Longing to create their own hours and thrive in their own environments, many of today’s aspiring professionals are ditching the typical corporate scene for “solopreneurship,” readying themselves for all of the benefits and challenges that come along with it.
Between startup costs, utilities, tools, gadgets and paying bills – it’s almost shocking, to both the mind and the wallet, to think that solopreneurs still have to find the money to market themselves and their services to the world.
It is key to know that it is possible to market yourself as an solopreneur – without spending a fortune on traditional marketing services. Here are 10 tips for solopreneurs to market themselves efficiently and creatively to their target audiences, without breaking the bank.
1. Set Your Goals
Every journey has a destination. And in business, that destination can be likened to your business’ goals. If you don’t have any, how can you possibly map out where your brand is going, and how it’s supposed to get there?
Setting goals keeps you not only accountable, but also aware of what’s working, what’s not working, how well you’re doing, and what lane changes need to be made in the future.
But to keep your goals clear and realistic, don’t just set large ones that are difficult to achieve, such as “I want my business to make a million dollars on its first year” Instead, set “SMART” goals for yourself. SMART goals are:
- Specific – Don’t set vague goals! Make sure that everything you choose to do is as specific as possible. This will help you ensure that your goals are always in line with your overall business goals.
- Measurable – Make sure you’ll be able to track your progress. This is crucial since, even though you might not achieve a certain goal, you’ll still be able to measure how far you’ve come.
- Achievable – It’s good to aim high, but make sure that any goals you set are, in fact, realistic and within your reach as a solopreneur.
- Relevant –Make sure that your SMART goals are relevant to the bigger picture. If a goal isn’t conducive to the betterment of your overall business operation, you might want to think twice about focusing your time on achieving it.
- Timely – Your goals need to be achievable within a certain time frame. So ensure that when creating SMART goals, you also include how much time you’ll give yourself to attain them.
2. Showcase The Journey, Not Just The Final Product
It’s never too early to start creating your brand’s story for your customers. The fact is that consumers love a backstory. It helps them feel connected and comfortable with a product or service. Above all, allowing your audience to join you on your journey from the get-go builds a special type of loyalty with your customers.
Imagine how much more likely you’d be to buy something recommended by a good friend or family member, rather than being told at random to “buy now!” by a stranger. Sharing your story as a solopreneur helps give people a better idea of who you are as an individual. In turn, it will be more likely that people are going to trust and interact with your brand.
So preview your designs, photograph your creative process, share a daily short behind the scenes video to your Instagram Stories; just be sure that you’re telling your story.
3. Always Have a High-Quality, User-Friendly Website
Websites: Social networks link to them, traditional advertisements lead you to them, search engines like Google rank your business by them. Having a great website is an absolute necessity of your solopreneur marketing strategy.
And the best part is that, these days, you don’t even need any experience in HTML, coding or web design to get started with your own professional-looking website. Websites like Squarespace, WordPress and Wix all offer affordable options and ready-to-publish templates. All you’ll need to do is fill in the blanks by creating titles, descriptions, menu options, and images. Your website will be up and running in no time!
4. Claim Your Social Media Handles
As soon as you know your brand or business name, make sure to create accounts on all social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, etc.
These no-cost networks allow you to initiate and engage with your target audiences, while also showcasing your content via written posts, photos and videos. For your handles, you should always use your brand names, or as close to it as possible, so that you’re easy to find and memorable enough that people won’t forget. This will help you maintain a consistent marketing presence across all online outlets, including your website and digital communications.
5. Build Your Email List With a Freebie
It’s highly valuable for solopreneurs to build an email subscriber list. According to Goal Digger founder Jenna Kutcher, email marketing has acquired 40x more customers for businesses than Facebook and Twitter combined. Plus, the average value of an order made from an email newsletter referral is at least three times higher than that of one acquired via social media advertising.
Starting from scratch can make this seem like a daunting task. That’s why many successful email marketers recommend starting your list by offering some form of free content in exchange for your customers’ email addresses. This free content can be in the form of free information tidbits, digital products or brand giveaways, etc; so long as they require users to enter their email in order to receive their free item.
That email then goes onto your subscriber list. From there, you can build an established audience to keep entertained, informed and up to date with everything your business is up to.
6. Join Your Local BIA
Many cities and towns, will have at least one Business Improvement Area, or “BIA,” at your disposal. These not-for-profit organizations are dedicated to improving the local experiences of business owners, as well as those living amongst them, through traditional and digital promotions, events and business directories. Get involved in your local chapter and you’ll reap many benefits!
7. Automate Via Apps
If there’s a marketing task needing to be done, there’s definitely an app for it. One of the most popular types of time-saving apps are content scheduling ones. These programs, like Hootsuite, allow you to upload your content and have them be auto-posted to social media at scheduled dates and times; so you’re not logging in all the time to do it by yourself manually.
This gives you more time to concentrate on other business needs, without neglecting any of your social networks. On top of this, many of these automated tools also come with real-time dashboard views into your accounts’ posting engagement, audience insights, and other statistics.
8. Animate Your Advertising With Branded Videos
It is invaluable for small businesses and solopreneurs to put out video content on social media. With free apps like Boosted, you can create video content for your business that match your product or service messaging. Not many photos or videos to pick from in your own database? Have no fear, Boosted offers complimentary templates and stock content to get your strategy rolling.
Here’s an example of the type of content you can create with Boosted:
9. Learn What Your Competition Is Doing (Then Do It, Better)
Which competitors are your target audience looking to? It will be beneficial for your business and marketing to find out what these other companies are – and aren’t doing. What do people like about your competitors? What do they hate? Where are consumers finding fault in their reviews? Use social networks, search engines and review sites to find the conversations that are already happening about your competition.
Then, do what your competitors aren’t doing, and try to do the things that they are doing – even better.
10. When You’re Ready To Grow, Delegate Your Tasks
Thanks to freelance markets like Upwork, Freelancer and Elance, it’s easy to delegate tasks to other freelancers and solopreneurs, which work to reinforce the existing network of solopreneurs all around the world.
From graphic design experts to copywriting ninjas, data mining strategists to social media managers, these marketplaces allow you to post one-time, short-term or long-term projects while setting your own budget and expectations.
These websites are also very useful for helping you find new clients who are already seeking your products or services.
Becoming a Successful Solopreneur
Many people out there are still skeptical about the fact that solopreneurs can be successful. The truth is that over the years, the number of these types of small businesses are on the rise – and they are succeeding. Instead of aiming to hire employees and run large corporations, solopreneurs aim to collaborate and work with other businesses, freelancers, and organizations, enabling them to run their own businesses, without losing their autonomy.
By following the 10 marketing tips we’ve outlined today, you’ll be well on your way to doing just that – thriving as a successful entrepreneur! Here are some bonus solopreneur journeys to inspire your own:
The “Solo-preneurial” Success Of Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely is the creator and founder of the world-renown brand, Spanx. And although today she is worth an estimated $1.1 billion USD, she started out selling fax machines from her home in Atlanta, Georgia.
After she got tired of working as a saleswoman and facing rejections day after day, Blakely decided to venture out on her own, not knowing that she’d soon be launching an extremely lucrative brand now known all over the world.
According to Blakely, her winning marketing strategy was when she sent a gift basket with her products to the Oprah Winfrey show. Eventually, Winfrey mentioned Spanx on air, which led to a staggering increase in sales for Blakely.
In her first year, Blakely managed to earn $4 million inales. And by year two, she had more than doubled this, raking in a whopping $10 million.
Blakely’s story just goes to show that a bit of creative thinking can go a long way in your marketing. If she hadn’t been brave enough to send a free promotional gift basket to Oprah, her business might not have ever taken off like it did. In 2019, Blakely was featured on Forbes Billionaires 2019 list, as well as ranking 23rd on the list of American’s Self-Made Women 2019.
The “Solo-preneurial” Success Of Erika Leonard
Better known by the pen name, E.L. James, Erika Leonard is currently one of the most successful authors in the world. The English-born writer is the brain behind the infamous Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy, which has spurred several Hollywood movies of the same name.
Although Leonard is wildly famous today, she, in fact, had a very humble solopreneur beginning.
In fact, the idea for her steamy, erotic fiction novels started out as nothing more than a hobby. One day, she posted her story on a fanfiction website, and almost overnight, it went viral, all before taking the world by storm, and reaching $1 million in sales in just under 3 months.
The moral of her story is that, unlike her U.K. counterpart, J.K. Rowling, Leonard’s writing career only took off after she initially self-published, working as a solopreneur to get herself discovered.
Her book was only picked up for publishing after it had already gone viral online.
Today, Erika Leonard’s net worth is estimated at nearly $150 million. Her novels have sold more than 125 million copies, and have been translated in more than 40 languages.
The “Solo-preneurial” Success of Marie Forleo
Multi-passionate solopreneur business coach, Marie Forleo started out virtually unknown in the world of business coaching. Today, Forleo has helped thousands of people around the world build their own businesses and create the lives they want to live.
Forleo is mostly famous for selling her wildly popular online business programs, but she has also recently released a New York Time’s best-seller titled Everything Is Figureoutable.
In order to maintain her success, Forleo typically uses social media and the internet to release tons of free content in the shape of mini-training audio recordings, newsletters, video posts, and much more.
She also broadcasts an award-winning podcast called MariaTV, and today, has a net worth estimated between $1 and $5 million USD.