10 things I learned from buying (and reading) way too many books, programs, and blogs on how to be a successful blogger and solopreneur.

(oh, and also quitting a full-time job to be a freelancer)

  1. There is no exact formula or solution: Your exact business/passion/desire is going to be completely different from everyone else’s and honestly, there is no formula for success. Any promise of cookie cutter success solutions should be either disregarded or taken with a grain of salt.
  2. Learn a little, DO A LOT, learn a little bit more (repeat): You can spend EONS learning EVERYTHING under the sun but without implementing it, and testing it, and DOING, it means virtually nothing. So learn the basics, try it out yourself, and then learn and little bit more, and try that out. And keep doing that. But the most important thing? DO IT. Even if you’re just doing small things, motivate yourself to just do something to implement what you’ve learned. It feels overwhelming at first, but I promise it gets easier.
  3. Don’t spend money on stuff you can get for free (at least, at first): Now, I’m not saying to torrent programs or steal stuffs (that’s totally uncool), BUT you can learn A LOT on google and by subscribing to people’s newsletters, blogs, and getting freebees. At first, you don’t need the $2,000 program to teach you how to launch your nonexistent service (believe me, I bought it). Because you don’t need all that. You need the book and the videos and then to DO it.
  4. Not good at it? Find someone who is: News flassshh, you’re not going to be fantastic at everything… You’re really not. No matter what your participation trophy says. And also, you don’t want to be. Because that would suck all of the time that you have up in to things you don’t like. But you still need things to be done, so what do you do about it? Find someone that can do it for you! Someone that is good at what you’re not. This doesn’t mean you spend more than you’re making on outsourcing your work…. But we’ll get to that.
  5. Help others, even if you don’t get anything in return: Now, I’m not recommending you exhaust yourself and your resources doing free work for everyone, but if your mindset is “what can I get from this?” all the time, people will see that and run the other direction. So instead, network and connect with people by really actually connecting with them (you know what? Replace the word networking with connecting). Care about their problems and services and ask yourself if there is anything you can do to help them. Maybe one day you’ll need the favor returned, but maybe not, maybe you’ll just feel good about using your resources and connections to help them out. And on the plus side, you get risk-free practice and possible testimonials out of it.
  6. Build a network of kickass support: Did you click with someone at a networking event, or while reading their blog, or listening to their podcast? Reach out and tell them that. And start building friendships with people you admire. They may never respond, but who cares? You’ll never know unless you try, and I have met some AMAZING people this way, who have become invaluable connections, resources, and friends.
  7. Trade your services for something you want: This is something I newly discovered and I LOVE it. It’s like hitting the lottery. If you have something (or know something) that can be useful to others (think marketing, art, blogging, etc), ask them if they would be willing to make a services trade with you. Whatever you need, you can try to find someone that is willing to give it to you for a fair trade of services. I wanted massages to help my migraines and found someone that was willing to trade my marketing services for their massage services (and I did the same thing with a chiropractor, Kung Fu instructor, and photographer).
  8. Invest in staying motivated and connected: Instead of investing my money in taking a bunch of classes that I can’t yet implement, I have chosen to invest in conferences and a mastermind group. Remember, being a solopreneur can include a lot of alone time, but that doesn’t mean you have to be lonely! You may need to go a yoga retreat to stay motivated, so dig into your investment fund and use the opportunity to connect with others and hit refresh on your motivation bank account. AND keep in mind, a lot of motivation is free so commit to investing some time in motivating things… My favorite things are watching commencement speeches, Marie TV, TedTalks, reading books (from the library), calling a girlfriend, etc, etc, etc.
  9. YOU NEED A GOAL (and a plan): This is in all caps because I think it is the most important thing ever, ever, ever. Find a target, long term, or short term, before you start throwing your arrows everywhere. And here’s your plan: Create a vision of what you want your life to look like in a year, or five years (at the most). Draw it out, or write the words that describe it. Then make it less abstract by thinking about what you want to be doing for work, how much you want to be making, how many subscribers you want to make, how you want your marriage to be, etc. (Keep them realistic, but still far-reaching) And then from there, break your year into four quarters. Working backward from your end vision, break it down into steps you can take every quarter to make this a reality. You can be as exhaustive as you want but now you have your year broken into tangible quarterly goals and can actually start making a monthly game plan to make this big dream of yours actually happen.
  10. It’s not going to happen all at once… and there will be days (weeks/months) where it doesn’t happen at all: Becoming an entrepreneur, business owner, blogger, etc. and expecting to be successful right away is like joining the little league and expecting to be in the MLB within a year. If this is your game plan, you will probably find yourself getting quickly unmotivated and deterred. Instead, I recommend defining a realistic and personal definition of success, both ultimately and within the first year, and work towards this definition instead. Have your beacon of light and when you have days (weeks/months) that feel like nothing is going right, reevaluate the success term you set for yourself, make sure you’re still on track with it (or redefine it), then KEEP GOING. If you are constantly working toward your own version of success the worst-case scenario, you get closer to it, best-case scenario; you achieve it and have to redefine an even bigger definition of it.

So let’s reflect, is there a formula you can follow to get famous? No. Do you need to buy $2000 worth of books, programs, and coaching before you get started? No. Just start doing, and learn along the way. Where should you start learning? YouTube and Google. Do you have to be fantastic at QuickBooks, marketing, social media, networking, coaching, website design, making videos, etc.? Nope! Find people that are. Should you help others when you’re getting nothing in return? YES! Who should you surround yourself with? Kick-ass role models! Can’t pay for it? Trade for it! What’s your big investment? Motivation and connection. What are your goals? Define it, and break it down. No interview with Oprah yet? That’s okay! Define your own version of success and just keep swimming toward it!

Okay, so now you’ve learned a little bit. Now DO A LOTTA BIT! 🙂

What are some things you’ve learned? Comment below!

Cheers, 
Summer

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