How to turn a student project into a successful business? Yannick Blättler - entrepreneur of…
How can you start a career online and become a solopreneur? What dos and don’ts are there in the field of digital entrepreneurship? How can you differentiate your offer and gain visibility?
Our invited expert Isabelle Litzler shares valuable business tips based on her extensive international experience. Isabelle is an entrepreneur and consultant, offering training services and networking connections, helping leaders to grow their careers in Switzerland and gain financial and emotional freedom.
We have entered the world of automation, artificial intelligence and disruption: In certain industries, jobs are becoming scarce or are disappearing completely. At the same time, the rapid development of digital tools and platforms offers many opportunities to start a career online in the 21st century. As a consequence, many professionals choose to begin their solopreneur journey.
Solopreneurs come in all shapes and forms. They may be people who have experienced employment and decided to go solo or young professionals who just know that working for a salary is not what their life is about. Thanks to the wide range of applications, social media and other high-tech equipment, anyone with a specific knowledge can start an activity. Your love making jewelry; you can sell your crafts online. You want to do consulting; all you need to do is to build a website with an offer. However, it gets tricky because you need to become remarkable and unique.
So how can you develop your own project in the digital world? Solopreneurs 3.0 are not born with all the answers, but they are actively searching for solutions, trying new ways, making their own mistakes and moving forward no matter what.
If you’re thinking of taking this hectic path, here is what I highly recommend to all aspiring entrepreneurs:
Tip 1: Ask for feedback
Do you have a business idea? Ask for feedback before starting. Many entrepreneurs prefer to keep their ideas to themselves worrying that others might steal their concept. In most cases, however, you need to do exactly the opposite – interact with your potential customers and partners, seek their opinions and listen to their advice. Such feedback will help you customize your services and avoid wrong and pricey early-stage bad decisions.
Tip 2: Add Value
Why do people buy a product or service? Usually because they see the value in it, whether practical or emotional. Therefore, you need to understand and define the exact value you offer and build your sales concept around it. Again, you may want to keep your finger on the pulse of customer attitudes. Ask questions, interact with your audience, understand their needs. I also recommend a great book on building solutions called Value Proposition Design by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur.
Tip 3: Learn from the best
No matter what level of proficiency you’re at now, aim for the greatest. Find successful people or companies in your field and observe what they are doing and how they are doing it. You may not have all the resources to do the same right away, but you will find new ideas and working strategies to help you move forward.
Tip 4: Understand your strengths and weaknesses
Nobody is perfect, and that’s a great thing. The combination of personal strengths is pretty unique, so build on them to define your development strategy. Are you good at writing? Start a blog about your services. If you’re a tech-savvy, use digital tools to create a striking brand presentation. Are you a natural networker? Communicate with others to build new business relationships. Don’t try to do everything at once, stay focused and work to your strengths.
Tip 5: Create visibility and build reputation
Having a great product is not enough. You have to actively communicate about it in order to win new customers. More importantly, you need to build trust. Position yourself as the ‘go to’ person in your industry, share expert tips and recommendations, produce valuable content and collaborate with other solopreneurs. The more you give, the more you get.
Tip 6: The ideal time is NOW
The timing is never perfect to start a new project. You may think that your idea is not good enough, or needs to be improved. However, I strongly recommend starting as soon as you have a first working prototype and developing it on the basis of the results achieved. This is how companies are evolved: develop, test, get feedback, develop further. So, remember: now is the best time to make the first move!