s name.

4. Discover Who is Talking About Your Company

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Social Mention screenshot via Google search

Being able to track social mentions gives you a huge advantage. Placing an emphasis on this will give the ability to see how many people are engaged by your product or service, and you will have the opportunity to respond in a timelier manner to positive and negative comments. Instead of having someone spend a significant amount of time Googling your business name to find the latest posts, you can use Social Mention to see everything in one place. This tool will also tell you the overall strength, sentiment, passion and reach of all of the social posts that mention your company.

5. Determine How Impactful Your Twitter Accounts Are

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It is common for businesses to run multiple Twitter accounts, but this makes it difficult to truly track their impact on your domain. TwitterCounter is a tool that takes care of this problem, and it also makes it easy to determine if your tweets are having the desired impact. An extra feature of this tool is that you can connect more easily with followers who have a high level of social media influence in order to more easily spread the word about your brand.

As you can see, there are many ways to track your domain’s overall social media influence. Fortunately, the five options listed above offer a nice combination of features, and they can even give you necessary information that will help you increase the power of your social media reach.

 

Holly's Picture 3Holly Chavez is a content creator and owner of a small online business. She turns to tools that track her domain’s social impact for meaningful statistics for her social media marketing. She also uses them as a part of the fundamental resources needed in order to push her website’s presence to the top of Google’s search engine rankings.

 

Source: 5 of the Best Tools to Track and Measure Your Domain’s Social Impact