5 things every solopreneur should do before starting a new year

Now usually I am of the opinion that whenever an expert uses the word “SHOULD” in a headline, you “SHOULD” totally run a mile (see what I did there?)

However, what I have to say in this blog post (my final one of the year) is pretty important, and I needed to get your attention one way or another, so here we are.

Right, first things first…

Nothing you do today will 100% determine your ultimate success this year, that you couldn’t also tick off your list tomorrow….or next week, or even next month. Your business transformation can commence on any day across the next 365 days…January 1st has nothing that March 3rd doesn’t (aside from it being Bulgarias liberation day, who knew)

Plus, what works for one Solopreneur may not work for another….so take every piece of advice you get from the internet…especially from folks you don’t know, with caution. 

Me included!!!

Yet still, even with all of that in mind, the 5 things I want to share with you have been super helpful to me over the past 30 years in business, and are things I encourage my clients to consider each year….which they are super grateful for, when they start to see results. 

Right shall we do this?

 

5 things I believe are helpful to Solopreneurs at the start of a new year regardless of what stage they are at in their business.

1. Give Yourself a Break
Solopreneurs are notorious for working harder than most. All of those “I only work 3 hours a week and from the beach” posts are total bullshit, have you tried working from a beach, I have, it wrecks your digital devices, and usually leads to heat stroke…unless you are in Southend, and then you’ll probably get piles. 

So before you head straight back into crazy busy territory, take a break.

Seriously though, if you haven’t had a break over the Xmas period, in terms of time that didn’t require you to look after other people, cook, clean, tidy up and organise shit, then schedule at least a day (away from your desk) to think about what you want to accomplish this year.

You are the CEO of your business, and probably the CGO too…Chief Grafting Officer FYI…and those two things can be counterproductive. There is never enough time to do EVERYTHING in your business, but a lack of CEO time in your schedule is usually the thing which has you going round and round in circles.

At the start of each year I encourage my clients to have a CEO date, a full day away from the office to goal set, to visualise, to scheme and dream, before heading into their work flow…but also beyond the start of the year (when most people do their planning), to book a half day of CEO time every month, and a full CEO day once a quarter.

Action: Stick those dates in your Digital and Paper Planners NOW…you can thank me later. 

2. Reflect on the past 12 months
There is no point in moving forward with a plan that didn’t work last year, or the year before…what is it they say about insanity?

Looking backward is important. What happened? What didn’t? Did you hit your goals? Did you stick to your plan? What were the lessons, and where was the progress? What does the data tell you? What were the world (and your world) events that impacted your progress?

It might also be worth speaking to your team, even if you don’t have a work team, you will have people around you who will have witnessed your year. Ask for their feedback. Your partner, your kids, your mates.

Try and get a good mix of qualitative (feelings/opinions) and quantitative (facts/figures) data to review.

The 5 metrics I measure consistently in my business year on year are income, impact, influence, insight and integrity, and I have KPI’s that sit underneath those to ensure I stay in action. I write an end of year review blog post that I share with my audience, this holds me accountable to learning from and accepting what has happened each year.

Action: You can read my review post here, but why not write your own…or reflect on the reasons you are resistant to writing one

3. Understand what kind of Solopreneur you currently are
Solopreneurs are not one big homogenous group…what I mean by that is we are all different, we each have a set of different objectives, circumstances, resources and ambitions…and so figuring out who you are as a Solopreneur, what stage of business you are currently in, and what kind of business you are trying to build is super important. 

It isn’t always easy being honest with yourself, accepting you are not as far ahead as you’d like to be, or that your influence is dwindlling or shifting in your industry. But shame is a challenging emotion to take with you on this journey (so let it go), whereas self acceptance helps you to build on the reality of your situation, instead of having some warped sense of who you are and what is possible given your circumstances. 

More than 80% of business owners I spoke to this year reported a drop in revenue or a sense that they were not getting the ROI on the effort put into their business. This was across the board at every level. This has lead to lots of folks reviewing their goals. 

If you are starting out and your business in more of a side hustle you can probably ignore 90% of the advice that is peddled by online marketeers that has everyone believe they can be a millionaire in the next 12 weeks, whereas if you have a legacy business and 20 years of experience behind you, then faffing about learning how to do TikTok might also not be the best use of your time.

Action: Take my What kind of Solopreneur Business are you running Audit here

4. Get clear on the goal beyond the goal
You might have an idea of what it is you want to achieve over the next 12 months, but when things get tough how are you going to stay motivated to stay in action, especially if previously you haven’t reached your targets. This is where having a goal beyond the goal is important, understanding where this years progress is ultimately taking you. Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, what do you want people to be saying about you after you are gone. 

By figuring this stuff out you might work out that you are focussing on things you don’t even care about. I used to think being a millionaire was the goal, I couldn’t give too fucks about that as an outcome, my driving goal is freedom beyond money, my goals are about how I want to feel today and tomorrow, not some delayed gratification that may or may not materialise.

I worked with a number of very experienced business owners with high levels of influence and credibility in their work on looking at the bigger picture, and was astounded by what came out of that process. It is so easy to get stuck in the days to day of hitting targets and not realising you have gone off on a tangent.

The goal beyond the goal concept isn’t about waiting 10 years, I want to live my legacy NOW how about you?

Action: Want some support to think about the bigger picture, ask me about my Legacy Masterplanning Service for 2024

5. Set some clear KPIs
How will you know week on week if you are making progress in your business if you don’t set some Key Performance Indicators? How will you know what tactics to deploy, what actions to take if you have no way of measuring their success? Goals are all well and good, but often they are not achieved because they have nothing tangible that sits beneath them.

“I want to get to £10K months” “I want to be seen as a leader in my industry” “I want to be a keynote speaker” so bloody what!!! What are the consistent, persistent actions that are going to get you there, and how are you going to stay accountable to doing those tangible things week in week out when you also have a million and one other things you think are equally as important. 

Part of the challenge as a Solopreneur is remembering what you said was important, and not getting distracted by bright shiny things that may or may not work. 

Action: Grab my Solopreneur Dashboard™️ for just £18.50 using discount code 2023Prices (instead of £99) this digital tool will help you set and then keep tabs on your goals, KPIs, and weekly actions throughout 2024 and beyond. 

So in summary….

Use the next few days to get your business 💩 together…don’t try and wing it.

As Solopreneurs for sure we have to use our drive and enthusiasm, creativity and resourcefulness to build our ventures…but that works best when we have a structure and a plan for the direction of travel. 

As a business coach it is my job to share my knowledge, expertise and advice, and from time to time tell you what you “SHOULD” be doing…but ultimately it is the action that you take (or don’t take) on the things you feel are most relevant that will get you the biggest gains in 2024 for your Solopreneur business.

So go take action and don’t forget to let me know whats working for you. 

 

Need a roadmap for next year?

There are 9 core areas that Solopreneur Business owners need to keep an eye on across the year, these will be featured in my new book The Solopreneur Roadmap which is due out in March.

Or join The Solopreneur Roadmap programme which kicks off in January with weekly coaching calls, and support to help you create and take fearless action on your own bespoke roadmap for business success.

The first call is on January 9th, but you can start at the beginning of any month in 2024…the price is likely to go up when the new book comes out in March. 

So take action today?

Looking for a business legacy strategist for 2024?

If you are a solopreneur doing all of the doing, AND all of the thinking, and have got yourself in a bit of a pickle. I might be able to help. As a business legacy strategist I help solopreneurs to get clear on their vision, their strategy and the best tactics to deploy, but most importantly I help them turn their ideas into sustained, successsful action…before it’s too late and they have run out of time or steam to reach their full potential.

I have been a solopreneur for close to 30 years, and have been supporting freelancers, artists, coaches, creatives, experts, speakers and sole traders of all kinds of proffesions for more than 20 years. I am a keynote speaker on the topics of productivity, purpose and profits and the author of the books How NOT to be Broke, Leading from the Back, and The Solopreneurs Roadmap.