Formulas Are for Followers

January 22nd, 2010 by | Print


I recently penned a post discussing the strong possibility that a rising number of unemployed will soon become self-employed. There’s only so long you can wait for opportunity to present itself when an increasing number of people compete for a dwindling job market and the government check doesn’t cover the bills.

Unless you’ve had an idea for a new business that you never got around to, you’re probably going to hunt for the hottest trends in working from home opportunities. Go to Google and do a search by “home based business”. Google gives you back over 200 million links to choose from – some educational and others are opportunities to buy into a training program.

Although you need to make money instead of spending it, you realize you need to get started somewhere. Plus, who’s started a business without spending a dime? You pick a promising sounding program and give yourself a pep talk that you will succeed – because you must.

It is common knowledge that there are a number of scams to avoid, but this isn’t the purpose for my post. Telling you there are shifty people trying to steal a few dollars from desperate people is nothing new. You can go to and other sites to separate the bad from the good.

Unfortunately, most of the good “opportunities” don’t warn you that if you truly want to create a successful, sustainable business, you can start with their cookie-cutter formula, but you can’t follow it forever. Think of it this way, if you and 5,000 or more people graduate from a given program around the same time, unless you do something different, you now have 5,000 + competitors, not including those already in the market.

Does this mean all programs are a waste of time? No. If you’ve never run a business, you need to go to boot camp. You need a mentor to teach you healthy habits for success. They’ll give you some (not all) secrets that helped them succeed. However, at some point, you’ll need to go your own way. If not, you become just another name for customers to choose from. When business isn’t booming, you’ll need to buy back into another program, and another program, and another.

Here are 4 key steps to part from the perpetual teet and start feeding yourself:

1. Do Your Own Research

Unless your new solopreneur start-up is in the same market and performing the same role as your previous employment history, you need to learn the market for yourself. Hopefully, whatever program you paid into gave you some good insight into your target market. But markets change. If you work off the same assumptions as your classmates, how will you outperform them when calling on prospects and servicing customers?

2. Add Your Own Personal Stamp

People deal with people before they do business with businesses. You have a personality, so put it to good use. You just graduated with an army of other hopefuls; differentiate yourself. Allowing your business to take on your personality is a great place to start. A word of warning though, bad habits aren’t synonymous with a good personality. Customers want to connect with you – a professional you. People don’t want to spend their money with a solopreneur that is lazy, slow and disorganized.

3. Experiment

So your guru gave you some great advice, but followers are always limited by their leader until they step out on their own by experimenting. Keep the basic core habits of success – hard work, dedication to servicing the customer, etc… – while testing different marketing strategies, new markets, and new products and services.

4. Make Some Successful Friends

One business theory is your income is destined to become the average of the five people you spend the most time with – i.e. hang with losers, become a loser. Peer pressure affects us all. The more time you spend with a specific crowd, the more likely you will take on the group’s habits.

I’m not suggesting that you become shallow and ditch any friends that don’t make a six-figure income (if that’s your goal). You can love your friends and family, but choose your business peer group wisely. Becoming actively involved with successful people on a regular basis will give you insight into healthy habits and energize you to raise your bar for success.

97% of people in MLM fail. Other cookie-cutter programs will produce the same results if they don’t add in the variable of individuality. If you did buy into a program, realize it’s just a start and not the total solution. Formulas will only take you so far. You are responsible for your own success. You need to take these additional steps to ensure that you don’t become just another stalled statistic.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


3 Responses to “Formulas Are for Followers”

  1. Maserati Says:

    Nice one, couldnt agree more 😀

  2. Guide To Graduate Education In Says:

    After reading this post about Formulas Are for Followers, I am not sure I understand what you are trying to relate. Please expand on your thoughts a little more. Thanks

  3. Douglas Dolan Says:

    If you’re a solopreneur buying into a package (i.e. MLM, network marketing or training program to launch a new business), your ceiling to success is limited by the structure of the program. You will raise that ceiling by following the four steps in the post.

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