Every successful business grows in phases.

But growth phases can be harder to consider when you’re in the middle of your own story, operating as a solopreneur.

It’s too easy to get lost in the details, trying to do everything all by yourself.

And before you know it, you’re working yourself to death, doing the wrong things for the phase your business is in. Lots of my clients have exhibited this behavior!

However, a solopreneur needs to spend your limited time and energy on the appropriate tasks for your phase.

And if you can do that, you increase your chances of success exponentially.

The 5 Phases of Solopreneurship

There are basically five stages of Solopreneurship. And each phase comes with its own unique challenges and requirements.

Today, I want you to understand these different phases so you can zoom out, recognize where you are, and take the appropriate action.

Phase 1: Staying Alive

The beginning of Solopreneurship is about survival.

You’re the new kid on the block, and you’re just trying to stay alive. To keep your internet “doors open and lights on.”

It’s scary, but exciting at the same time.

You learn so much about yourself and your business at this stage. And this phase is where 95% of people fail.

So here are two simple tips for surviving:

Phase 2: Build Systems

When you get some traction (i.e., you’re making some predictable money), you enter phase two, where you start building systems.

Think of systems as processes that you can follow to produce a predictable outcome.

Here’s where the structure of your Solopreneur business begins to form.

Document your systems: Every task you find yourself doing repeatedly can potentially be systematized.

Start by outlining your tasks in a document.

When it’s time to delegate any of those tasks, you’ll have clear instructions to follow or hand off to a helper. No more forgetting how or when to do things.

My content system: For example, I have developed a system for creating a major piece of content and repurposing it in many different directions.

Phase 3: Growth Focused

Once you have systems in place, it’s much easier to put some additional weight on the foundation of your business. Your foundation is much less likely to crack with strong systems.

Now is the time to start investing in growth. By this point, you should intimately know your customers and how to acquire more of them.

If you’ve been active on one social media platform up until this point, it could be a great time to expand to another platform.

Starting a newsletter, weekly video series, or podcast might bring in new customers from untapped channels.

Or you could look for strategic partnerships with other creators, solopreneurs, or business owners. Collaborations can help you extend your reach and bring in new customers without incurring significant costs.

Phase 4: Invest in Self Protection

If you start to build a successful one-person business, you’ll notice something pretty scary – there will be a lot of copycats. Content stealers, product copiers, and worse.

That noise makes it even harder to compete in the busy and crowded social media space.

How will you protect your business from being eaten away by competitors?

Here are some examples of how to protect your business:

Phase 5: Automate the Business

The last phase is all about automation. Doing things that make your business operations and revenue more efficient and predictable.

But here’s how you might think about it:

Paid advertisements: If your systems are in place, your branding looks great, and your landing pages are converting at a high level, paid ads might be a great fit. Ultimately, you want to get to a place where you’re spending $1 to generate $2.

This is basically an automated cash machine.

You could also consider contracting a part-time project manager. Someone who can do a few things for you:

In Summary

I think about my business in terms of years instead of days.

Keep in mind that each of these phases takes time, typically a year or more. Don’t rush it.

Success (in anything) is all about playing the long game.

It takes planning on various levels: setting long-term goals, strategizing every year, planning tactics quarterly, and putting in the effort daily.

And the biggest variable?

Patience. A willingness and determination to outlast most people.

Remember, the ultimate goal of time freedom takes time.

Are you ready to play the long game?

I hope you are.

Today’s action step: Read back through this issue and figure out where you are. Find the relevant suggestions I laid out and choose just one to move forward with next week.

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