Solopreneurs in Isolation
Updated: Apr 12
For those of use who've taken the solo road to entrepreneurship -- freelancers, gig workers, consultants etc. -- working from home or alone all the time may not be such a big change. Yet, there are some new realities for us in this corona virus plagued world. First, if you were a creator who spent your time in coffee shops, either for the fancy beverages or the free wifi, you are now in a new space. Maybe you never set up a home office, because you enjoyed being out. Or perhaps you have a big family at home and a coffee shop was a quieter environment. Either way, it's time to carve out your work space and if necessary talk to your housemates about your needs.
Talk to enough solo workers, and you'll soon discover that landing new clients is their number one concern and always on their mind. As politicians recommend that everyone, "work from home if you can" landing new work could get tricky. Were networking events and face-to-face coffees and lunches your primary sales tool? If so, it's time for a makeover. You're going to have to learn to be informative, charming, and persuasive through digital means.
If you were already making the most of social media, webinars, email etc. to build your client list that's great. Just be aware that the marketplace is going to change. Businesses in crisis mode may cut back on projects they see as optional. Newly grounded professionals may decide they too can be gig workers and you may find a whole new range of competitors. And while we were all distracted by the daily updates on the corona virus, California's AB5 law went into effect. This new legislation, according to many, could disrupt or even destroy the gig economy. https://www.investopedia.com/california-assembly-bill-5-ab5-4773201
So what's your plan solo workers, as you face this new world where almost everyone is stuck at home? (Again, many thanks to all those essential workers keeping society running by going to work.) How will you stand out? How will you manage your time if your quiet home office now doubles as the place for fourth grade spelling practice? You're a solo worker, but you live in a society, and that society was not prepared. You need a plan.
Consider setting up office hours (if you hadn't already) if you are sharing space with a family. Explain that when you are "at work" your attention needs to be focused on work. At the same time make sure to set up family hours that are just as concrete.
Learn to use Zoom. If you haven't tried video meetings yet, now is the time.
Tune up your empathy. People are worried. When you're interacting with clients remember they may be concerned about business dropping off, or loved ones being sick. Offer good information and ease up on the hard sell. Be open to requests for a new approach, as your clients realize they need to change things in their lives and businesses.
One bit that I forgot to mention, but that I experienced as I finished up this post...be prepared for the Internet to be overwhelmed and a bit slow sometimes, as millions more access information online.