TT#020 - If you’re self-employed, you’re a CEO (for better or worse)…Jul 19, 2022
If you’re self-employed, chances are you’re wearing a lot of hats in your business.
You’re doing work for clients, so one of your jobs is being the product.
You’re also the head of sales, and the top salesperson.
You’re the client success manager.
You’re the operations manager.
You’re the copywriter.
These roles are important. But none are more important than being the CEO.
You may be the CEO of a one-person business. Or, you may be the CEO of a business with one person supported by a team of contractors.
But make no mistake: You are a CEO.
As a CEO, there are 3 critical roles:
- Creating a clear vision.
- Developing a strategy to make the vision a reality.
- Allocating resources properly to execute the strategy.
The amount of quality time & energy you invest in your CEO duties plays a huge role in determining whether your business survives, thrives, or fails.
I’ll break of each of these functions down, then share 1 quick tip to dedicate time to each of them.
Create a Clear Vision
Without a clear vision, your business is just surviving. And that’s not all that fulfilling or rewarding for the people that work there… or, in your case, you.
Having a clear vision for your business means knowing why it exists and exactly where it’s headed. It’s pretty hard to find the right route when you don’t know where you’re going.
More importantly, having a clear vision for the business gives you a goal to work towards.
As naturally goal-striving beings, we are happiest when we are working towards something meaningful. A clear vision gives us that “something meaningful” to work towards. And without one, we’re just… existing. Not nearly as much fun.
In that sense, creating a clear vision improves the chances of success and makes the process of achieving it more enjoyable.
[Want to read more about creating a clear vision? You can read my recent newsletter on establishing Vision Founder Fit here.]
Develop a Strategy to Make the Vision a Reality
A vision without a strategy to achieve it is just a dream.
And when you’re the marketer, salesperson, and product, that dream can quickly become a nightmare if you don’t have a plan to make it a reality.
Creating a strategy to achieve your vision means answering the following:
- Who is your target market, specifically? We’re not talking really ambiguous markets like “small business” or “B2B” here. We’re talking a market defined well enough that it’s easy to know who is (and isn’t) a perfect fit for.
- What’s the problem you’re solving for them? This means honing in on the needs of your market, not trying to market all the things you “can do” to anyone that’ll pay for it.
- What’s the offer you’re selling them? If your “offer” isn’t specific, it’s not marketable. And if isn’t marketable, it’s not strategic. A clear offer for a clear market is an essential element of a realistic strategy.
- What’s your unique selling proposition? Not taking the time to clearly differentiate yourself and answer, “Why you?” is a sure-fire way to end up overworked and underpaid.
A detailed strategy can go much further, but as a solopreneur, these are the basic pieces to start with if you want to build a thriving business.
Allocate Resources to Execute the Strategy
As a CEO, after you clarify your vision and strategy, you allocate resources to execute the plan.
And while there may be more resources in a Fortune 500 company than there are in your one-person business, the resources themselves are generally the same: time, energy & capital.
The question is, how do you best allocate these resources to achieve your vision and strategy?
There are 3 questions I like to fall back on to help answer this:
- Does my calendar align with my vision and strategy? Time is a finite resource. How are you spending yours? Track your time and audit your calendar. Is there alignment between where you are investing your time and what needs to be done to execute the strategy?
- Am I doing work that gives me energy, or drains it? Your energy may be renewable, but if you’re always running on an empty tank, you’re not serving your business or your clients’. Are there tasks you’re doing you can delegate, automate, or eliminate?
- Is every dollar I’m investing producing more than a dollar? Without exception, every dollar you invest should produce more than a dollar in value. Without someone approving expenses, though, it’s easy to end up with unnecessary costs. Tools we don’t use. Tech we don’t need. Do you have a lot of “nice to haves” you could delete?
These few questions will help you lock in what is and what isn’t be allocated properly, and make adjustments.
One Tip To Help Do All The Above
So, just how do you find time to clarify the vision, create a strategy, and manage the allocation of resources… while you do the 14,572,190 other things you have to do as a solopreneur?
Great question. Here’s what I do:
That’s right. I walk.
Maybe not like that though.
For the past 6 months, I’ve walked 6 miles to start every day. And 30 minutes of that time is headspace I dedicate to my CEO work.
Here’s what I do in those 30 minutes:
- Read the vision document I created for myself, and really picture it fully achieved.
- Refocus on the 3-4 big priorities I’ve identified as necessary to make it a reality.
- Review how I spent time, energy, and capital in the prior days to see if it aligns.
That time is vital in helping me clarify the vision and strategy for my business. And it’s just as important in helping me start each day with a focus on what matters most.
As Ryan Holiday says in Stillness Is The Key:
“If you aren’t taking the time to think deeply about your business, who is?”
Great businesses of all sizes are created by design, not default.
I’m on a mission to help 10,000 Solopreneurs & Executive Freelancers discover and enjoy a new lifestyle by creating income they deserve from wherever they choose doing work they love.
For a limited time, I'm offering a free audit of your client acquisition system and will personally help you clarify what’s working, what isn’t, and what to focus on right now to start winning your best clients - on demand.