This may seem counterintuitive but it’s not. You have to try many things and have many failures before you know what works for you — – and only you.
A famous quote by Thomas Edison is “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
That doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan – you do.
Your plan as a solopreneur is not carved in stone but should be looked at least every 6 months and assessed. You don’t know when you start a business who your target market will be or which marketing activities work.
But I’ll repeat — plan anyways but put “review” right in your plan.
Several of us who coach and mentor business startups recently had a conversation and agreed that one topic which should be taught and emphasized is that people need to try things a lot in the first year. A woman who started her business last year said that she’s changing her target market and asked if that was alright. We all chimed in “of course it is – that’s normal. Don’t feel guilty that you didn’t know when you started. Few people do.”
It’s like learning to ride a bicycle.
I was about eight and kept watching with envy the other kids on my street who could ride a bike. They would “whiz around” the neighbourhood. My parents had bought me a bike and a neighbour offered to teach me to ride. He held onto the back of the seat so I wouldn’t fall. Needless to say, I didn’t learn. Then another neighbor (a teenage girl) stepped in one day.
I thought she was holding onto the seat too so I kept riding. But when I turned around she waved at me from half a block away and called out “you’re riding.” I fell right away but got back up. I fell often at first but kept trying … and rode. I was still wobbly but in about an hour I was riding up and down our street.
What did I learn from that?
- Focus Know what end result you want and go for it.
- Persistence “Try, try again.”
- Confidence She (the one who taught me) believed in me and said so.
- Falling is good. Just keep getting up.
- Plan for mistakes
Make lots of mistakes. Plan to fail. It’s a good thing. Make failure a part of your plan.
Review your results every six months. If you’re not getting where you want to go with the marketing tools you’re using — try something else.
Ask clients what they want and are willing to pay for. Focus on a smaller segment of your target market or change markets completely
What I do today is different from what I did in 1980. I’ve refocused or changed businesses six times since then and tried many different things in that time. Each time I assume that making mistakes will be a part of the process.
Tell me about your plan and the mistakes you’ve made.