Not too long ago, a friend asked me to explain what I meant by my tagline, “helping solopreneurs create and grow successful, sustainable businesses” – specifically the word “sustainable”.
Did this have something to do with going green? I told him my passion is helping people create businesses that are an extension of who they are as a person (their passions, their strengths, their experience, coupled with a few other key elements) instead of beating themselves up every day trying to make a buck.
Take a minute and think about your current business, or the business you’re thinking about starting. I have a couple of quick questions for you. When answering, be honest and don’t include any mention of money. Don’t force the answers because you want them to be right, honestly respond with what your initial thoughts are after reading each questions. Don’t worry, you’re the only one seeing your response.
1. Do you have a passion for your business and the people it helps?
This is a basic “yes” or “no” question. Remember, before you answer, take the thought of money out of your mind. If money were removed from consideration, how would you answer this question?
2. What excites you about the business?
What makes you wake up each morning with a desire to get to work? Do you get excited about adding items to your “to do” list or do you find ways to dismiss the items you have on it as not important? Did your business grow from a hobby? If you had another 5 hours in a day, how much of it would you dedicate to your business (because you want to, not because you have to)?
3. What do you like about the people you’re helping?
Do you care that you are helping people? Does that care come before or after the amount of cash they contribute to your bottom line? How are you making a difference in their lives? If a friend asked you who your customers are, could you tell them anything about your customers’ personal lives or only stats about their demographics? It’s important to realize that this last question is applicable whether you’ve started your business or not. If you’re not sure why, ask me.
4. What skill set do you have that will help you beat the competition in this business?
Remember, keep money out of your answer. Some people are talented at making money. What skills do you have that are a benefit for your business and the people you serve?
5. What does your business offer that is unique from the competition?
Are you running a business that you bought as a package from someone that is a recognized “guru”? If you did, have you adjusted the business to make it your own or are you sticking to strict guidelines set forth by said “guru”? Did you do any research on your direct and indirect competition? If so, when was the last time? How does your business differ?
6. Do you like to work harder or smarter?
OK, I’ll admit this is somewhat of a trick question. If you find you are having a tough time answering the questions above – especially by taking any talk of money out of the conversation – realize you are putting yourself at high risk for working harder to produce less results, greatly diminishing your chances for operating a sustainable business.
By removing money from the questions above, I am not implying that it isn’t important. The amount you need to invest and what you see as a profit / loss from your investment is hugely important. However, you can make money a myriad of ways while your passion, experience, skill set and the people you prefer to serve is a much narrower focus.
Your happiness and thus your sustainability don’t need to be slave to the almighty dollar; quite the opposite. Still not sure why, drop me a line by either leaving a comment or emailing me at email@example.com.
To your success and sustainability.
The Solopreneur’s Guide