Starting a business as a solo-preneur has loads of benefits. One of the biggest benefits is you are the boss and responsible for how you do things. This can however also be one the biggest drawbacks because of the mere fact that as a solo-entrepreneur you wear so many different hats. You are the:
- CEO – doing business planning and creating an overall strategy
- Marketing manager –finding clients
- Operations manager – doing client work
- Financial manager – handling income and expenses
- Secretary – scheduling client appointments
- Admin assistant – getting your own processes and procedures in place and handling your own admin
Although all these roles/activities are required to ensure the smooth running of your business, they are not all equally important.
For a business to be profitable and sustainable, the most important activities are those that will bring in the money consistently. In my opinion these activities include business planning, finding clients and doing client work – and any VA should focus most of their time on these activities.
However what sometimes happen – especially in the beginning – is that too much valuable time is wasted by unnecessary and time consuming activities where people are happy to spend days searching the internet for free information instead of buying one book they can read in a few hours to give them all the info they need. Or they spend weeks in developing their own paperwork and procedures instead of acquiring templates and “ready-to-use” info they can just customise to save them time. Or they spend months on figuring out how to do marketing and sometimes don’t even reap the benefits of their efforts instead of attending a training program or getting a coach to learn how to do it right.
I however learned that the secret to a successful business is to work smarter and not harder. And the quickest way to succeed is to find someone who already did the groundwork for you and then use their shortcuts to help you progress faster – even if you have to pay for it.
Now at this point, people often object and say: “Well, I do not have money to spend on the things I really need– so I will rather do it myself.”
This can be a valid excuse because people are often cash strapped when they first start out. But have you ever asked yourself: “What Is your TIME WORTH to you?” In other words, how much does it cost you to spend your time reinventing the wheel and doing everything yourself?
Let’s look at an example: Let’s say you need information on how to start a new business and you spend 2 hours per day for the next month to find all the free info you can get on the internet (2 hours a day is 10 hours / week or 40h /month). If your time is worth e.g. R100/h (the rate you charge clients for an hour of work), it will cost you R4000 to find information! Although you might argue this is not real money, it is definitely potential money lost, especially if you could’ve rather use that time getting an income.
Now, if you think about it, that’s a lot of time and money wasted on finding information!
If you instead buy a book for R200 or attend training for R2000, you can receive all the info you need in a fraction of the time. Now, this is real money spend. But, here is where you start thinking about return on investment (ROI).
If for example, you invest R2000 in an 8 hour training course that gives you the same info (and more) than surfing the net for 40 hours this month, you have 32 additional hours in your month available to implement the training, to do marketing and to find clients to ensure you get your initial investment of R2000 back as soon as possible.
If you can get one long-term client as a result of the additional time you’ve spend on marketing, and start earning an income from that client, you can potentially get your investment of R2000 back within the first month or two. Thus, not only did you save time (32hours), you also prevented your business from losing potential money (R4000 by spending your time on finding clients instead of information) and you started making money (Rxxx.00 from using your time more effectively, getting clients and earning an income).
Remember, any successful entrepreneur knows it makes business sense to spend more time on the important activities that returns and income than spending it on those that don’t.
So, don’t get caught up in the pitfall of struggling on your own, wasting time and reinventing the wheel over and over again. Rather invest in your business strategically and obtain the right time saving resources (people and programs) – even if you have to pay for it. That will help you to:
- Run your business much more effectively;
- Be more productive;
- Have more time to get clients and earn an income;
- Prevent your business from losing potential money;
- Start making money…
There are excellent resources available to help you start and run your business more efficiently. Your task is to recognize and start using them.
Here are a couple of excellent resources to help you start and run your VA business:
I would love to hear your comments on this…