The one question to ask yourself before starting your own practice

What's your vision? Ok that was quick!

So many people want to start a business, or go out and start practices for themselves, but haven't asked themselves the most basic questions. It's absolutely critical that you are honest with yourself from the outset as to what is motivating you and what you want to achieve before going out and starting your own thing. For most of us starting out we look at the facts, the figures, the clients and everything else, but don't ask ourself the key questions about what is driving us as individuals. What we want out of it and what our vision is. And it is THE question.

So many business owners get into trouble not because they are bad at business, but because they start something that isn't right for them and they make decisions because they are confused about what they really want.

We help both solopreneuers and entrepreneurs grow their businesses with great strategy, content and marketing. Want to know how? Check out our process!

Do you want to create a job for yourself, or build a scalable business?

Put another way - do you want a business managing others, or do you want to be a consultant? Most people think it is all the same, but those people struggle. Have you even thought about the realities of the difference between an entrepreneur business owner, and a solopreneur consultant? They are hugely different and every decision you make around your business will be affected by the answer.

So what is the distinction?

Vision.

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Entrepreneurial business owners have a vision, plan and a drive to grow a business with other people. Solopreneurs and consultants have a vision for being in business for themselves and aren't driven to grow a team. These are clearly two very different things and it is important to establish which side of the fence you sit on before making a decision. Both are great, both have many people that do very well at either, but it is very hard to be one if you really actually want to be the other.

Why does this matter? Because you want to make a business that aligns with your values and what your ambitions are, not the perception of what you should make. The late night “how do I grow this thing” discussion is an easier one to have with yourself if you are true to what you want. If you are a solopreneur it's doubling down on you, your brand and the type of work you can do on your own. If you're a business owner, it's about scale, managing others, decisions regarding growth and going after the type of work that facilitates that.

Business is stressful enough, let alone faking your reason for doing it. Both tracks are just as worthy, so don't kid yourself about wanting a scalable business when you actually want to be a consultant. This might mean you supplement individual work with consulting in other businesses. A business owner who wants to scale, on the other hand, can't be investing time in someone else's brand when building their own.

You simply can't have a business you enjoy if you aren't 100% committed to your vision. Well, maybe not never. If you're in a partnership, sometimes this can work out, but like most people starting out on their own, you are making these decisions individually. There are just so many difficult decisions, sleepless nights and stresses of growing a scalable business that anyone without a real drive to do that and a real love for the process, will either burn out hard and fast or end up hating it.

Pathways for solopreneurs

If you deep down want to work “in it” rather than “on it”, maybe the best course of action for you is to be a solopreneur or consultant. For people thinking like this, I would really stress whether working with others is also important to you, and if so, maybe being the 2IC of a company is better than being out on your own. If, however, you have the vision to be a solopreneur, the great thing these days is that you can still get this support with co-working and through your network. It is, however, something you really need to be on top of as it doesn't happen by accident.

Part of what I love about the new consulting platforms like Peerpoint or Lexvoco is how they give people the option of being solopreneurs rather than needing to build a scalable business. You can have your own practice, or work on contract for a period of time, or split your time between both. Lots of people want the flexibility and think that means starting a scalable business, when actually, for them being a consultant makes far more sense.

How you market your services and the decisions you make on how you deliver your services and goals are all intrinsically linked to the vision you have for your business.

Getting this right makes life a lot easier when going through the slog of growing something.

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Pathways for entrepreneurs

This one is easy - starting your own practice with a passion for growing it and employing other people.

Entrepreneurs ultimately want to work “on” their business and not in it. They may still want to spend time on the tools when it suits them but ultimately they want people working for their business.

To succeed as an entrepreneur rather than a solopreneur, and enjoy it, you have to love the game of growing a scalable business. You have to enjoy the process of learning things like cash flow management, accounts, marketing, branding and everything else you need to learn. But not just in theory, you really need to enjoy the process of it or find ways to at least at the start when you end up doing so much of it yourself. If you don't get something out of the process my best advice is to stick to working in a great firm, or go out on your own but focus down on creating something that delivers for you as an individual, where you can surround yourself with enough support.

What if I change my mind?

You're allowed to, but it might take some re-working! Sometimes people think they want a scalable business, but they really just want to work for themselves. Making that mistake might mean you have to re-structure your business in a way that takes a lot of the work you won't do off your hands. It is tough, but it's also doable. On the flip side, if you are a solopreneur keen to scale it's a lot easier in the short term. Just make sure you know what you're getting yourself into!

We help both solopreneuers and entrepreneurs grow their businesses with great strategy, content and marketing. Want to know how? Check out our process!