Sharpening your skills for seeking solo success

Finding a great mentor can be a big step on your way to solopreneur success.

By Henry Brown

The life of a small business owner or solopreneur is one where you always have to be ahead of the competition if you want to succeed. Choosing to go it alone is admirable, but the road to success can be fraught with uncertainty, a feeling that failure is just around the corner. But it is up to you to ensure that this failure never materializes.

Even if you have been running your business for a while already and believe you have cracked the code to reach further success, it does not mean your journey has concluded. If anything, it has only just begun. There is always more to learn from the world, from others, and from yourself.

Furthermore, you may excel at some parts of your business and feel that excitement whenever meeting new clients or starting new marketing campaigns; however, there may be other areas that you only consider good enough, yet dread the time any of these areas need your attention. Improving where you are weakest, then, is not something that should be ignored.

Striving for personal improvement and growth is essential to staying on top of the competition. It is vital to making sure your business does not stagnate and end up being left behind by innovations. There is nothing better than working on yourself, and if it promises more substantial success for you and your company, it would be foolish not to follow such a path.

Old skills

You probably entered your industry because it is something that you know well, something you are passionate about, and something that you believe you can do better than anyone else, even the big boys and girls in their multinationals.

But just because you think you know a lot doesn’t mean you know it all. Industries are changing and evolving every day, and because of this, no matter how much you think you know, you can always know more.

It is essential to not rest on your laurels and believe you are a finished product because nobody ever is. Considering this, whatever industry you might be in, you can explore ways to boost these skills, and become more knowledgeable in your field.

New skills

As much as you can rely on what you already know to improve on yourself, there is also the potential to learn something completely different to prove yourself as someone worth taking seriously.

Undertaking a journey towards learning new skills will make you better prepared in a world of business where everything ends up overlapping, anyway, as well as making you more desirable.

Looking into going back to school and completing (another) degree will open doors and opportunities you may not have considered before. Learning more about the benefits of having an Organizational Leadership degree, for example, may lead you toward developing further skills and expand your knowledge to other areas that you may have previously believed were not relevant. This will improve your understanding of other fields, as well as provide you with additional avenues to explore, should you ever feel the need to branch out.

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If you want to work towards inspiring the entrepreneurs of the future, then taking on a mentee will allow you to work towards such a goal. Taking applications can be a long and often endless process. You have an idea of the perfect mentee in your head, yet no one seems to match up to your requirements.

But doing so will allow you to learn as much from them as they can from you. It will teach you more substantial responsibility and improve your personal skills along the way. Furthermore, the pleasure of teaching someone who is as ambitious as you will help you correct any mistakes they may make, as you will have been there and done that.

On the other side of the coin, however, is the opportunity for you to become a mentee. Seeking out established entrepreneurs who have done great things in your industry will give you the education you need, and while you feel you may know it all, they will know even more.

Your mentor will be looking to guide you through the rigors of the business world, and they will only be looking to help. It may be that they are firm but fair, or maybe merely just firm. Some choose the build – break – build technique. Others opt for break – break – break, and constantly demand better no matter how successful you may be.

Taking this opportunity means you are determined to succeed, and they want to see that drive from you. Do not let them down, and you will find success will come easier than expected.

The unknown

The unknown can be a scary thing to explore. Jumping headlong into something that doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your sector can still provide you with skills that will prove beneficial in both your personal and professional life.

As much as working alone can grant you the freedom you may otherwise not experience in other careers, such isolation from the culture of business can lead to exhaustion and burnout, which can negatively affect your mental health.

Therefore, seeking ways to expand your skills through other vocations, such as clubs or societies, will give you much needed social aspect that you may be craving from days and weeks and months of your solo journey. It will help with team-building skills and allow you to understand how to cooperate with others, which can prove an excellent advantage should you find yourself moving onto more collaborative projects in the future.

Selecting something that you previously have zero experience in will grant further perspective, and allow you to understand your clients and other business owners better, which can only have positive effects your continuing success for your business.

Spread your influence

A lot of trouble that small business owners and solopreneurs encounter is the lack of notice they receive. Unlike larger offices with multiple employees where the load is shared between everyone, going it alone means that you are responsible for everything.

And this everything includes things such as marketing, finances, upkeep and more. Getting yourself out there to conventions and seminars with like-minded business owners will allow you to gain influence from others as well as make them aware that you are someone worth listening to.

But what many solopreneurs have to deal with is the feeling of insecurity when meeting other people. However, this is one of those things in life that you just have to do if you ever want to expand your brand and your influence. Engaging in networking can help you discover new and efficient ways to run your business. You might be going it alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advice from others or deliver advice to the same people, also.


Taking steps towards sharpening your skills, whether they be old or new, the unfamiliar or the comfortable, the craved or the necessary is essential to achieving the success you have always desired and deserved.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you start. Too many business owners believe that they have peaked, but all that ends up happening is they plateau, which can hurt any business, no matter how successful it may already be.

Searching for ways to improve yourself and your company, then, will be all about how you choose to do it. As long as you continue to innovate in whatever industry you have chosen, solo success will always be there for you to grab.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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