5 To-Do’s that will Drastically Improve your Business Life

Are you a solopreneur? A creator or innovator developing your own personal brand? Are you building a company to create a niche for yourself in your own marketplace?

If so, you know that as a one-person show, you don’t wear many hats, you wear all the hats! It’s so much more than just delivery of a product or service. From onboarding new clients, dealing with questions, putting out unexpected fires, taking care of bookkeeping, and paying the bills. … well, it’s just not that easy. But it can be so rewarding when you succeed!

So, to all my solopreneur friends—the passionate, the determined, the hustlers—here are 5 to-do’s that will drastically improve your business life.   

1. It All Starts with a Plan… Make that TWO Plans!

All good businesses start with a plan… and it’s never too late to create that plan, even if you’ve been working for a while without one. Your business plan will help you understand where you are right now and where you want to go. A good business plan will outline what your objectives, available resources, and future goals are.

Every strategic business plan will be unique and different because it should be based on your niche, products/services, and even geographic location. It should also include your goals and an analysis of the current market and competitors in your space—you definitely need to ensure you’ll have clients!

Don’t forget to outline your financial requirements like items and services you need to purchase, everything required for startup and how you intend to secure the capital. Even if you’ve been in business for a while if you don’t have a business plan you should make one now because a good business plan is essentially the roadmap for the future of your business and it makes sense to revisit it regularly.

So what about that second plan? Next up it’s important to draft a marketing plan because a good marketing plan provides you with a course of action that will help you build brand awareness and target those clients who are most likely to be interested in what you offer. Don’t rush it! Your marketing plan is important for helping you figure out exactly what you need to do and when you’re going to do it. Once you have that done, the actual marketing part will come that much easier.

2. Keep a Hat on your Overhead

Obviously, it’s so important to understand the ins and outs of your business’s cash flow so you can make sure your business stays profitable. While some business owners can be afraid to spend any money, you do need to make some key investments in order to push your business forward. On the other hand, some costs can add up very quickly and soon spiral—maybe not completely out of control but definitely higher than a small business can really afford.

If you’re looking to cut costs while you run your solo-ship, there are plenty of free-software or cost-effective options you can use to keep track of your expenses without paying an accountant or bookkeeper right away. For example, accounting programs like Quickbooks, Self-Employed, Zipbooks, or Wave can help you track your income and expenses without breaking the bank.

Looking for new clients, managing social media, writing a good business plan, and all those other little daily tasks can prove stressful but at least you won’t be stressed about your finances when you take the time to make sure every debit and credit is accounted for.

3. Solidify your Project’s Scope—EVERY Time

A lot of solopreneurs are so excited to land a project or gig that they say “yes” without asking too many questions. Don’t make that mistake!

No one wants to find themselves in that awkward situation of having to renegotiate a contract, doing more work than you’re being paid for, or outright admitting that you can’t handle it and risk never being hired by this client (or any of their contacts) again.

Luckily, problems like these can be avoided if you make clarity a priority from the beginning. When approaching any new job, client, or customer, your first question  should be, “What are your expectations of me, and what are your expectations for the outcomes and deliverables of this project?'” The answers to these two questions will help both you and your client to be crystal clear about expectations. It also gives you a chance to address any concerns, pitfalls, or unrealistic aspects to those expectations.

Solidify the scope of each and every project and ensure that your goals, the budget, and the timeline is crystal clear for everyone involved.

4. Jump on the Automation Wagon

When you’re the boss, the employee, the accountant, and the receptionist, there’s no shortage of tasks to get done! Not only can automation save you time but it might even save your sanity. The right tools can be a lifesaver when you’re drowning in work on your solopreneur island.

Fortunately, there are no shortage of awesome tools to use! From invoicing to sorting emails, to social media management, taking advantage of what’s available will free up your time so that you can focus on other critical parts of your business… like acquiring new clients and adding awesome work to your portfolio!

5. Learn Something New on a Regular Basis

I guess the saying goes, “learn something new every day”, but that may be a little too often to be realistic from a business point of view. Still, expanding your skill set is definitely an important to-do item that should appear regularly on your planning lists.

No matter what business you’re in, there’s going to be a set of relevant fundamental and complementary skills that will help you to grow, evolve, and improve your service delivery. There are the fundamental skills you used to start your business, but that’s not enough to keep you rolling along forever. If you really want to be successful as a solopreneur in the long run, you’ll need to expand your toolkit.

Yes, broadening your skillset or honing your existing skills requires an investment of your time and effort, but hard work pays off! Invest in improving yourself as a professional so you can offer more to your customers and make yourself even more valuable to them.

And hey, here’s a bonus tip: Always remain flexible! As a solopreneur you get to control many aspects of your business (how awesome is that?) but there are things you can’t control like losing a client due to unforeseen circumstances. If you’re too rigid to change your plan of action, you’ll struggle unnecessarily to best meet your needs. As a small business owner, you can benefit from agility that a larger company doesn’t have, and that can be a competitive advantage.

Now, just like everything in life, nothing that’s really worth it comes easily. As a solopreneur your business is your life, and these to-do’s require effort; they aren’t just quick fixes. But if you give yourself the time to turn these tips into actions, then you’re sure to see your budding business grow and grow!

Did we miss any other important items that are a “must” on your list? Let us know in the comments below.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

The Great Big List of KPI's

Want more? Check these out!

Dip your toes into transformation with these resources that pack a punch, all on the house.

Get started with KPIs with this free guide that will show you what KPIs you need to track, how many is too many, how to identify trends, examples of KPIs for every area of your business.

Washup & Reset

An annual business review to get you off the “set goal, miss goal, try-same-thing-again” merry-go-round, The Wash-up shows you haw to use the lessons from this year to get the most out of next year.

4D-90 Framework

This process is designed to be completed every quarter so you always know exactly what to do to hit your goals without putting in more time, create a new offer, or adding yet another launch to your calendar.

Budget Template

Struggling to know where you're money's going and whether you can afford that new course you've been eyeing? You need a budget and this template will help.

KPI Business Dashboard

Your easy answer to "What the heck do I track?"  You'll have all of your numbers in one place, and have at-a-glance information so you always know whether you're on track to meet your goals.

Grab your Budget Template