It’s an amazing time to be a solopreneur. Affordable technology plus the reach of the Internet allows for outsized profits by a “company of one.”
And yet, the true power of the company of one is in the network that surrounds it. Avoiding collaboration and virtual team building is not only shortsighted, it can be prohibitive to your business and personal growth.
I’ve recently realized how my own “lone ranger” propensities were limiting my creativity and strategic vision, and it allowed me to break out of a rut I was in. All it took was a trip to the other side of the world (but it shouldn’t have).
Beyond your own team, it’s essential to expose yourself to new ideas from other entrepreneurs and business owners – whether from courses, masterminds, or simply catching up over coffee. Tune in to hear why “solo” is an ownership concept, not an isolation tactic.
The Show Notes
- If You’re Going It Alone, You Are Missing Out
- Free Profit Pillars Course
- Rate/Review Unemployable on iTunes
When ‘Solo' Goes Wrong
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Brian Clark: Welcome to the show Unemployable, people. I am your host Brian Clark, CEO of Rainmaker Digital, and freshly back from my epic trip to the Philippines. It was amazing, I must say. And that's a lot of what we're going to talk about today.
Yes, the travel was intense. I’ve never been 20 hours on a series of airplanes before, not counting the stops and layovers in between. It was tough, a little bit easier coming back, because I had done it I guess. Now that I've done it, I know I can do it again. Takes a little bit of that mystique out of it. But I don't know anyone who travels that far and says they had a great time, especially if they don't sleep, even in business class. That was a bit of a challenge.
But you know what? I think I needed the disruption. That far of travel, that time spent on a plane, the change in time zones, all of that really knocked me right out of my routine.
The conference itself, which we'll talk about a little bit in this episode, the disruption of my status quo opened me up to some things that I might not have let myself experience. It's an interesting phenomenon. Again, I'm going to talk about it a little bit later in this episode.
In short, I want to talk to you today about the dangers of going solo. Ironically, because I'm so busy catching up from being gone, I didn't have time to go to the studio to record with Caroline, so I'm recording this solo. Yes, yes, the irony is deep already.
Okay, don't get me wrong. It's an amazing time to be a solopreneur. We've got affordable technology plus the reach of the Internet. This allows for outsize profits by the “company of one,” yet the true power of the company of one is in the network that surrounds it. Avoiding collaboration and virtual team building, it's not only short-sighted, it can be prohibitive to your business and personal growth.
I've recently realized how my own “lone ranger” propensities were limiting my creativity and strategic vision. Understanding this allowed me to break out of this rut I felt I was in. All it took was a trip to the other side of the world, but it shouldn't have. And that's the key point here.
Giving Up Some Control Within Your Business
When I got home, I came across this really great article on Medium. It's called “If You're Going It Alone, You Are Missing Out.” This is the gist of what I realized over the course of my career, first and foremost. But again, just recently in a different context.
Let's talk about it in the first context, which is it's just you, you've got a business. You've either got clients or you've got things to sell. You're leveraging technology and you're working hard, but you're getting it done, you're making a living, right? But you're not going to the next step of delegation, of team building, of collaboration, whatever the next step may be.
There's a quote in this article that was I think kind of harsh, but at least telling. A guy named Adrian Brown said they, meaning entrepreneurs who don't feel like they want to work with others, do not build a team around them, because they perceive themselves as more capable than others.
Like I said, I think that there are people like that. I think in most cases though, and certainly in mine, over a decade ago before I learned my lesson, it's more like there's no one more capable than ourselves at that moment.
What we're really refusing to do is take something, turn it into a process, delegate it to someone else and never do it again, because it's not our core thing. And I used to do that all the time. I even do it a little bit now (getting much better at it though).
But here's the easiest thing in the world. Say that one of your tasks is sending out your email newsletter. You’re apprehensive about delegating, because you do it a certain way and you want it to look a certain way. And there are certain little tweaks that you do — really, I'm talking about myself here, frankly.
But here's the simple thing: you're going to do that task today because you have to. While you're doing it, turn on something like ScreenFlow, record what you're doing and talk about these special things that someone else would need to know in order to do it like you want it done.
Now, you haven't spent any extra time other than hitting record and speaking while you're doing the tasks you were going to do anyway. The point being you can hand that off now, and tomorrow you're not going to do it or next week you're not going to do it.
It's that easy, and yet we so often won't do it. I’m speaking guilty as charged. It's been a constant struggle for me and it's always a top priority to get better at it.
Interacting Outside Your Business
Let me talk about the second aspect that this article covers. Which is beyond your own team, it's interacting with those outside of your business.
This is really what hit home for me by going to this conference in the Philippines. So, a little background, it was called Tropical Think Tank, put on by my friend Chris Ducker who has a show called Youpreneur also on the Rainmaker.FM podcast network.
The structure of it was (I was one of the speakers of nine) for the three main days of conference, there were three presentations each morning. And then each afternoon, there were two hours of round table masterminds where each of the speakers would sit at one table, and not necessarily lead the mastermind, but be there in order to help out the people who were at that table.
That was very good for me in the sense that I wanted to see my fellow presenters which I generally don't do. I usually show up at conferences, I prepare for my presentation, I give it, and I go back to my room, being the introvert that I am. This environment did not allow me to do that, which caused me a little bit of apprehension. But at the same time, it's totally doable. An introvert isn't shy necessarily, they get worn down with a lot of interaction.
These masterminds were amazing to me. And then this is in addition to personal conversations that we had throughout. This was only a group of about 50 people, so it was intimate enough to where you could really talk to people which I liked.
At the mastermind sessions, there were a couple of times where I really felt gratified that I saw a lightbulb go off. I was able to help someone go in the direction that they didn't know they needed to go. And that was really, really cool. Other times, people knew what they had to do, they just needed some reassurance. They needed someone to say, “Yeah, that's solid. That's a good idea. I think you just have to go execute.”
Sometimes that's all we need, but when we sit inside our little ivory towers looking for the answer, we're not going find it there, because the doubt is inside of us. And the reassurance can often come from others who can see clearly that we're on the right path.
Things like masterminds, digital communities, courses, all of these kind of things are what we need, even if we feel like we have a solid grasp on what we're doing. I've been doing content marketing since forever, 18 years now, so I know what I'm doing in that context. But the perspective of others, even when it comes to things I already “know” can really jar loose ideas.
I got so many new ideas at this conference beyond helping others. I feel like I got more out of this than anyone. Now I don't know if that's technically true. It doesn't matter though, right?
After feeling for a while in kind of a creative rut, I came home with more ideas and more importantly, more answers on our go forward strategy than I can almost process at one time. I was so excited to get home and start methodically documenting and working through this stuff.
The point is that you cannot sit in isolation either from a team standpoint or from a creativity standpoint and expect the answer to come from you.
Creativity is not some original idea that just jumps out of you from the ether. It comes from things that are already out there and you adapting those things and putting your own spin on it and figuring out how it works for you.
No one gave me an idea at this conference that I would consider off the shelf. But I took ideas that had worked for other people and I said, “If I did this and this, that could work for us in a really innovative way.” It's not a new idea, it's a new application. That's creativity. Don't ever think otherwise.
I see people making that mistake all the time. You get inspiration from others. That can be reading books, that can be watching movies. But more and more I think that it's important to interact with people in the real world, because that's the one thing that our digital lives really can't replace. There is something about being together with people in a setting that is outside of your routine and just learning from others by listening and then extrapolating to your own situation.
You don't have to fly around the world to do it. Just go out for coffee with fellow entrepreneurs, fellow freelancers, anyone, whether you feel they're on the same level as you, you feel like they're ahead of you or even behind you — it is irrelevant.
We all go through the same things, we all face the same struggles. I don't care if you're making eight grand a year or eight figures a year. The struggles are the same, you're just at a different point on the path.
So that's my takeaway from my disruptive travel.
Thanks again to Chris Ducker for having me. It truly was one of the best things that I've done in a long time. Maybe when next year comes around, we'll talk about whether you want to go to this conference or not. I get nothing out of it. And if I go again, I just get to be on planes for 40 hours again.
All right, guys, I'm going to go.
We've got a great interview tomorrow with Nathan Barry. Please listen in on that. This is all about how he took his side project and turned it into his main thing. You're going to be amazed when you hear what the results of that leap of faith were.
In the meantime, if you could leave a rating or review over at iTunes for the Unemployable Podcast, I would so greatly appreciate it. It really helps us do well in iTunes.
One of the other presenters at Tropical Think Tank was Jordan Harbinger of Art of Charm. We hit it off amazingly in probably some drunken ways, but he was looking at Unemployable, he's like, “Brian, you're not asking for reviews enough, you need more reviews, blah, blah.”
Okay, this is for you, Jordan. Please rate Unemployable over at iTunes. I will greatly appreciate it.
We will be back tomorrow with more from Nathan Barry.
In the meantime, keep going. Get out there, get ideas from other people, establish relationships that build you up while you help others as well. You won't regret it. I guarantee it.