Solopreneur Is A Mindset Trap. Be Boutique.

Are you doing everything yourself and feeling burnt out? Are you feeling financial pressure from the lack of consistent sales? Are you finding it hard to stand out from the crowd? It may be because of how you’re thinking about your business.

How you classify your business matters.

Being a solopreneur implies working all the time. A microbusiness implies just getting started in some places. A small business feels way too big.

Are you a Solopreneur, Microbusiness, Entrepreneur, Boutique Business, or Small Business?

Many entrepreneurs define themselves as solo entrepreneurs, or solopreneurs.

What is a solopreneur, anyway?

A solopreneur is defined as a single person running a business and doing all the jobs in the business.

As a solopreneur, you’re doing ALL the jobs, all alone. It’s challenging to run your business, much less grow it, if you’re trying to do everything yourself.

If you’re writing content, crafting emails, writing social media posts, creating graphics, building landing pages, having consult calls, following up with prospects, doing administrative tasks, on top of actually serving your clients, all by yourself, it can be hard to find time to work on your business and plan your business as the CEO. And doing everything yourself can make it harder to make more sales and generate more revenue.

If you’re a solopreneur, you’re probably experiencing challenges.

  • 70% of small business owners in the U.S. report working more than 40 hours per week, and 19% report working more than 60 hours per week. (Fundera)
  • This is despite the fact that 81% of small businesses in the US have no employees (SBA, 2020).

Your salary as a solopreneur may also leave something to be desired.

  • The salaries of solopreneurs in the US range from $16,920 to $92,110, with a median salary of $36,200. The middle 50% of solopreneurs makes $30,280, with the top 83% making $92,110. (source)

With so much to do as a solopreneur, it’s tempting to cut corners as much as possible just out of necessity. That can lead to being a cookie-cutter brand that looks a lot like everybody else.

Does Great Service Alone Count If My Brand Is Cookie-cutter?

The answer is no. Having a cookie-cutter brand creates challenges with working smarter in your business. A cookie-cutter brand is cheaper to create, but it will slow down sales growth.

A cookie-cutter brand is one that buys their brand off the shelf. There are a lot of tools available to business owners that don’t want to do the branding and writing work for their business. These tools provide websites, drip campaign content, logos, and images that are pre-built. They ask a few questions about the business, industry, and preferred colors, and then boom, you’ve got a website.

This sounds awesome because it is so easy, right? The challenge it creates is that you have zero differentiation because they just built the same website that was built for tons of other people. When a business uses these cookie-cutter solutions, they’ve likely not put in the work to figure out whom they serve, how they serve, and who they are as a brand.

Yes, the cost of building your website and assets will be less; however, the cost shows up in the lead generation process. Lead generation will be more difficult because who is being attracted isn’t clear, and what the lead is being attracted by is undefined. The lead generation process will be slower and likely attract lower dollar value customers. If the business doesn’t invest in differentiating themselves, why would a customer pay top dollar for their services? The business has just commoditized themselves.

To be successful, a business should avoid being the same as everybody else. If you are using cookie-cutter solutions, you will end up with cookie-cutter results.

Defining My Own Business Model

There are so many ways to refer to ourselves as business owners. None of the terms have ever really felt right to me. The fact is that words matter. I have big goals for my business. I know I will need to think beyond just what I can do to achieve my goals. Describing myself as a solopreneur has never felt right. It has felt very limiting, so I tried on different words like microbusiness, small business, and entrepreneur. Those didn’t feel right either.

When I thought about my business values to provide excellent service to a specific community of business owners by providing stand-out services that are tailored to their needs. I realized that it is all boutique.

Thinking deeply on it, being “boutique” really hits home because it has panache, and it’s hyper-focused, niched, customer-focused, and has a foundation of excellence. Not only that, it helps your business work smarter in every way.

Choosing to be a boutique business is a better option, because being boutique provides a clear picture of what matters.

A boutique business is...

  • Hyper-niched
  • Service oriented
  • Focused on the customer First
  • Super niched
  • Differentiated
  • Clear: Message, Operations, Marketing
  • Priced at a premium, not for bargain shoppers

The Work Smarter Tenets are perfect for a boutique business.

  • Working Smarter means being intentional in every way.
  • Intentional messaging
  • Intentional customer experience
  • Intentional branding
  • Standardization happens naturally.
  • One Ideal Customer means having standardized operations and marketing.
  • When you niche down, you really serve your ideal client.
  • One type of client means all the operations can be geared towards that one person… no exceptions.
  • Customer service is defined.
  • You can't be boutique if you don't value customer service.
  • Clearly mapping out an intentional customer experience makes it that much easier to automate.
  • Collecting data is done consistently.
  • Collecting information makes personalization easy.
  • Surprise and delight are built in.

A Boutique Brand Is The Epitome of Working Smarter

Creating a boutique brand is essential to a Work Smarter business because it means the customer is at the center of everything, therefore they have a clear and intentional brand journey.

A business can’t work smarter using digital tools and automation if the business is all over the place with who they are, whom they serve, how they serve, and what they want the experience to be. By creating a boutique brand, the business is committed to having a crisper understanding of their brand that translates into clear messaging, defined touchpoints with their customers, and intentional communication strategies.

Creating a high-touch experience using automation is possible. Honestly, I find my clients that staunchly protect their customer experience create automated workflows that are more cohesive and impactful than those that are just getting work off their plate.

You can follow all the Work Smarter Tenets with a boutique brand because your brand is already niched down. Your ideal clients will be more similar, so your workflows will be standardized.

Your brand will be very specific to that specific niche and ideal client and can easily be incorporated everywhere from phrasing in emails, to landing page design, to communication plans.

By defining your boutique brand, the business eliminates a lot of noise, and decisions are so much easier because there is a framework to make decisions against!

Choose How You View Your Business Wisely

If you view yourself as a solopreneur, that may reflect an unconscious limiting belief that can keep you playing small -- and not stepping into your role as the CEO of your business.

Shifting your mindset to think of yourself as the CEO of a boutique business is far more empowering. Being boutique means you are creating a sustainable, niche business that serves a specific market with a premium service. It changes the mindset from “just me” to being the CEO of my business.

You don’t have to be a worker bee and continue with a mindset and a model that isn’t serving you.

Learn how having a boutique business will make automating so much easier.

Mary Sue Dahill, Founder & CEO of Work Smarter Digital

Business owners look to us when they are tired of wasting time and money on digital tools that don't make a dent in their business. What they want is a one-stop-shop for their digital solution and CRM support that "...just handles it" and starts making them more money. Schedule a Work Smarter Consult to explore what’s possible.