The Eight Stages of Solopreneurship And How to Survive Each

Being a solopreneur does not mean starting one set of activities and keep doing those activities until you reach your goal.  It is a series of stages, with each phase having an entry point, an exit point, a set of objectives and measurements.

 I’m going to dedicate the next blog posts to covering the eight stages of solopreneurship.  You can identify where you are,  the challenges you’re likely facing, and how to overcome.

  One thing I do day in and day out his work with small businesses.   Within 15 to 20 minutes, and a series of questions, I know exactly what stage of development a business is in and what to do next.   This skill helps me to guide the entrepreneur into focusing on the right things to do in developing their business.   These eight steps are how I look at the development of solopreneurs.

About Solopreneurs

 Let me be clear about one talking about here.   Solopreneurs are solo entrepreneurs who are actively building a business. They may be doing the work of freelancers or traditional self-employed, but their goal is to go beyond a solo business.   Most freelancers and self-employed trade time for money and there are rarely any business development activities at all after they launch.

The 8 Stages of Solopreneurship

 Here are the eight stages that every solopreneur passes through (with links to posts when published):

  1. Aspiring – The solopreneur does not have a business idea and is motivated to start a business. (Blog Post Here)
  2. Idea – The solopreneur seeks a business idea. (Blog Post #1) (Blog Post #2
  3. Validation – The solopreneur validates the business idea. (Blog Post #1)
  4. Resource Aquisition – The solopreneur acquires the resources needed to launch the business.  This typically includes a business plan and raising capital. 
  5. Launch – The solopreneur prepares to launch the business. 
  6. Early Sales – The solopreneur searches for ways to make the first sales. 
  7. Sales Traction – The solopreneur discovers reliable methods of selling and begins making revenues. 
  8. Maximum Capacity – The solopreneur reaches the point when they have more work than time, resulting in their first business development plateau.

  An entrepreneur can easily get stuck in the earlier stages and can quickly crash and burn in the latter stages.  Passing through each stage is not a function of time, but of doing the right things and getting results.   Sales (note not marketing)  is the key skill required to get to the breakeven point.  

Surviving Each Stage

  Surviving each stage means laying the groundwork for the next stage. For example, for an aspiring solopreneur to get to the next stage they must find a viable business idea.   For a solopreneur to get traction,  they must learn which of their sales methods are working ( and which ones to discard).   In this sense, the solopreneur “builds” their business. 

  Skill sets are critical in surviving each stage.  For example, a solopreneur must possess the technical skills of production to create their widget.  They must also possess, the sales skills to create revenue,  In the financial skills to deal with the see-saw cash flow.

Knowing What’s Coming Could Save Your Business

  When I’m working with a solopreneur,  I not only help them with their current problem with future ones as well.   I have learned that developing the skills before you need them is essential to surviving each of the stages.   This is what I hope to do, in more detail, in the upcoming blog posts.

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Also published on Medium.

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