The idea of leaving the 9-to-5 lifestyle behind and venturing out as a solopreneur is becoming an increasingly popular avenue for many. In 2015, the independent workforce of freelancers and solopreneurs grew by 12%, with over 18 million workers becoming solopreneurs in some way or form.
In order to get your name out there as a solopreneur, you will need to design a unique marketing strategy that capitalizes on your strengths and talents. Success is rarely accidental; it is generally the result of planning, strategy, and work. Marketing yourself takes time. If done correctly, it will pay off in the long run and help you become a leader on your own terms. Here’s how to do it.
Highlight What Sets You Apart
Whether you have an interesting background, special talent, or quirky sense of humor, determine a characteristic that stands out. Creating a personal brand helps your audience identify you and get a better understanding of who you are as a person and a solopreneur. Social media platforms are excellent tools for establishing a personal brand by sharing your work and connecting with others through engagement.
Take MJ DeMarco for example. He was barely able to make ends meet, dabbling in anything from delivering newspapers to plumbing. Then, one day, he realized that working just to pay bills was not the way he wanted to live his life. He started his own business renting out limousines, then sold it for millions several years later.
DeMarco capitalized from his experience with his book The Millionaire Fastlane. DeMarco’s unique selling point was that he became a multi-millionaire without two things most business schools teach as essentials: money and education. He started a business without borrowing from investors and he learned everything along the way. DeMarco purposely spurns the “get rich quick” title, and emphatically reminds his readers that he is just a regular person with a dream and a vision, which is what led to his success.
The key to successful solopreneurship is finding your niche’s sweet spot and making it profitable. However, when it comes to marketing yourself as a solopreneur, it is important to focus on what makes you special. Whether you were a successful CEO or a kid fresh out of college, you likely have a unique story and background as a solopreneur.
Use Your Niche Knowledge to Gain Authority
Obviously, you want to be known as an expert in your field. However, this title of thought leadership is earned, not given. In order to for people to look to you as a source of valuable insight, you should produce useful content with highly-relevant information.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader requires strategy, planning, and effort. One of the best ways to do this is to write or create content around your niche. Look at profound marketing expert Neil Patel. He regularly generates web content in the form of blogs, videos, podcasts, and more, that discuss new ideas or in-depth explanations of theories and strategies. In turn, his readers trust his messaging and view him as an expert.
Blogging, vlogging, and podcasting are great ways to reach wide audiences. Discuss about innovative ideas, newly released study findings, or your own personal experiences. Be relatable and genuine in your content. After all, people trust “someone just like me” nearly as much as technical and academic experts, according to a trust poll conducted by Edelman. The only way to establish your place of leadership is through sharing your knowledge and experiences with others.
One of the hottest trends in solopreneurship right now is offering expertise through consultation. Richard Lorenzen, in an eye-opening article on The Huffington Post, argues that all entrepreneurs should start out as consultants. Breaking out of the norm is not easy, and everyone is a critic when it comes to ideas and dreams. Getting inspiration from a mentor or leader can be influential to the success of any solopreneur, entrepreneur, or business owner.
Solopreneur Sam Ovens created his entire business around educating others through his online program Consulting.com. He provides video training to professionals on how to become a profitable consultant in their areas of expertise, using innovative marketing techniques and sales strategies.
If teaching is something that you love doing, consider becoming a consultant yourself and help others on their path to success. This is a great way to supplement your current business endeavor and further market your status as an expert.
Create a Community with Other Solopreneurs
As Tim Ferris (author of The Four Hour Work Week) and Jim Rohn (motivational speaker and mentor to Tony Robbins) both put it: you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around.
If you want to be a successful solopreneur, you need to spend time with other successful solopreneurs.
Surrounding yourself with positivity and inspiration through like-minded groups or communities can help you thrive in many ways. You can use these communities as an opportunity to market yourself by sharing what you are learning and how your business is growing with others. Groups focused around business start-ups and entrepreneurship are a great place for you to promote yourself and network with others in the industry.
The independence of solopreneurship is both a blessing and a curse; you are responsible for your own success, but the loneliness of doing things on your own is one of the top challenges most entrepreneurs face. Engraining yourself in a community means you never have to feel like you are going at things totally alone.
Becoming your own boss offers lots of great perks, including the potential to earn more than you would as an employee. Being a solopreneur is not easy by any means; it requires discipline, focus, and determination. Consistently finding creative ways to market your brand can be the most challenging, yet rewarding, part of the journey towards success