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110 000 solo entrepreneurs can´t be wrong - do you recognize yourself?

A solo entrepreneur is a person who has decided to start a business himself/herself and who would rather collaborate with other business owners than assume responsibility for employees and lose the freedom and independence a solo entrepreneurship entails. That's the gist of a study I just read where solo entrepreneur's motives, fears and motivations are further examined.

Typical personality traits of a solo entrepreneur:

1. Has a need for personal freedom and the entrepreneurship gives him/her an opportunity to create a unique lifestyle.
2. Sees himself/herself as an entrepreneur with a vision, a separate motor for action and a passion to achieve his/her dreams.
3. A desire to succeed in his/her specific field.
4. Believes in himself/herself and his/her ability to be successful in a certain line of business.
5. Is good at learning new things and wants to embrace innovations.
6. Driven by a desire to be true to himself/herself, rather than “play office”.
7. Are often at the forefront of his/her industry because he/she can act faster than the major competitors.
8. Money is good, but there may be more important factors to justify sole entrepreneurs to start his/her own company. To do what you want and what you are passionate about is more important than money for many people.

Challenges for solo entrepreneurs:

1. To work through the critical periods and not be tempted to give up when confidence fails and the money dries up.
2. Having the knowledge, products and/or services that are in demand by enough people and know how to sell and market them.
3. Understanding how a business works on all levels.
4. To be able to create a unique offer to customers that will help customers buy.
5. Finding a way to stop putting out fires and instead take control of the company's processes.
6. To successfully build the right partnerships, networks and understand that you don't have to do everything yourself.
7. Setting goal for his/her business - to understand that you ultimately start a business to benefit the customer, not yourself.
    5 things that self-employed often fail doing
Working alone could upset the mind of anyone. You don't discover that you're plowing the same furrow until it's too late because no one is standing next to you and tell you.

Where do self-employed often fail?

1. You can't make out what it is about your business that will make customers want to do business with you
This is the main mistake you don't want to make. What is your USP? Think about why customers should buy from you. What do they get from your company that they can't get elsewhere? What are the benefits for the customer? What makes your business unique to them? If your company sells the highest quality in the field - make it a big part of your USP. If your business is selling your product at the lowest price in the market - same thing here - make it a big part of your USP. Most companies are alike. They sell the same stuff at the same prices and at the same openings hours and with the same guarantees. It's all the same, same, same. Good for you!

2. You believe in something because you want to believe it
What you want to sell isn't important if the customers aren't interested in your products.  I wrestle constantly with my ego, with my inner urge to throttle up and create a lot of new things. Right now for example, I'm thinking a lot on whether I should do a series of mini-books on various topics, such as how to make selling quotes, how to write great sales letters, etc. The books would be easy for me to turn into good products quickly, but do my customers want them? I don't want to ask because I like the idea so much. The solution to the problem is that instead of thinking about what is best and most fun for you, ask yourself instead: “What is best for the company?”What's good for your customers is almost always what's best for the company as well.

3. You put all your efforts on acquiring new customers
It not only costs more to acquire new customers, it's more time consuming because you must establish trust. Take great care of your address book and your ideas on how to keep existing customers aware that you will be there for them.

4. You fail use the word ”because” in all your marketing
You think your company is the best and would like to write this in your ads (the customers should understand this themselves). Customers have no problem with this, but they are interested to know why your company really is the best. So - in all of your marketing, remember this: You can write “We are the best”, but add the word ”because” and tell people why you consider your company the best.
EX: “We are the best because we have a 10 year warranty.”
(You just tell people that you have a 10 year warranty.)

If it seems too obvious for you to do this - look at the ads in the newspaper today.

5. You make it difficult for customers to buy

Making sure that you can’t be reached when a customer wants to order or get information about your product is not wanting to do any business. Ask yourself a question and answer honestly:
• What do customers encounter  when they get in touch with your business? Do they meet a nice person who is interested in the customer (even if it’s only information the customer wants right now)?
• Is it easy for the customer to find out whether you have a shop?
• Is it easy to find the store? Is it easy to get the information even after business hours from a website or a message on an answering machine?

By making it easy and pleasant to do business with you, you will get many more customers who return and recommend your business to their friends .

What I want to say is that it's good to have a little “control person” sitting on your shoulder at times to point out your mistakes - the only one who can makes things good enough is you.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
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