A Solopreneur’s 8 Secrets for Staying in Business Happily and Successfully

Believe in YourselfYou’re out there on your own because you have a lifestyle you want to live & that lifestyle is one of freedom! You probably work a lot harder now, working for yourself, than you did working for an employer, but you also do it because you DESERVE a great lifestyle.

Having been in business for myself since 1989, I’ve learned a few things about moving through the fear of being on my own to enjoying the freedom of solopreneurship!

To tell you the truth, I didn’t really know these secrets when I started out, but as I look back I realize that they are guidelines that have served me well – and will serve you well as you move forward.

Here are my 8 secrets for succeeding in your business happily for as long as you like:

#1. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. When I first started my business and people asked me “are you good at what you do?” I didn’t hesitate with an answer, I said “yes” right away. I actually surprised myself when I did that. I wasn’t being cocky or arrogant, I was CONFIDENT.

Why else would I be going out on my own if I didn’t feel I had something to offer others? I will admit, it helped that my mentors boosted my confidence level. I was lucky to have 2 of them, both seasoned veterans in the field of copywriting. They were encouraging about the talent they saw in me and it motivated me.

Remind yourself that you’re good at what you do – good at helping people, making them feel really comfortable or helping them get out of overwhelm. Get clear and then excited about doing what you do. When you feel yourself wavering, turn to your mentor, your coach, or a trusted colleague for support and they’ll remind you of the gift you have to offer. They’ll remind you of your brilliance.

Be Grateful#2. BE GRATEFUL every day – EVERY DAY. It changes your vibration. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Rick Hanson’s book entitled, Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. He wrote:

“Gratitude means paying attention to the offerings that have come your way – especially the little ones in everyday life.”
“When you do this, you’re resting your mind increasingly on good things moving toward you, on being supported, on feelings of fullness – on the sense of having an open heart that moves toward an open hand.”

He goes on to say . . . “Fuller and fuller, more and more fed by life instead of drained by it, you naturally feel like you have more of value inside yourself and more to offer to others.” That’s beautiful, don’t you think? I do.

So, take a moment to close your eyes and think about one thing you’re grateful for right now. Maybe it’s the gift of birds singing nearby, flowers in bloom, perhaps a rainbow or water fall, a child at play, a ray of sunshine. . . just BE GRATEFUL.

#3. DON’T EXPECT OTHERS TO GET YOU RESULTS. You are responsible for your own results – for your own success. You can learn from other people’s wisdom, you can follow their advice, but you have to take it on yourself and turn that advice into something that applies to you – then go out there and use it.

I used to see a psychic masseuse. As she massaged me, she’d channel the spirits of Native Americans. One thing she always told me was “Debra, I don’t predict your future. I share what comes up and you take what resonates for you and leave the rest.” I appreciated that!

I also like the way my colleague Kevin Knebl illustrates the point. He says, think of it like this…

You go to a health club, thinking about joining and becoming a member. They can show you the exercise machines, the weights, the pool, etc., but they can’t turn you into Adonis – they can’t lift the weights for you or swim the laps across the pool. So, REMEMBER this, you are responsible for your own success.

SECRET #4. BE YOURSELF – PEOPLE BUY YOU AS MUCH AS (if not more than) YOUR SERVICES. We’re all individuals with different needs, personalities,etc. If you buy into the concept that you’re JUST a coach writer, a designer, a photographer, etc., you won’t be in business for as long as you like (or for 25 if that’s what you desire). You are so much more than that!

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”-Oscar Wilde

#5. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DO WHAT YOU REALLY LOVE TO DO. IN OTHER WORDS, SAY “YES” TO YOURSELF. That’s the benefit of being a solo- or entrepreneur or creative business owner – you don’t have a boss, there’s no one controlling you, no one is saying “no”. You’re the only one who might say “no” to yourself. So, are you saying “no” to yourself in your life?

For the longest time I said ‘no’ to myself when it came to take a break – just a short break – in the middle of the day. I said “no” to going for a walk on the beach, to a dance or yoga class in the morning or midday for that matter because I “had” to work.

Who said I had to? ME! Then, I finally gave myself permission – said “hey Debra, you’re the boss, you can do what you want.” And you know what? When you give yourself permission to nurture yourself – you also nurture your business.

Interesting isn’t it? Interesting how we can be harder on ourselves than any boss we may have had on a J-O-B. That’s why I’m sharing these pointers with you. I want you to learn from the mistakes I made. And, I’m grateful I’ve learned from them myself, but it did take time.

SECRET #6 – DON’T OVERTHINK THINGS. Don’t look for a problem where there isn’t one. Don’t create one when one doesn’t exist. I know I have a tendency to do this a lo t– still today.

I can get easily overwhelmed, thinking there’s so much to do, feeling like there’s not enough time to do it. Believe me, if you’re like me, BREATHE and learn to just take one step at a time. AND, ask support when you need it.

SECRET #7. BE KIND TO YOURSELF – nurture yourself, acknowledge your strengths. Remember your brilliance. One exercise I’d like you to do is to take a pen & paper and write down all that you’ve achieved since you started your business. For instance:
• Articles you’ve written (include guest blog posts).
• Awards you’ve won or acknowledgments you’ve received.
• Places you have been asked to speak.
• Committees you’ve served on or volunteer work you’ve done.
• Interviews you’ve given.
• Whatever you can think of that has made you feel good and let you SHINE!

When I wrote my list, I surprised myself with how many pages I filled. Like me, I think you’ll also be pleasantly surprised. Last but not least, one piece of advice I always give those who call me for advice is this:

SECRET #8. BE CONSISTENT and PERSISTENT. DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP. For me, back in 1989, giving up was not an option! Here’s my favorite quote from Calvin Coolidge about this:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence & determination alone are omnipotent.

These 8 secrets have seen me through more than 25 years in business. I know they’ll see you through as you move forward with yours.

Usher Quote - believeDuring the season of “The Voice,” when Usher coached Michelle Chamuel, he said this to her – and I’d like you keep it in mind as well: “You can be whatever you want to be, just BELIEVE!”

What are your thoughts? Do these principles guide you in your business? Or, do you have one you’d like add? Please share your thoughts in the comment section because I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s to your sweet success, being true to your self and building a thriving business while living your dream. Thanks!

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget(TM) due out in January 2015. Pre-order your copy here.