It’s that time of year again. As we hurtle towards the end of 2023, it’s useful to look back and assess what went well, but also look forward and plan for the future as well. Here’s what I’ll be planning out over the next couple of months, and focusing on in the coming year.
I’ve shared with you before that I want to be a solopreneur forever. I have no desire to grow my little business into a bigger, more complicated, employee focused enterprise. But that doesn’t mean I’m not focused on growth. In the coming year, I’m looking to grow my reach, revenue and the number of people I serve.
If growth is a focus for you, you might want to be paying attention to:
Your platforms – where are you reaching the most people and having the most impact? This year I grew my followers on Medium to well over 20,000 without even trying, so I’m planning to focus on creating valuable long-form content over there, where organic growth seems to happen naturally for me. I personally don’t put as much focus into creating a following on social media as most social platforms don’t work that well for long-form content creators, but for you it may be different. Perhaps your best platform is TikTok, YouTube or Instagram.
Your email lists – email marketing is not dead yet. In fact it’s still a major source of revenue, not just for individual content creators but even for big businesses. I know most of my early sales for any product or service I release or promote will come from my email lists (I have one for each niche I operate in) so I’ll be focussing on attracting more subscribers in the coming year.
Your business model – some business models simply allow you to serve more people. Group coaching will allow you to serve more people than one-to-one. Teaching online (whether through YouTube, Skillshare or some other platform) will allow you to impact more people than you could hope to reach in person. Writing for bigger platforms, publications and online outlets will also allow you to get your message out to more people. Look at where you can grow in terms of the number of people you can impact.
Like many people, I set up the various elements of my online business (my blogs, my content creation services, my ebooks, and my digital products) without thinking through what the business life cycle for each element might be. Now I’m starting to think about it. A lot. I don’t want to be blogging or creating freelance content forever (though I’m sure I’ll continue to create and share content in some form indefinitely). I’m looking into what my options will be if and when I want to exit my current business in the future.
Exit strategies you may want to consider include:
Selling your existing business. And yes, you can do this even if you don’t have a traditional brick-and-mortar business. It’s possible to sell a blog or website, e-commerce business, or other online business, as long as you’ve set it up in such a way that you yourself are not the entire business.
Passing your business on. Many of us solopreneurs involve family members in helping us to run our websites, e-commerce enterprises or other online businesses. If the firm is still thriving and you’ve involved a family member in the building of it, you might want to consider handing the business over to them once you are at a stage that you no longer want to be involved.
Winding things up. It’s not always necessary to sell or pass on a business. It’s also possible to simply close it down. Some online businesses (especially service based ones) really don’t exist as entities beyond the individual who’s running the business. This may be the case if you’re a freelance writer, designer or photographer, for example, or a virtual assistant. If that’s the case, it’s a valid exit strategy to simply give your clients notice that you’ll be stepping back and no longer offering your services from a set date.
Solopreneurs often don’t put much effort into planning for retirement. In fact Forbes recently reported that 77% of freelancers claimed they would rely on their own savings (as opposed to a pension plan) to fund their retirement and that 30% predicted that they would never retire.
I’m a long way off retirement, but planning for it is definitely something I’ll be focussing on in the next 12 months. Depending where in the world you live, there are various options open to you when it comes to setting up a retirement savings plan or otherwise getting your finances in order so you know how you’ll be funding your retirement years.
If you don’t know where to start, Calculator.me has a great range of online calculators that can help you, including a general retirement calculator as well as calculators that can help if you’re thinking of setting up Roth IRA or a 401(k) rollover.
And yes, if you’re wondering, you can set up a Roth IRA or a 401(k) as a solopreneur. I wrote more about this recently in my article over at Wealthtender, all about saving for retirement as a freelancer.
This is definitely an area of your finances that you might want to take advice on, as planning for retirement as a solopreneur can be quite complex, but the above online calculators can be really useful to help you get an idea of where to start and what options you could consider.
Any questions? Share them in the comments. Or feel free to share your own plans for the future for your one-person business. I’d love to support you any way I can.
Have you joined the FREE resource library for solopreneurs? It’s packed full of downloads, workbooks and guides to help you run your online business. You can get access here.