Seven Solo Pro Self Saboteurs

by Barbara Saunders

Being in business for yourself doesn’t have to be hard.

You zero in on what you’re best at, identify your ideal clients, and pick a proven business model and then work it. So why do so many struggle?

The most prevalent reason is the self saboteurs – little subconscious quirks that work against us. Being aware of them is the first step to stopping them. The next step is to stop the sabotage and replace that behavior with a new, more productive one. Here’s what to look out for:

    Too Accommodating. Some Solo Pros confuse good customer service with hand holding. It’s an unfortunate dichotomy that the clients that pay the least, tend to want the most hand holding – while the clients who invest well understand how valuable your time is and don’t take advantage of you. So your challenge is to start weeding out those clients that drain your resources and replacing them with more professional clients that know what you’re worth.

    Poor Record Keeping. Many times some Solo Pros get too busy with providing services that they don’t keep up with the record keeping. After all, the client doesn’t see behind he scenes so it doesn’t matter if the back end is clean. Wrong! Not keeping accurate records can put you out of business fast. Not keeping up with sending out your invoices can mean no money coming in. Not keeping your tax records up-to-date can cause expensive errors and hours extra – non-billable work.

    Not Remembering the Tax Man. It’s as to do. You have expenses now, why worry about taxes until the time comes. Then you get blindsided. And the IRS is gunning for Solo Pros. At least entering transactions into a database regularly will give you the basis for some decent reports.

    Being a "Flight Risk." Because we’re Solos – we are the face of our brand. If we take a hike and don’t show up or finish a job, it can do significant lasting harm to our overall business. Unlike when you work for a big business, you can always blame your oversight on someone else. When it’s just you, YOU are it. Just one time missing a deadline can cause a major reputation management problem.

    Not Getting The Full Story. Many times you’re in a rush or have too many things to do and you don’t listen close enough or ask enough questions. It can end up in missed appointments and fumbled projects. It just takes one to serious damage your reputation. Clients who have a bad experience are 10 times more likely to share the problem than they are to share the brilliant things you got right.

    Not Getting it in Writing. Contracts can be fiddly. But – especially for your more involved, high-end projects – they are essential to be sure you get all that is coming to you. They’re also great for managing client expectation. And if your client won’t pay, you’ve got useable ammunition if you go to small claims court.

    Getting Distracted. As Solo Pros, we do LOTS of things on any given day, but it can really cost us if let the distractions win. This is something that is 100% in your control and not managing it can cost you big time. This is where systems come in helpful. Even a few well-planned checklists can keep you from destroying your reputation.

These are some really easy ways Solo Pros can sabotage themselves. Can you think of a few more? Share them below in the comment section.

Author Info: Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Solo Pro Business Success Mentor and the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Founder of the Solo Pro Academy. She also hosts the Solo Pro Radio show. Learn how YOU can have a successful custom-fit business.

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