10 Steps to Becoming a Successful Solopreneur

Let’s talk about how to become a successful solopreneur.

Most aspiring entrepreneurs or solopreneurs get stuck in the planning phase. Time and time again, I see people dream big, but often fail to act.
To build your empire, you must take that first step!

In this article, I’ll tell you how to shift from dreaming to doing.

I’m going to outline 10 steps as your roadmap, which will be the blueprint to your success whether you are a new or established entrepreneur, or a solopreneur.

So, let’s break it down step by step.

Step 1: Identify your strengths

Understanding your strengths – what you are naturally good at – is the crucial insight you need to find your niche.

I like to take my clients through a full life reflection as it often brings up niches that they had never even considered. I love the fact that every single one of us is unique. You are the only person who has experienced all the different things that you have experienced. And those lessons are usually the key to your niche.

Step 2: Embrace an obsession

You need to find something that drives you and motivates you. Your obsession will be the fuel igniting your business and I really believe it is necessary in order to build a successful business.

It’s hard running your own business, especially those first two years when there is so much to do, so much to build and set up and create.

You need to be obsessed to keep going, to take action and to do the things required to build your business.

Step 3: Master your craft

It’s time to combine your skills and your obsession.

Mastery comes from consistent practice.

People often want it to be easier than it is, especially with regards to marketing. They want you to tell them exactly what to say, but it’s more nuanced than that.
You need to learn this skill because you’ll need to communicate your message every single day and in several different ways.

It can’t always be a cut and paste script. You need to learn to love and practice marketing. Just like coaching, it’s multi-faceted – there is a lot to learn and the more you practice the better you get. And you’re never done because it’s constantly evolving.

It’s a lifelong skill, just like any other skill that we master.

The same applies to your actual craft, your actual coaching or your delivery method. Again, it never stops.

I’m refining a lot of my programme content at the moment, even though it’s been running for two and a half years.

But I’m changing it because I’m learning every single day, and want to continually apply that learning to make it better and better, refining it again and again.
We must continue to reflect and refine, and to get feedback. We need to put ourselves in our clients’ shoes, thinking about what else we can do for them. Where are people getting stuck? How can we make that better?

Really think about how you can make your coaching offer and service the best that it can possibly be.

Step 4: Share your journey

Do share your learnings publicly. If you are in the middle of your coach training, share what you learned today. Share how you have found the journey so far.

Publicly sharing your journey will build authenticity and connect you with your audience. No one wants a perfectly ‘done’ person. Everyone wants to see your journey and, even if they can’t help, they’ll want to support you. So, show as much of that journey as you possibly can while you are building your business.

Step 5: Attract your tribe

By sharing your story, you will start to attract people who resonate with your message, and this is how you build your community.

It certainly happened this way for me. I was helping a lot of coaches who were contacting me saying they’d seen me out there, being very visible as a career coach, and they asked me to share how I was doing it.

As I started to share how I was doing that, it was those coaches who I attracted in.

It’s interesting that often people create a niche, but actually you often just need to start noticing who’s coming to you.

I know many other people who have had the same experience. My friend Fay Wallis used to run a general career coaching business, then she realised that nearly everyone contacting her was an HR professional wanting to change their career. This demand eventually led her to niche into that.

So, it’s about constantly noticing who you are attracting, which will help you to continue to refine your niche, your audience, your tribe, so you become a ‘niche of one’.

Step 6: Solve problems

Listen to your audience or your network, identify their challenges and think about how you can solve them.
It constantly surprises me how little we realise that people don’t pay for coaching, they pay to fix problems.
They pay to have a better relationship with their husband, or to get that next promotion, or to get to that next level in their business. They are paying to reach a goal.
The more we can hone in on their particular problems – those exact challenges that people need solving – the more money you will make in your business.

Step 7: Package your solutions

Develop services that provide solutions to those problems.

It could be a complete solution, like my Business of Coaching programme that will help you to build your whole coaching business.

Or, it could be a service that niches by tackling a micro problem, like helping people to niche, or helping people with email marketing or sales.

Do you want to take them on that big transformation from having no idea where to begin to having that fully fledged thriving business?

Or do you want to have a shorter transformation, which might just be one small stage of that bigger journey?

If, for example, it’s a leadership challenge, do you want them to communicate better or do you want to help them become a better leader?

There are so many different ways of positioning and delivering ways to help people solve their problems. So really think about those solutions.

You can read my article here, about How to Create a Signature Coaching Programme. It will help you to go deeper into exactly how to package your solution into something that people understand enough to pay for.

Step 8: Establish your coaching practice

Now you know who you are helping and how you’re helping them, we need to set up your business.

This includes defining your rates, creating a great client onboarding process, building your website and creating your social media profiles, to name a few.
All this will need to be built as part of your business.

Then, we take your ideas and we start bringing them into a strong business and a strong brand.

Step 9: Build strong client relationships

Relationships will build your business – that is the purpose of marketing. If your perception is that marketing is tacky or pushy, you need to shift your mindset to thinking of it as building relationships with people. You are actually trying to help them make progress in their life.

We need to stop seeing marketing as an annoying chore. We need to embrace it and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

Marketing is recording my podcast on a Friday night because you give me wonderful feedback about how much you gain from it and what a difference it makes to you. So, for me, it is an absolute joy to spend my Friday night recording my podcast and building a relationship with you and helping you to move forward.

The more you can shift your mindset to focusing on building your business, and helping as many people as you possibly can, the more you will start to reap the rewards from that.

You will also want to build and maintain strong client relationships, so those people want to continue to work with you and become lifelong advocates and refer other people your way.

I am so lucky that my word of the year is ‘championing’. And I wrote in brackets after that word both ‘me them’, and ‘them me’. And that’s exactly what it feels like with my clients. I champion them like no one else and they, luckily for me, champion me in return.

That is what you ideally want for your business and for your clients, because they will then feed your business as you continue to grow.

Step 10: Expand your impact through collaboration and networking

Now is the time to broaden your reach by collaborating with other people and engaging in networking.

Going back to our earlier point about marketing, it’s all about building your relationships and the more people that know about your service, the better.

How can you borrow other people’s audiences or networks by asking them if they will share your content? Perhaps you could offer to do a talk for them. How can you continue to get in front of more and more people? For me, audience building has been the biggest learning I’ve had in the last couple of years. There’s no point putting your content out to a stagnant audience.

How can you get more people to learn about your services? It might be through paid advertising, or it might be through you hitting the Connect button on LinkedIn, trying to grow your followers on TikTok or Instagram, or however else you choose.

It’s all about getting in front of people who are your ideal client, and getting the opportunity to speak to those people.

Examples of top coaches who are succeeding based on these 10 principles

Let’s look at some really inspiring coaches who are really successful, having built huge brands based on these 10 principles.

Marie Forleo is an influential life coach and motivational speaker.

She focuses on helping entrepreneurs create the life they love through business development and personal growth.

Marie worked on her business for over 10 years before she felt that she had really achieved success. I love hearing about these real life stories because I think we often want overnight success. We want to fast forward past the hard slog.

All the coaches I’m highlighting here have put a ton of work in, consistently over many years, to reach the success they’re enjoying now. That’s what it takes to be a successful solopreneur or entrepreneur.

Let’s look at the most high profile and biggest coach I know – Tony Robbins. Obviously, he has a huge organisation now, but he did start as a solopreneur. And he is a prime example of how far you can go in the coaching industry. He’s a life coach, a self-help author, a motivational speaker.

And he has done it all through showing up. A lot. His purpose is to always give service and add value. One of his key quotes is, “How can I make someone’s life better today?”

Another successful coach is Mel Robbins, famous for ‘The 5 Second Rule’ method. She also started as a solopreneur. Her approach is straightforward and action-orientated, focusing on helping people overcome procrastination and be more courageous in their personal and professional lives.
Brendon Burchard is my next example of a successful coach following these principles. I love listening to his podcast and, if you haven’t heard it yet, I highly recommend it.

He has really high energy and focuses on high-performance habits and productivity.

I love this great practice he has, where every morning he thinks of one small thing he can do to surprise someone that day. I must admit I haven’t implemented it every single day yet, but I really want to because doing good things for people makes you happy and it makes them happy.

What could you do to make someone happy today?

In my end of year planning workshop for coaches, I invited them to voice note someone, there and then, thanking them for the massive difference they had made in their life that year.

They all absolutely loved leaving those voice notes expressing their appreciation, and the people picking up those voice notes loved receiving them.

And my final example of a successful coach is Gabby Bernstein because I am on her spiritual manifestation 21 day challenge right now. She is combining life coaching techniques with spiritual principles and has been in the business for a really long time.

Gabby has consistently shown up and has borrowed a lot of people’s audiences – I’ve heard her on numerous different podcasts, and that has been an effective way for her to grow her business.

As you can see, each of these coaches has a unique approach and their own area of expertise. They all started as solopreneurs and how they have built their brands and their clientele from the ground up is inspiring for us all. They are excellent examples that we can use to continue to grow our own personal brands, to create value and to create impactful coaching programmes.

Stepping into solopreneurship can be daunting, but it is necessary for growth. Start small, create consistently and don’t aim to be perfect before you start because perfection never comes.

So, to wrap up, the key to successful solopreneurship is about taking action and staying committed to your passion.

Ask yourself, “What is one small step that you can take today for your future self?”

Prefer Audio?

You can also listen to all my new content on my podcast Women in the Coaching Arena

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you grow your coaching business:

1. Love coaching, but struggling to get clients? Download the 12 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Clients now.

2. Interested to know more about the Business of Coaching programme? Click here.

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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.