I see this situation all the time. You’ve hung out your shingle, you’ve set up your website, you offer every service under the sun.
You have no clients.
Or, you have a few clients but you are doing all kinds of different things for them. There is no system to your day or your workflow.
Or, you have many clients and you are working morning, noon and night to get your client work done.
Whatever the circumstance, you are frustrated.
You are tired.
You are ready to quit.
You often think about just going and getting a job.
And maybe that’s the right decision.
But it’s probably not.
I’ve been in this situation many, many times, like a lot of my colleagues.
It’s time to step back and have a look at things. It’s the best way to determine what needs to change in your business so that you can be happy again.
What is the issue?
If you don’t have any clients, why don’t you have any clients? What are you doing to network and meet people? How are you approaching people? If you have a viable business and you offer awesome services, there is no reason that you can’t have great clients. Lots of them! There is something wrong in your strategy or in your execution of it. Figure out what it is you are doing wrong and fix it. You may need to get some help identifying this – it will be money well spent if you hire someone to help you. If there is something you don’t know about running a business, get some training to learn it.
If you have a few clients but you are providing a laundry list of services to them, how does your average day look? I bet your days are frantic as you jump from task to task – particularly if you bill your clients by the hour. It can be exhausting. Specializing your service offerings is one of the smartest things you can do as a business owner. It helps you to offer a specialized suite of services for your clients, and it also puts the flow back in your workday. Doing similar tasks for various clients throughout the day helps to keep things running smoothly, and helps you keep your sanity. Pare your list down and bring back the flow!
If you have too many clients and you are working too much to get their work done, what can you do to work less and still make great money? Easy – consider getting some help in the way of subcontractors – or raise your rates. Either way, you will be able to work less and make more money. If you have clients that are filling up your workday and you can’t afford to sub out the work, then you are not charging them enough. If you can afford to sub some things, figure out what will work for you. It’s not as simple as getting someone to do all of one client’s work (though it can be). Think about getting someone to do all of your client newsletters, for instance, so they can do a piece of each client’s work, and you free up valuable time for yourself, while still earning.
There are lots of things that can make you feel like you are drowning. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are trying to do everything yourself and it’s just not going the way you thought it would.
Stepping back to identify exactly what the issues are (or as I said earlier, getting help to identify them if you just don’t know) will go a very long way in helping you make a decision as to how to proceed.
When you feel like quitting, don’t get down on yourself. It’s a very common feeling when you are a solopreneur… so get some perspective on things and take ownership of your attitude as well as your business – and you will stop thinking ‘poor me’ and start thinking ‘rich me’!
For more tips about how to run a fun and profitable business, check out my weekly free training series Back to Basics!