If you are a solopreneur, it probably means that you like to be independent. There are many pluses to being independent. There are also some major downsides. One of the most important things to get if you are an independent business person is when you should get help for tasks in your company. The following tools should make it much easier to decide. It is based on SWOT analysis.
- What are My Strengths? – This is what you are bringing to the market. It is what should distinguish you from other people. It is probably the reason you decided to become a solopreneur. What do you do disproportionately better than average? If you do not know, think about your grades in school. Which subjects came very easily for you? Which ones were more of a struggle? These areas may reveal what your natural talents are. Think also about what you like to do. It could be a hobby. If it is your hobby, why not your career? A lot of people assume they have to do what everyone else is doing. If what everyone else is doing is not a fit for you, you will be unsuccessful. Figure out your natural talents. Take a free psychological assessment from a professional practitioner like Dr. Dario Nardi of UCLA. Once you have your XXXX brain code, take it to a good career measurement website like www.personalitypage.com. You may get some insight about a better career choice.
- What are My Weaknesses? – This is where outsourcing may come in. The pilot who makes his own shoes is wasting time when they should be flying airplanes. Same for the shoemaker trying to fly airplanes. If you know what you are naturally good at, you can get help for the areas you are not. Stephen Covey attacks the tendency in our culture to be only independent. Covey says independence should not be the goal. Interdependence should be. Interdependence is contributing what you are good at, and getting help for where you are not so bright. Adam Smith, the 18th Century economist, proposed this as the foundation for free trade. A country should trade with others for things that it is not good at, rather than trying to fabricate everything at home with varying quality.
- What are My Opportunities? – Opportunities come to the surface after we think through our strengths and weaknesses. Maybe there is a strength that we need to sell more that we have been neglecting. Maybe there is a weakness that is holding us back from becoming the people we need to be. A weakness might need to be corrected with outsourcing to people who are strong in that area. Think through things that you might have been neglecting. Opportunities are fun. Steve Jobs used his opportunity chart to see something in Taiwan that no one else saw. Highly skilled and cheap electronics labor. The multi-billion dollar iPhone and global smartphone business was born after that.
- What are My Threats? – Threats are future weaknesses. They are things that if left uncared for might ruin your life. An only independent person might have a problem because there is no such thing as an omnicompetent creature. Every person has to make an honest evaluation of the future in order to thrive in the present. Many people do not like to think about negative things in the future. This is why they are saddled with years of mortgages and credit card debt. If you do not want that to be you, try thinking about the negative consequences of pleasurable actions in the present.
After the SWOT analysis, there are some more things to do that can put you far above the herd. The pilot now knows that making his own shoes is a silly waste of time. He now can find the career that is most suitable for him to fly, as can the shoemaker.
- What is My Comparative Advantage? – As a solopreneur, this is like the sum of your strengths and opportunities. Even weaknesses can sometimes be a strength. An example would be a lazy person who has more time to think clearly. A comparative advantage will put your business in a league of its own if it is employed properly. Steve Jobs had the comparative advantage of cultural flexibility. He was not ethnocentric and saw an opportunity to fabricate the iPhone in Taiwan at a much lower cost. He made big profits from doing so.
- Who Strongly Wants What I Am Good At? – This is your natural market. Your natural market will pay you highly for your gifts and ability. Sometimes we start with an unnatural market that is highly competitive. It is not our natural market. We are reimbursed poorly for it. The costs and effort required to compete in it are high. A natural market rewards you highly for doing what you are great at. The challenge is finding it.
- Who are My Competitor(s)? – Competitors are people who are equally good at doing what you are good at doing. Generally, they are other solopreneurs. If you want to become successful, you have to distinguish yourself from the competition. Copying what every other solopreneur before you has done might leave you at a homeless shelter. Why? The market is already flooded with people who are doing the exact same thing. The price offered for identical labor is lower if there are a lot of options for employers to choose for. Your job is to make employers think you are the only one who can meet their strongest desires.
- What are My Competitors Afraid to Do to Meet Our Natural Market? – This could include getting more education, moving outside our country, learning a new language, or working a strange schedule. A natural market reimburses you for doing what you are good at. To meet it requires sacrifice. The reason why most people are stressfully competing in an unnatural market is because it is close to home. It requires no effort to find. The profits go to the person who can find a natural market through suffering and sacrifice. Make a list of the things that your competitors are unwilling to do to find your natural market. After you do this, go for it. You will have a wonderful career if you do so.
- Buy Low and Sell High – This investment mantra is quoted by many but practiced by few. It is hard to do. You have to be buying when the market is crashing. You have to ignore your own feelings and gobble up bargain deals that the panicked chickens are selling. If you practice this, however, your business will be in a league of its own. Apple became one of the world’s largest companies by buying cheap electronics fabrication from Taiwan and then selling premium touch phone computers to entertainment hungry fans in the U.S. and Europe.
These are just some of the tools that the best in the business are using to make solopreneurship fun. You might have some other ideas. If so, we would love for you to comment and give us some more.