The Secret Of Successful Solopreneurs: Don’t Do What You Don’t Like To Do
Podcasting is really big, right? I remember starting work at Squarespace in 2013 and discovered all of my coworkers learned about the company through their favorite podcast. Squarespace sponsors A LOT of podcasts. But this was news to me!
I never listened to podcasts. I didn’t even know what kinds of podcasts existed. I much preferred driving to music, taking the train to music and reading in silence.
When Ira from This American Life came in as a guest speaker at one of our Town Halls, everyone totally lost their mind. I had never seen guys fangirl so hard. Me? I had no clue who he was and simply admired his Jewishness.
As everyone around me kvelled over their favorite episode of TAL and that they got a selfie with the one and only Ira, I sat quietly.
You would think being around people who were obsessed with this one medium would make me obsessed too? Not in the slightest.
I’ve listened to a few podcasts because I happened to follow the guest, but I generally just don’t like listening to people yap in my ear. I also don’t like hearing people yell at each other on the radio, or talk the morning away in between songs. I also hate ads.
So when I thought about using podcasting as a form of advertising and press for my own business (having heard it does wonders for other people) I immediately reached out to several hosts and booking agencies.
Only to realize halfway in.. I hate podcasts as a listener. Why would I think I’d like them any more as a guest? And most importantly, why I am forcing myself to do something I really despise?
Don't Force Yourself To Do Something Everyone Else Seems To Like and Do
I have nothing but the utmost respect for podcasts. Podcasting is a tough business, and I tip my hat to the many many visionaries who have carved out amazing niches and make a living from them. When you write a book, podcasts are the place to be to build up momentum pre-launch. And podcast listeners are very loyal.
A lot of work goes into each episode, and they are incredibly valuable and educational for dedicated listeners.
But it isn’t something I like or enjoy. I wouldn’t force a little girl to tap dance if she really hated dancing. I wouldn’t force a boy to play baseball if he preferred swimming.
So why, as adults, do we blindly follow what other people like and say is great without checking in with our own personal preferences? After all, we are the ones doing the work.
Just Take A Moment To Question Yourself
This is why I ask my clients what forms of authority building they are comfortable with. If you have never edited a video in your life, then it’s okay to decide video content isn’t part of your strategy. Cross it off the list. If you aren’t really passionate about blogging, your audience will see it. You’re not giving it your all.
Business trends come and go and the internet loves chasing a shiny new object.
When you have a business as a solopreneur, whether you’re a designer, lawyer, accountant, editor, fire-eater or psychic, everyone will tell you how to run your business. Everyone will recommend the latest trend or “hot marketing tip” that made Joe 10 million bucks in just 1 one year. There is a sucker and 5 new marketing courses born every minute.
None of it matters.
All that matters is if you’re interested in doing it. I’ve spoken at length about how much I hate social media. Not only do I find it a total waste of time personally, but I clearly don’t enjoy it. So while everyone else has a Facebook page, Twitter account, dedicated hashtag and Pinterest board, you’ll find me over here writing about what I think and how you can craft a business that’s a cut above the competition. Because I love writing!
I have a client who took a really long time to start writing. She just wasn't in the headspace for it to happen, and she knew that blogging without clarity or purpose wouldn't produce something of quality. She's a great writer but didn't force herself to do it when she wasn't feeling it. This resulted in her writing well-developed and attention-grabbing posts.
What Do You Have A History Of Doing Well?
I love writing so much, I wrote this epic story for a high school English essay about how Marc Jacobs was the ruler and the universe revolved around fashion floating in outer space. I also wrote about how the hardest decision I had to make that week was picking my nail polish color. A lot goes into the decision, you see. And it takes some planning. Needless to say, I got an A.
Writing brings me joy and vocalizes my unique and usually out-there opinions in the best way possible.
But if you hate writing with a burning passion, podcasting or videos might be for you!
Just Say No
Ultimately, you want to choose the best marketing mediums that let you shine. If you’re visibly uncomfortable or annoyed, no one is benefitting.
The same principle applies to the work you do. If you don’t love what you’re helping clients with, how can you change it to be more in line with your passion?
If you don’t love your process of working with clients, how can you improve it?
If you discover you need more prep time before working with a client, give them a deadline to get preliminary information to you.
If you would rather get your teeth pulled than speak on stage, decline the invitation to be a guest speaker at a conference.
If you’re really struggling to outline your book, don’t write a book!
Life isn’t full of everything we love, but if a marketing strategy or your business is causing undue stress, take some time to re-evaluate your priorities.
Successful solopreneurs actively prevent time-suck through self-awareness.
With this knowledge, you can work smarter not harder.
Your business should run like a well-oiled machine. That can’t happen if you let the oil drip.
There are plenty of options for everyone, but more importantly, there are plenty of options for you.
Think about that next time you feel nauseous before walking onstage to give a public speech you cursed the moment you just couldn't say no.