33 Top Solo Build It! Solopreneurs Share Their Key Factors for Online Success

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33 Top Solo Build It! Solopreneurs Share Their Key Factors for Online Success

When we asked 60+ marketers, bloggers, CEOs and business owners  about the biggest challenge that today’s solopreneurs face, the lack of a team was mentioned repeatedly.

Building an online business as a solopreneur can indeed be a lonely affair.  There’s no team to brainstorm ideas with. No colleagues to bounce ideas off. No coworkers to ask for advice. Not even someone to lend you a friendly ear when you feel overwhelmed.

The solution to this challenge? Find and join a Mastermind group or a community of like-minded solopreneurs.

Solo Build It! (SBI!) prides itself on having one of the friendliest, most helpful communities of solopreneurs on the Web. But does being part of this community really play such a big role in helping everyday people succeed online?

And what other factors are crucial for achieving online success? We were curious. We wanted to hear it straight from “the source.”

So we asked 200+ of our most successful members the following question:

What are the top 3 ways in which SBI! has contributed to your success?

Being part of the SBI! community ranked second among the key factors, expressed by  statements like…

“SBI! is like a reliable best friend.”

“Overall I feel like we are all family.”

“This kind of support from a company that actually cares about their customers and the community of fellow solopreneurs has been critical to my success.”

“Everyone in the community is passionate about a topic AND about building a business around it.”

Before we reveal which factor made it to the top of the list, and what other elements contributed most to building a profitable, long-term online business, let’s meet our 33 survey participants.



Sidebar: You’ll see terms like Brainstorm It!, BlockBuilder, Analyze It! and others mentioned in the answers. These are some of the tools that come with every SBI! subscription. Each tool is explained in depth here, but it’s the lessons that matter.

As a matter of fact, you can replace most of the tools with plugins if you use WordPress. SBI! for WP enables WordPress users to follow the exact same process, and have access to the same great community. You do exactly the same thing – the only difference is that we help you master the WordPress ecosystem, too.

Nathaniel Adie

Nathaniel Adie

www.skateboardhere.com

I love my SBI!.

  1. SBI! taught me what a keyword is and how they make search work on the internet.
  2. SBI! taught me how to build a website around my topic using the most used keywords related to my topic.
  3. SBI! taught me how to analyze the internet traffic to the keywords on my website and make adjustments based on that traffic.

Cath Andrews

Cath Andrews

www.raising-happy-chickens.com  

I needed to think about this carefully, because there are so many ways Solo Build It! has contributed to my success, it’s hard to choose just three. Here’s what I’ve boiled it down to.

1. “The whole package”

This is a bit of a cheat, really, because it incorporates so many things. But there’s no doubt that SBI!’s entire process, all of which is included in the cost, is what has made me able to create a successful site (two, actually!).

In 2006, a year before finding SBI!, I tried other platforms and paid a lot of money (as in over £1,000), only to find I had no idea what to do once I’d built a very pretty website. After that I was very cynical about any claims that I could build a successful site at all, let alone overnight.

There were two things I loved about SBI! when I stumbled across it: it told me success took time and effort, and it told me I’d be able to do it with no knowledge of website-building or coding whatsoever. Following the Action Guide and working hard were its two requirements, and both of those I could do.

And did. The entire process is supported by tools. The website templates used to be quite clunky, but it didn’t seem to matter to my site visitors – they still came. And now the templates have developed massively, so they look good and they’re mobile friendly. The blockbuilder way of creating pages is so simple to use yet my pages look amazing.

The help that I had in thinking through my niche using the decision-making tool was second to none. Who knew it would lead me to choose a niche about keeping backyard chickens! It wasn’t in my head when I began, but it was certainly the right decision. That alone is worth its weight in gold.

Brainstorm It!, the tool SBI! gives me to find keywords, is simply brill. Dozens of my pages are ranked in Google’s top 5, many are #1, and my traffic grows daily. The information I can access – dozens of articles about anything and everything to do with building a successful business – are such an amazing resource.

And then there’s the Action Guide…

The Action Guide is a step-by-step process that led me by the hand from no knowledge to a successful online business. Sometimes it frustrated me, and it took time to work through each of its steps – they’re so thorough. It’s the most amazing resource, and it’s what got me there.

Well, it and the forums got me there. So that’s my second choice…

2. The Forums

I can’t begin to tell you how much help the SBI! forums have been. I was wary of going into them because other forums I’d been in were awful – I felt I couldn’t ask questions because I was more or less laughed at for my lack of knowledge.

SBI!’s forums were, and are, different. Their philosophy is “help and be helped,” and it honestly does work that way. People were prepared to spend time helping me when I knew nothing. And now I can pay that back and help out the newbies – and sometimes the “oldies”, too! The amount of knowledge and experience in there is fantastic.

On a personal level, I have made some of my best friends in the forums, and at SBI! conferences. I’ve visited SBIers’ homes and they’ve been to see me in Italy. We talk business and we have fun. There’s no better combination than finding other people with the same mindset to share ideas over a coffee or a meal or the odd glass of Prosecco…

I have to admit, I miss SBI! conferences. They were a great place to meet other like-minded people. But I still go to local SBI! groups where I can – London and Germany – and enjoying the knowledge, expertise and company of other SBIers is a great way to spend a day.

3. Freedom

Success for me is not only to do with making money. It’s to do with more intangible things.

So freedom is my “bottom line” – it’s what all those practical things SBI! gives me has led to, and for me it’s the greatest gift anyone could give to me and to my family.

The freedom to move from the UK to a life in Italy that I thought I could only dream about. The freedom to travel when and where I want to. The freedom to be able to work anywhere. In my previous job I used to dream of being able to work at home and stay in my PJs all day if I wanted, rather than sit in a 2 hour traffic jam on my way to work and back.

Now I work from my home office if I choose to, but often from my sofa, by my pool, in our olive grove, at the beach, in caffès, hotels, different countries – wherever I feel like. I can go back to the UK and spend time with my family whenever I choose – amazingly, I can even help my young nephews with their technology homework!

Such is the power of what SBI! has taught me.

I’m going to cheat again here and add “confidence” to freedom. My previous unsuccessful attempts at building a website had seriously depleted my confidence. I had more or less given up and I was  sure I could never achieve anything online. SBI! – or I should say the people who make up SBI! – helped me regain that confidence and a sense of self-worth, just by making me believe I could do it, by showing me the way – and by being there to celebrate with me when I did.

For that, I will be forever grateful.

Perhaps the most amazing thing for me is that, 12 months ago, SBI! asked me to work for them as a content writer. I was both honoured and astonished. From knowing nothing, I not only built two successful online businesses, I became a member of a company that I have huge respect and admiration for, working with people from all over the world who are at the top of their game (and seriously lovely to work with). I still have to pinch myself sometimes.  

So there you have my three. To be honest, I find it hard to express fully my appreciation of everything that SBI! has given me. But put it this way: I have never been happier or felt more fulfilled in my life.

Marie Augustin

Marie Augustin

www.serendipity-astrolovers.com

1. Brainstorm It!

2. The forums

3. Super superior customer service.

Overall I feel like we are all family. So much so when I land on another SBI! site I leave a note calling them sister site or brother site.

Michael Bates

Michael Bates

www.dyslexia-reading-well.com

Here are the top 3 ways that SBI! has contributed to my success:

1. The 10 DAY Action Guide totally rocks. This helped me hugely. The step by step  process just can’t be beat, and helped grow my confidence that I could really build a site and a business. It’s just so user friendly!  A key point here is that doing things correctly, right from the start, makes a big difference.

Building pages around successful terms, for example, is just soooo important. Very simply SBI! helped me build a very, very strong foundation (SEO, site architecture, link-building suggestions, site name… on and on).

2. The community of SBIers found in the forums. I was always able to find good advice and support on anything from installing a picture slider to marketing my first e-book. Overcoming those problems built more confidence. The SBI! family really does stick together; this makes a BIG difference!

And this is because everyone in the community is passionate about a topic and about building a business around it. This is very different from something like WordPress or GoDaddy (worse) I think.

3. Keeping things simple. In some ways SBI! is less flashy and slick than other similar companies; offering fewer plugins for example, but at the same time this simplicity is a virtue, making things very functional and reliable.

And functional is really important for a webmaster. It’s nice to be slick but more important to be grounded in the fundamentals and to get that right.

Robert Broughton

Robert Broughton

www.quality-assurance-solutions.com

I am honored to be selected.

What are the top 3 ways in which SBI! has contributed to your success?

1. SBI! provides a process to follow that leads to success. Most entrepreneurs who do not use SBI! struggle with finding and following a system that gets results. SBI! is built for entrepreneurs who want to follow a proven system that drives results. This system is more than just building a website. It is a backbone on which to build a business.

2. SBI! allows for two methods of building web pages. First is the easy to use blockbuilder. Anyone can use it. For more complicated web pages, one can use any web editor and upload their own HTML pages. I use both methods to complete my site.

3. SBI!’s outstanding support drives my success in many ways. The extensive forums cover about everything you need to run a business website. Here, other solo entrepreneurs discuss tons of ideas and solutions. The SBI! Founder and CEO is very engaged in these forums, adding important insight into helping solo entrepreneurs run a successful website.

In addition, SBI! stays on top of changing market conditions. They investigate and offer solutions when these changes affect their customers. Examples of this include Google Panda and Penguin algorithm changes, enabling mobile websites, and most recently, one button upgrade to switch older sites from HTTP to secure HTTPS.

They also have a great staff that helps when technical issues arise. Finally, SBI! keeps a group of Pros that help entrepreneurs with website design, functionality, structure, marketing and selling products.

Jacki Cammidge

Jacki Cammidge

www.drought-smart-plants.com

Hmm, the top three ways SBI! has contributed to my success?  

I would have to say first, not having to learn HTML was a biggie. It was such a relief to find that I could build my site without learning coding. It was the main reason I went with SBI!  

I have not now, and never had, any desire to waste my valuable (and limited) time learning HTML.

I LOVE BB2! If it wasn’t for that, I would have closed down my site, folded up the tent and moved on.

If ever I need HTML, CSS or javascript help, I ask on the forum, where some very talented folks are happy to provide it. I love not having to leave our friendly forums to find someone helpful (because they’re generally not).

The third reason I’ve found success is because of all the great tools: Brainstorm It!, Site Designer and of course, MOM (MailOut Manager) and Form Build It!. Although MOM could still use a bit of  face lift, it’s usable and I’ve found ways around the quirks. I’ve tried MailChimp which is now integrated, but went back to MOM to keep it all inhouse.

Don Carter Jr

Don Carter Jr

www.Internet-of-the-Mind.com   

That’s an easy question…

1. SBI! gives a structure and evidence-based plan to follow.

2. SBI! provides all the necessary tools and information on how to use them effectively.

3. SBI! provides awesome support by vigilantly monitoring critical changes in the Internet, then providing new tools and know-how to make necessary adjustments as painless as possible.

Wayne Cascarano

Wayne Cascarano

www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com  

3 biggest reasons for success with SBI!:

1. A well documented Action Guide/plan

Follow the Action Guide in an orderly way from beginning to end to demystify the complete process required to build an online business.

2.  A helpful SBI! community forum

Visit the forums regularly to see what others are doing and what problems they are experiencing that could relate to your particular situation.

3. A first class support team

For unique problems that need immediate attention, use the support team for help.

Judith Christensen

Judith Christensen

www.clothingpatterns101.com

It’s difficult to put into words what SBI! has meant to  me and my business. Simply put, I wouldn’t have a business without SBI!.

I started my first site in 2007. I had no background whatsoever in online business or building a website. I can’t even remember how I ran across SBI!, but I am so grateful that I did.

I can’t say that I’m a real success story; I’m not making a full-time income from my online efforts. But I am making an average of about $850 per month – and, because I am still working demanding hours as a freelance seamstress, I only work on my online business about 10-15 hours a month.  $850 for a few hours of work isn’t too bad!

I truly believe that SBI! is the place to be if you’re new to building a website or an online business. Here’s what SBI! has done for me:

1. It’s “all-inclusive.”  SBI! has all of the tools you need to build a website and make your efforts produce income. Brainstorm It! for selecting keywords, the Site Designer, Image and Link libraries, newsletter platform, and so many more – all of these tools exist elsewhere, but if you don’t already have knowledge in site-building you wouldn’t know they exist, where to find them or how to use them.

SBI! supplies all the tools you need and shows you – by following the Action Guide – how (and when) to use them. Here’s just one example: submitting a sitemap to the search engines. They’ll show you how to do it and tell you when it’s time. I wouldn’t even know that was a “thing” without SBI!.

2. SBI! keeps tabs on what’s happening in the online world, and deals with the problems as they arise.  Google changed its algorithm again?  SBI! lets you know what that means to you and what (if anything) you need to do about it.  

They also update their programming to apply solutions to all SBI! sites (as in the recent “HTTPS conversion  tool” that allows all SBI! sites to comply with new demands for internet security).

I don’t have to spend time keeping up with all the tech stuff and dealing with constant changes; SBI! does it for me.

3. The community in the forums and online groups is invaluable. Sometimes I have a “stupid” question that I can’t find the answer to in the SBI! Action Guide (sometimes I just don’t even know how to phrase the question or where to direct it).

The online support of the community allows those of us who don’t “speak the language” to express our questions and concerns, and somebody will understand and help us out.  Maybe someone had a similar problem and tells their solution; sometimes a more tech-savvy person can explain things more clearly.

And sometimes, we just share jokes and greetings! It’s much more friendly and helpful than most tech-related online forums; you don’t have to be afraid to ask a question.

4. SBI! helps you build more than a website, it helps you build a business. My first website generated income with Adsense and affiliate links. I still make about $200 a month with that site, and I only work on it about 10 hours a year!!

But that $200 is much lower than the income I earned early on, and I expect it to continue to decline. So, following advice in the forums and online communities, I built another site, based on a topic about which I have years of experience and can produce my own products.  

The site itself has many pages of useful information, but I also create in-depth tutorials that I sell on the site. Teaching pattern design is my business; my site is simply a platform to introduce myself to the world and sell my tutorials.

My first site was not a business; it generates income, but it’s not a business. I now have a pattern design business, and my SBI! site supports that business.

SBI! is not “get rich quick”, but I don’t need to get rich at all. I just need to supplement my income by doing something I enjoy a few hours a month. And I know I’ve got that with SBI!.

I knew nothing about building a website when I started – and to be honest, I still know almost nothing. But I don’t have to know it all – I just know I can trust SBI! to take care of me and lead me in the right direction.

Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott

Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott

www.acupuncture-points.org

  1. Range of facilities all in one place.
  2. Forum, for help and advice.
  3. Encouragement, including the 10 DAY Action Guide.

Ashley Cotter-Cairns

Ashley Cotter-Cairns

www.sellmycomicbooks.com

  1. SBI! is easy to use.
  2. There are no distractions like plugins, updates, hosting.
  3. Documentation is solid and support for that documentation is excellent.
Frank Dalotto

Frank Dalotto

www.new-jersey-leisure-guide.com

“What are the top 3 ways in which SBI! has contributed to your success?”

SBI! is more than a host service provider. They offer a full range of services aimed at the solopreneur with little or no technical support staff to ensure that their site and web pages are optimized, such as page analysis, a broken link checker, 301 redirects, libraries (links, images, 301’s, reusable blocks), and more.

Outstanding Customer Service/Support. They are quick to respond in a courteous, highly communicative manner, and with a sense of urgency. They are technically competent, and if the fix is beyond their level of proficiency,  they are quick to refer it to a software developer, and very importantly stay on top of it with continuous follow up and feedback on the status.

SBI! offers an outstanding, none better,  “Blockbuilder” web-builder package. It’s easy to use for the semi-technical web builder, which allows the solopreneur to focus on all the other non-technical, web publishing functions.

There are many more benefits and support services that SBI! offers that I failed to mention. Bottom line, I would not have enjoyed the success I have had with web publishing over the past ten years, were it not for SBI!.

I have tried other services, but none of them comes close to SBI!. SBI! is unique and stands out in a class by itself. No doubt this is due to Ken Evoy and his leadership skills, and in hiring an outstanding team of professionals.

Marianne Edwards

Marianne Edwards

www.frugal-rv-travel.com

  1. SBI! provided the means and ways to an end.

    I had a product idea (a comprehensive travel guide document geared to a niche market – frugal RVers). I wanted a website to “see if it would sell” as an ebook. In the age when downloadable documents were selling from $0.99 to $9.99, I priced it at US$17.00; I had put a lot of work into it and knew the value was there.

    This was 11 years ago, when I was a complete novice to web sites and there was no guarantee it would sell at all. I would never have followed through with it if I’d had to pay someone else to create a website for me. SBI! advice was to build the site, give away a ton of other info, and then, offer my product for sale. I wrote many web pages, giving away a ton of “other” useful information that was not part of the guide.

    2. SBI!’s advice to write about what I know from my unique perspective helped me become confident.

    I would have never thought I could be considered an expert in anything but, gradually, as people told me I was, I began to recognize that I must be. I did not have to pretend to know everything; keeping it totally honest felt great.

    When I didn’t know something, I found and linked to other trusted resources. This helped me build relationships, trust, and referrals by those industry experts. The first few years, it was just a hobby – but one  that paid for itself. Even in the first year, I had made enough sales and Google Adsense revenue to pay for my SBI! renewal. Plus, I was having fun. So it was a hobby that paid for itself. Why not just have fun and see where it grows?

    3. All SBI! pages I created are “evergreen.”

    Sales from my (now 6) guides grew steadily and reliably. This, despite the fact that, after the first two or three years, I put very little effort into adding new site content. I review pages about once a year or when prompted by a reader, to be sure the information is still relevant.

    I end up doing some but very little tweaking or updating. The Content 2.0 pages (another part of SBI! that allows site visitors to add content to my site) and notifications about broken links make it easy to keep my site active and the search engines happy with minimal effort.   

    4. I was able to build a successful business with help and guidelines but I love that there are no hard and fast rules.

    No boss was there telling me what I “must” do or how I could be even more successful if only I’d devote more time to …blah, blah, blah. I’m not a numbers person. I have very little interest in projections and statistics or reading and comparing graphs. If I check the traffic stats on my site once a year, it’s likely because someone asks me for them, not because I’m curious or want to track how my business is doing.

    The money arriving in my account every month is all the stats I need. And it keeps growing, so that’s enough for me. I know that if I “tried harder” I could be more successful, but I’m quite content.

    After all, this started as just a hobby – one that somehow replaced my day job within a couple of years. I’m 65 now and supposed to be retired!

    5. Access to SBI! Professionals – ones who specialize in SBI! websites.

    For the big changes, I was able to find and hire great help at reasonable rates. Debs Seeber (who’s in charge of the SBI! Professionals) helped me set up “Infin it!” for my new WordPress blog in 2016.

    In 2014, AJ (another SBI! Pro) did the coding to make my site mobile-friendly. Both Debs and AJ were great – they gave amazing personal service going over and above what I’d contracted with them. It was great to not have to search outside of SBI! itself to find experts who knew exactly how I had built my site and what needed to be done.

    6. My successful SBI! site became a springboard for my next venture.

    Not really a reply to your question, but thought I’d share this final testament – I have a second website, Boondockers Welcome. For RVers, it is the Driveway Surfing equivalent to Couch Surfing. That project, in partnership with my daughter, who is the (genius) CTO, is my real focus now. (I’m not really very retired, after all.)

    It’s also a passion project for the two of us. If not for my success with frugal-rv-travel.com, I think neither of us would have believed in this idea enough to dedicate as much time and effort to it as we have. The site owes a lot of its success to being first-to-market but frugal-rv-travel played a big role as well. We had the unique advantage of seeding our membership with over 200 hosts who were already my loyal fans.

    I’m sure my proven success with frugal-rv-travel also paved the way for my daughter trusting my instincts about this venture. She still usually listens to my suggestions – imagine that!

    And finally, my reliable, steady ebook income lets me be content to let Boondockers Welcome grow at its own slow-and-steady pace. I know from experience that it pays off.  

    So thanks, Ken and the SBI! Team, for almost eleven years. My daughter used to suggest I could accomplish the same with a cheaper GoDaddy site but she gave up on trying to convince me. Why would I switch when it has worked so well for me? I’m a loyal SBI! fan.

Vincent Finnan

Vincent Finnan

www.italian-renaissance-art.com

The top three ways that SBI! has contributed to my success are…

  1. First and foremost providing the detailed information that allowed me to build a website in the first place – I had absolutely no idea about the process of web-building, SBI! solved my problem. The Action Guide was – and still is – invaluable as a learning tool.
  2. Next would have to be the correct way of engaging with an audience on the Net. This allowed me to share my passion for art with people all over the world, something that I did not imagine that I could ever achieve.
  3. A very important factor for me is the continued support provided by SBI! in a fast moving and fluid internet environment – an example would be the HTTPS conversion process, which was very smooth indeed. As long as SBI! remains at the forefront of innovation and continues to take the hard work out of managing a website it will have my full support.

Susan Gast

Susan Gast

www.easy-food-dehydrating.com  

The top three ways SBI! made my site successful, in no particular order:

  1. SBI!’s continual upgrading of resources – (without having to pay the upgrade price!).
  2. The sheer volume of must-know info, shared within the 10-DAY Action Guide.
  3. Providing pretty much an all-in-one service (site hosting, email, newsletter) at an affordable price. Sure, I’ve added on upgraded email services (ConvertKit) for a more modern look.
  4. OK, another one: the team’s efforts at keeping us abreast of stuff we need to do to be current (https for one). Saves us solopreneurs a ton of time.

    Another one: your SBIX newsletter … I love to read Ken’s SBIX in my inbox!

    Another one: your Tech Support are second to none. Always on the ball, courteous, and are fun to work with! Love ’em!

    Overall, SBI! rocks. I’ve tried GoDaddy, just to save money due to the lure of being able to have more than one site in one account for one fixed price. Truth is, I wasted more time and money doing that! It’s the shiny object syndrome at work!

Mark Gittelman

Mark Gittelman

www.youfixcars.com

I sold Youfixcars.com on 1/10/2017 to a media company. That company transferred it to their own servers and converted it to a WordPress site. With that said, I appreciated how SBI! got us through major transitions on the internet. The web was a different place when I started that site in 2007.

SBI! guided us through Panda and Penguin and provided ongoing studies and recovery tips. SBI! never stopped working at providing solid resources that helped us adapt to a changing internet.

On the development side we got BB2 and help to make our sites mobile friendly when the Internet sprung that one on us. You won’t find this kind of caring at any web hosting company.

Bridget Gore

Bridget Gore

www.workplace-communication.com

  1. Excellent guide on how to do everything for your website.
  2. Brainstorm It! – this is absolutely critical.
  3. SBI! being able to analyse and figure out what has impacted sites when there were algorithm changes.
  4. The excellent advice – You can completely block out all other noise and advice on the net and know that SBI! is the only source of information you need.

Anton Hout

Anton Hout

www.Australian-Shepherd-Lovers.com

I am thrilled that my site, Australian-Shepherd-Lovers.com, has been chosen for the Results page! I remember combing through those listings before I even joined SBI!, visiting the sites, wondering if I could ever have a site successful enough to be added. I hope it helps inspire future SBIers to start their journey to creating their own successful online business!

The top 3 ways in which SBI! has contributed to my success could be summed up as guidance, inspiration, and support…

1. SBI! has contributed to my success by providing a comprehensive online business-building education. There are so many disparate things that need to be taken into account before, during, and after setting up an online business that most people who are new to this type of venture would likely miss entire pieces of the puzzle that are critical to their success.

With SBI! I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel or spend weeks, months, or years sifting through contradictory and incomplete information on the web. SBI! provided me the roadmap: what to do, when to do it, and why.

2. SBI! has contributed to my success by allowing me to believe that success was possible in the first place. Before joining SBI! I was intrigued by the case studies and examples of all the successful online business owners they featured on their site.

Could it be true? I wasn’t sure at the beginning, but as I learned about other people, in the forums, I could see that many of them were further along the path than I was and that they were succeeding.

I knew then if I followed the guidance provided by SBI!, learned from those who had created successful online businesses before me – and put in the work – that I really could do it. And I have!

3. SBI! has contributed to my success by being there when I needed them. It is reassuring to know that whatever issue I face or question I have there is a team behind me.

If I have a technical problem, the support team at SBI! is highly responsive. If I have a question about anything, I know I can go to the forums and get answers. If I want one-to-one coaching or decide to delegate a task, I can count on the SiteSell Pros to provide the services I need to help me take my online business to the next level.

This kind of support from a company that actually cares about their customers and the community of fellow solopreneurs has been critical to my success.

Masahiro Imafuji

Masahiro Imafuji

www.kendo-guide.com

1. First off, the guidance. Action Guide and videos are great. I made websites on my own but didn’t know what to do or how to do it. But SBI! tells you what to do! So you can save tremendous time.

2. Coaches. I talked to some coaches. As a solopreneur, we need someone to talk to.

And that someone needs to be a pro or specialist. SBI! has them. That is a huge plus.

3. Newsletter with success stories. Simply encouragement. Gives us ideas to direct our business.

4. All the tools to support us. I don’t know what is going on or what is new in the internet world. But SBI! is on it! It gives us the tools to catch up with changes in the internet world. We just have to follow the guidance and not mess it up!

Maria Lewander

Maria Lewander

www.onlinepianocoach.com

3 ways SBI! has helped me become successful, in order of importance:

  1. Action Guide – the videos with the very nice and comforting voice, and the checklists for each “day.” (I get easily sidetracked…)
  2. The forums – invaluable.
  3. Brainstorm It! – it’s a wow. Especially now with the new keyword value tasks.

Debbie Madson

Debbie Madson

www.kids-cooking-activities.com

1. A comprehensive service that takes care of the behind-the-scenes details. This allows me to concentrate on building a site and creating content, which is what I love about being a web publisher.

An example is the recent https conversion. SBI! made it simple enough that all I had to do was hit a button and follow a step-by-step guide. I didn’t have to research and find information on what to do to change my site over.

2. Support. Whenever I’ve had an issue or questions, which wasn’t often, I’ve always been happy with emailing Support and getting the help that I needed quickly.

Having a forum that answers questions easily and articles on Tips and Techniques makes it easy for me to receive help when working online.

3. Love the Action Guide. The day by day Action Guide was well laid out for me to learn and understand what a natural way to build a site was like. When I started working on building my first site over 10 years ago, this was invaluable at helping me get started.

I now upload my own HTML and don’t use BlockBuilder, but that is how I learned and was able to make a progression of steps to become a better web publisher. I still love writing content and having confidence in my sites using SBI! many years later.

I can’t thank you enough for making it possible to stay home and make a living for my family.

Doug Mann

Doug Mann

www.fossils-facts-and-finds.com

Narrowing it to 3 is a challenge…

1. The SBI! Action Guide was a huge help in so many ways. From understanding how to structure a website to perspective on keeping it real to developing a long-term approach – i.e., tortoise power – to advice on best practices, and how to stay focused on things that matter, the Action Guide is a springboard to a successful website.

2. The Analyze It! tool has helped me understand how to create a web page that search engines “like.”

3. Having tools like Brainstorm It! and the Master Keyword List is an incredible advantage.

4. The SBI! Forums and the community of SBI! members led by Debs answered so many questions in the beginning; and after more than 10 years I still get helpful advice.

Thanks for overdelivering in too many ways to speak of!

Marc Mitnick

Marc Mitnick

www.foot-pain-explained.com

1. One stop shopping in that not only did you show me the proper way to build a site in terms of organization, but also the methods available to me to monetize it.  

2. The vast amount of resources available to me through SBI!. It seems a week does not pass that I don’t get new ideas from SBI! on how to grow my audience. An example would be your primers on the merits of Pinterest, the pro and the cons, along with best practices in setting up the account and driving traffic to my site.

I have also had the occasion to read about an idea for my site, elsewhere, and wouldn’t you know it, SBI! has already covered the topic, making it simple to implement the idea on my site.

3. World class support. It amazes me that for the eleven years I have been associated with SBI!, I have never had a problem that Support was unable to figure out, always with a cheerful attitude.

Catherine Pratt

Catherine Pratt

www.life-with-confidence.com   

One of the main reasons I love SBI! so much is that you go way above and beyond to solve any potential issues I might encounter with my site and you always keep me informed about what I need to do to keep my site compliant with the latest “must do’s.”

For example, I wouldn’t have known about converting my site to https if you hadn’t told me. I would have had no clue how to convert my site to https if you hadn’t made it so easy that all I had to do was press one button.

I have a friend who’s not with SBI!. I told her about the https issue and she asked me, “What do I do?” I had no answer for her except maybe, “Switch to SBI!. They take care of you.”

It may not sound like a big thing but it’s huge. There’s been so many times you’ve come up with super easy solutions for me with things that could have potentially completely derailed my site. You got me through all the Google animals (Penguin, Panda, etc.) by doing massive amounts of research and boiling it all down to what I needed to do. Who else would be willing to do something like that for their clients? Very, very few.

SBI! always keeps me up to date on information I need to know about the world of web-building. That’s huge. I don’t have a lot of time to work on my site anyway. I definitely don’t have time to keep researching all the latest things I need to do, like when the requirement became that you needed to notify your visitors that you have cookies on your site.

It’s huge knowing that I have a trusted source to provide me with the information I need and also provides a simple solution for me so I can get back to concentrating on my site.

I also love that you provide everything I need in one spot. I tried using a WordPress site for awhile and I hated having to find a plugin for every single thing I wanted to do. I also had to research all those plugins to make sure they were legit and weren’t scamming me (some were discovered to be taking a cut of people’s Amazon earnings, for example).

Plus, what a huge security risk that is having all those hundreds of different third-party companies installing code on your site. Code that you have absolutely no idea what it’s doing in the background. Security nightmare.

It also got to be expensive adding on all those plugins. You think your site will be cheaper going the WordPress route but by the time you add in all those plugins just to do the basics, it gets to be expensive. You also have to keep updating all those plugins. I don’t need to do any of that with SBI! because everything I need is already part of it.

The support staff is amazing too. Whatever issue I run into, the support staff is so quick to help and they also always go above and beyond to help me out. Always incredibly nice people too. In all the years I’ve had my SBI! site, I’ve never run into a bad one. They’re all amazing. It makes a difference.

I also love that you have a team of SBI! Professionals who I can use for anything additional I need like a new site design. It’s great knowing there’s a team of people who can help me out and know exactly how to implement that solution on my SBI! site.

The one other factor is that building a web site can be a lonely business. I like getting my SBI! newsletter which provides me with information but also highlights what other SBI! users are doing and what they’ve done to be successful. It makes me feel more like I’m part of a community.

I love the amount of solid information you provide to me with the Action Guide. I need to go back and reread the Action Guide actually. I have to embarrassingly admit that last year I was frustrated with my site, and I got sucked into buying an insanely (and I mean insanely) expensive blogging course which promised to teach me how to run a successful site.

I only did a few of the lessons and realized it was crap compared to what I’d learned in the Action Guide and I’d been given the Action Guide with my SBI! subscription. It wasn’t something I had to pay for in addition.

Sadly, I couldn’t get a refund on my money from the course but it did teach me that I haven’t been appreciating enough the information that SBI! freely gives me. Education is so powerful. I do find the Action Guide overwhelming to go through but I should read it again.

Anyway, I love my SBI! site. You just make it so easy for me. That’s what a good partnership is like. You concentrate on all the technical stuff so I can focus on the content.

I so very much appreciate you! Thank You for all you do for me!!!!

Darren Priest

Darren Priest

www.best-auto-detailing-tips.com  

I certainly have figured out a few tricks along the way to get my website(s) to perform for me financially (I realize only my one website makes it on your radar, but my other website generates a great income for me – just not passively).

So with that said, let me see about answering the question:

The 3 top ways (plus a bonus factor):

1. Reducing the learning down in a way in which an absolute beginner can learn how to become relevant to all types of readers. I literally could only send emails before I found SBI!. I didn’t even see the relevance of an email, never mind the endless skills I now have with coding HTML/CSS, SEO, etc., etc., etc.

2. The ability to consume the learning material in a manner that can work for anyone (meaning the training can be consumed via watching, reading and listening).

3. The tools we have access to so we can develop strategies and make decisions based on relevant facts, data and numbers.

4. The forums (this is a bonus and one that I do not take full advantage of). The people who are so graciously willing to help, and the resource this provides us as users/members of SBI!.

I feel a strong sense of guilt as I have been very selfish in not giving more to help with the forums, etc. I have been juggling far too many balls in the air for a very long time and have to seriously choose my battles wisely. If we all operated like I have, the forums would not be 1/1000 of what they are, and to this I feel great remorse.

Alex Ragner

Alex Ragner

www.brainyweightloss.com

To narrow it down to 3 items…

  1. The foundational C T P M philosophy and proven step-by-step process in the Action Guide.
  2. All the necessary and relevant tools in one place.
  3. The up-to-date guidance throughout the TNT & Monetization HQs.

Tracy Scorzafava

Tracy Scorzafava

www.womansdivorce.com

What are the top 3 ways in which SBI! has contributed to my success?

1. SBI! gave me direction when I first started out online. I knew I wanted to build a website, but I didn’t have a clue what I should focus on. The Action Guide acted as a blueprint to help me map out the foundation for my site, giving me insight into what people were searching for.

Without the guide and the keyword research tools, I would have been totally lost and probably wouldn’t have an online business today.

2. SBI! lets me focus on creating content, making connections with my visitors, and doing the other work that supports and grows my business.

Without SBI!, I would be forced to focus on the small stuff instead of the big picture (i.e., spend countless hours trying to figure out coding, installing scripts, worrying about templates or outsourcing to have all this done for me).

3. SBI! is like a reliable best friend. I don’t have to worry about my site going down or having unexpected fees for services I may or may not need. One price covers it all and it’s been the same price for the last 15 years I’ve been with SBI!.

I know that I can reach out in the forums if I have a question or contact the SBI! Pros if I need help. SBI! is the one thing I know I can depend on.

Derek Teo

Derek Teo

www.singapore-vacation-attractions.com

Here are the three main ways in which SBI! has contributed to my success:

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65 Experts Share Why Solopreneurship Is a Grand Slam, And How to Avoid Striking Out

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64 Experts Share Why Solopreneurship Is a Grand Slam, And How to Avoid Striking Out

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve no doubt run into the inevitable wall of self-doubt. That “Green Monster” looming in left field that taunts you with questions like…

Why are you doing this?

Just how are you going to figure this out?

The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. Like a center fielder rushing over to back you up, you can learn from and rely on the dozens of experts who have contributed here.

We’ve polled over 60 solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, CEOs, bloggers, marketers and strategists. They’ve all offered their take on two key questions – one to remind and motivate you, the other to guide and mentor you:

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?
  2. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

You’ll come out of this article feeling reinvigorated and inspired, and with a few specific tips and action items!

If you’re wondering whether now is the right time to start a new online business of your own, these answers will serve to reassure you that this is a good time – a great time! And they’ll give you sound advice on how to avoid or overcome the most common obstacles.

Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;

Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;

Look at me, I can be centerfield.

– John Fogerty, “Centerfield”


The State of Solopreneurship Responses

Diana Adams

Diana Adams

Founder, Adams Consulting Group, Inc.

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

You get to make all the decisions! And you are responsible for your own success as a result of those decisions. About a decade ago, my entrepreneurial mentor told me, “We are all where we deserve to be by the choices that we make.” That statement might sting, but it’s so good at the same time.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

This is a tough question. I’ve been a solopreneur for many years. I struggled with loneliness quite a bit in the first few years. I also had a tough time overcoming that overwhelming feeling whenever I’d think about all that needed to get done.

But, there’s one challenge that’s bigger than both of those.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is learning how to choose the right client. It takes a certain confidence, experience and savvy to say no to people who don’t fit.

Whether they aren’t a fit because they aren’t in the right niche, or maybe they don’t have enough of a budget set aside for the project, or maybe they are energy vampires – there are times when it just doesn’t feel right.

Once I learned how to get crystal clear about who my ideal client is, and once I started saying no to those who didn’t fit – the easier, better, more fun and more profitable my business became.

Follow @adamsconsulting

John Paul Aguiar

John Paul Aguiar

Owner, Money Dummy Blog

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

For me as a solopreneur, the biggest benefit to me is time, free time to do things throughout the day that I want to do.

If I want to take a few hours off or a full day off, I can do that. The reason I started as an entrepreneur so many years ago was to have freedom to do things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them.

The income is nice, but having money but no time to enjoy it didn’t make sense to me, so my goal was always to set up my business in a way that I could walk away at times and everything would continue just fine.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Again for me, the biggest challenge was having free time. Knowing I can walk away and take time off whenever I wanted sounds great, but the reality is, you have to have the right mindset to control all that freedom and not take advantage of that freedom.

To overcome this I would reward myself, I created mini goals and if I reached them, I would “allow” myself some free time.

For example: I’d say “if I get these 5 tasks done by Thursday, I’ll take Friday off”

That way I could enjoy that free time even more because I felt accomplished and didn’t feel guilty that I wasn’t doing work.

Follow @JohnAguiar

Kate Ahl

Kate Ahl

CEO, Simple Pin Media

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The freedom to write their own schedule.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Their business controlling them instead of them controlling their business. Setting goals and perimeters around what I will and will not do.

Follow @simplepinmedia

Angela Allan

Angela Allan

Founder, Mads Buzz

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Being able to work remotely, anywhere in the world, for a range of clients the world over.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge is regular income/clients who understand your worth/appreciate your skills. Currently, I am in the process of understanding and targeting more ideal clients.

The other challenge is being alone working a lot of the time, which is great sometimes, but when you need a sounding board or brainstorming for creative ideas, your dog isn’t always a good substitute for humans. Slack, Google hangouts and Facebook groups really help in that regard, as well as a good co-working space like T-rex in downtown St. Louis.

Follow @MissSoot

Mike Allton

Mike Allton

CMO, SiteSell

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

I will echo what many have said here, that Freedom is the biggest benefit of being a solopreneur.

But Freedom doesn’t always look the same, or mean the same thing to you as it does to me.

Freedom might refer to being able to work remotely and, therefore, from virtually anywhere.

Freedom might refer to being able to decide for yourself what you’re going to do on any given day. What you’re going to work on. And when!

Or Freedom might refer to having more control over the business, since it’s your business. You get decide what direction your business goes in, what clients you take on, and even when it’s time to do something else.

And for some of us, it’s all of those combined, and more.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The single biggest challenge that’s unique to solopreneurs is lack of resources.

While most businesses would say they have fewer resources than they want or need, solopreneurs, by definition, are even more limited.

It’s just you, so there’s no one else who can pitch in if you’re crunched for time. No one else who can lend a hand if you’re unsure how to do something.

And no one else to help you keep up with everything that’s going on and changing in the world of online business.

The two solutions that I’ve encountered for this issue is to join a Mastermind and to join the Solo Build It! Community.

With a Mastermind, you’ll have a set of peers who are going through roughly the same life & business challenges that you are, giving you an opportunity to share and learn from each other in real-time.

With the Solo Build It! Community, solopreneurs are granted several benefits. They get to rely on the resources of SiteSell to research, prioritize, and distill the latest news and changes in the online business world. And they get to engage with thousands of other solopreneurs all going on the same journey.

Using these or similar methods, solopreneurs can find the support they need and not be quite so ‘solo’ after all.

Follow @Mike_Allton

David Amerland

David Amerland

Author & Speaker, DavidAmerland.com

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Anything is possible. Quite literally, for the first time in history we can see that Passion, Perseverance and Purpose, when aligned, can move mountains. The traditional barriers that used to keep things locked into silos are down. If you now have a great idea, just go for it. Uber, AirBnB and Mendix are classic examples of what can be achieved.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

There is no longer linear progression in anything. The market is everywhere and virtually everyone. This makes it difficult to focus and find the initial kernel of people a brand or a business needs. More than that it also makes it difficult to see the opportunities presented and threats posed until it is too late.

The only way out of this is for solopreneurs to operate like the audience they target and the competitors they guard against: be everywhere and do everything. Work through your ideas and processes systematically but do it organically. Be ruthless, axe what doesn’t work and button down on what does. When time is the one perishable commodity you have, you need to use it wisely. Be selective with your efforts.

Follow @DavidAmerland

Jessica Ann

Jessica Ann

Owner, Jessica Ann Media

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

In one word: FREEDOM. I have the freedom to be myself. I only work

with clients I absolutely love and admire, and I can work from

anywhere in the world. I don’t have to fight through red tape, and I

rely on my gut to make decisions.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

“The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Consistency with my clients

isn’t a challenge – but it’s sometimes a challenge for my business. I

overcome this hurdle by publishing a podcast once a month. Yes, I know that weekly is the ultimate goal. But I can stay in my lane, and stay focused with high-quality, long-form content that’s delivered less

frequently. That’s a big trend in content marketing now, anyway – I

can see why!

Follow @itsjessicann

Jonathan Aufray

Jonathan Aufray

CEO, Growth Hackers

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Freedom. In my opinion, the biggest benefit of solopreneurs is freedom. Why? Because they can travel, work from anywhere (Just need a laptop and Wifi) without having the hassle of going to work, having meetings or creating reports for team members or associates.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge for solopreneurs is finding the motivation to keep going, especially when things get hard. When you are alone, it’s very easy to be demotivated or to procrastinate. Having a routine and sticking to it is a great way to overcome this challenge. For instance, you can dedicate 1 hour when you wake up to social media, the following hour to emails, etc.

Follow @GrowUrStartup

Kelly Baader

Kelly Baader

Founder, Godly MBA Academy

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The freedom to create a profitable business that truly resonates with their tribe.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

While the bar of becoming a “solo entrepreneur” is relatively low, however as we grown…just like the E Myth book mentioned about the roles of “The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician” which entrepreneurs have to juggle with. As a former corporate executive, I am blessed to have the skillset and experience to plan+ lead + delegate, but I have seen many of my clients and others are struggling in these areas.

Follow @kellybaader

Alois Belaska

Alois Belaska

CEO & Founder, Friends+Me

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Forgive me the expression, I can f*ck up my own way, nobody tells me what to do and possibilities limited only by my own imagination.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Fear of failure and I’ve not overcome this challenge yet, and I am not sure I want to because it helps me to push more than other and gives me the edge.

Follow @AloisBelaska

Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph

Blogger, Blogging From Paradise

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Solopreneurs today enjoy freedom. With the proliferation of online tools, virtual assistants and all manner of help, you can build a thriving solopreneur venture which helps you design a life of freedom more than ever. Resources await at your disposal. Tap into this rich library of apps and even more accommodating, helpful and generous collection of virtual assistants to grow your business into a successful endeavor.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge that solopreneurs face in today’s landscape is learning how to delegate the lower energy tasks so that you can enjoy a life of freedom. While circling the globe, I typically put in no more than 10 hours daily, blogging-wise. This seems like a Herculean task to solopreneurs who regularly work 12-18 hour days. I learned a long time ago that delegating the dregs (stuff I wished not to do) to make room for stuff I loved doing, blogging-wise, was the easiest way to build a profitable blogging business while engineering a life of freedom.

Being the shot caller means making high energy, business-building choices and letting go the lower-energy, business-sapping choices that eat into your freedom. Learn how to hand off tasks to more skilled parties. Use free and premium tools to automate certain tasks, freeing up your time and energy. Trash certain business duties you have outgrown.

Make freedom your #1 goal to enjoy the benefits of being a successful solopreneur without running yourself and your business into the ground in the process.

Follow @RyanBiddulph

Rich Brooks

Rich Brooks

Founder, Agents of Change

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The low cost of starting a business. From web design (Wix, WordPress), to server space (Amazon, GoDaddy), from education (YouTube tutorial videos, niche-specific podcasts) to finding help (virtual assistants, Fiverr), the barriers to starting your own business are lower than ever.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Getting lost in the global marketplace. Because the barriers to entry are so low, your competition comes from all over the globe, not just around the corner. To overcome that, think local. And if local doesn’t cut it, think niche. Now think of a narrower niche. Narrower… still narrower… got it! It’s easier to fill a beaker than a bathtub, so find and focus on your beaker and fill it.

Follow @therichbrooks

Antonio Calero

Antonio Calero

Head of Marketing Services, AdEspresso

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Work flexibility, not just in terms of working hours but also with clients. As a solopreneur, you can work on the time of the day where you perform best (in my case, evenings and nights), which allows you to reduce working hours while maximising results. You can also decide which clients to work with based on your own experience and ‘gut feeling’, which reduces stress considerably.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Learning and outsourcing.

When working on your own, you need to keep updated constantly about what’s new in your industry, what’s trending, etc… which consumes a considerable amount of time that could otherwise be spent in other tasks. Working in a company this learning process is usually spread across different staff and departments.

Which leads to another issue: delegating tasks and outsourcing. In order to maintain a balance between productive and nonproductive tasks (e.g., learning, accounting…) it is important to delegate all those tasks that are not your core business to third parties. However, finding a good service provider is often a challenge, plus this adds costs to your business.

When I was a solopreneur, I created some processes for both of these issues. When it comes to learning, I tried to read blogs only from a selected number of websites (even if I’d love to read many more). I also learned how to identify highly skilled professionals in freelance websites such as UpWork.

Follow @acalerog

Karla Campos

Karla Campos

Founder, Entrepreneur Moms Club

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The ability to make your own schedule and work from anywhere. It’s amazing what technology allows us to do. I remember working in offices before smart phones and everything took super long. Now we are connected to people worldwide and can make currency transactions with a quick push of a button.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

I have been talking to hundreds of business owners and they always mention life and work balance as a challenge. I agree: life and work balance can be a challenge as a solopreneur. I’m not sure if the word overcome is the right word, I think adjust is better. Life is always changing, especially with kids. I overcome by adjusting. Lately I’ve been really focusing on my health and fitness. It’s funny because I’ll be at my kids’ football practice walking the field and finishing emails at the same time. Not sure if doing the 3 things at the same time is balance. I might have to remove the emailing and enjoy the walk.

Follow @SocialMediaSass

Erin Cell

Erin Cell

CEO & Founder, Socially Powered

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

FREEDOM! One of the biggest reasons I became a solopreneur is because I was tired of being told what I couldn’t do & being on someone else’s schedule. I wanted to take control of my life, work the hours I wanted to, travel when I wanted, take a long lunch or whatever the case may be. I think many solopreneurs feel the same way. We are able to do what we want – when we want! I love knowing if I want to go on a vacation I can and the only thing I have to worry about is whether or not I have someone to watch my dog.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge I see most solopreneurs facing is work/life balance. As much as I say freedom is a benefit, it is also a double edged sword. You can work when you want, where you want and it is easy to find ourselves working 15+ hour days on a regular basis. This is especially challenging in the beginning stages of building your business. There are so many things to do and you have so many ideas floating around it is easy to work non-stop.

The best way I have found to overcome this challenge is to be aware when you are starting to burn-out. Use your calendar to keep you on-track and focused with what you must complete in order to continue moving forward. Probably the most important lesson I have learned is to hire early & often. Get help on the things that aren’t your specialty. I was trying to do it all & failing to do a lot of things the way I should have in the beginning. I know, it’s hard to imagine paying someone to do something you can do (especially when you may not have a lot of money coming in to start), but in the long-run it will be worth it. It will most likely take you at least twice as long as it should & may not even be done correctly.

Follow @sociallypowered

Matt Cherry

Matt Cherry

CEO & Founder, Modern Social Magazine

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The ability to dream, create, work hard and see your ideas come to fruition. Everyone’s idea of success is different. Therefore when you have freedom to implement your own ideas, design processes and realize successes (or failures) you still have the satisfaction of knowing you tried, gave it your all and did not sit on the sidelines and watch the game. You practiced, you played and regardless of the outcome, you win!

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Balance. Not just work/life balance, everyone faces that challenge. But balance in allocating the appropriate amount of time to all facets of running your business. R&D, marketing, sales, social media, technology, customer service, design, bookkeeping, operations, fulfillment and so much more.

You’ll often find yourself spending a disproportionate amount of time on the things you like to do and not enough on the tasks that may be more challenging for you. Cold calls, accounting and educating yourself on the latest social media and marketing techniques can often get lost when you find yourself buried in the day-to-day operations that you are more comfortable tackling.

To overcome this paralyzing effect you have to change it up! You have to become more comfortable with time blocking your daily tasks on paper and sticking to the schedule. You have to start your day right, get up early and get some physical activity or spiritual positivity (Be Thankful!). Then, make a list!

If you only have a to-do list of 3 key goals daily you can conquer your list everyday and feel accomplished, happy and satisfied that you did your best for you today! And that’s all you can ask for. Go get’ em!

Follow @ModSocMag

Ian Cleary

Ian Cleary

Founder, RazorSocial

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

It’s not expensive to set up your business anymore. You can build a website for less than $100 (using a template), buy a relatively low cost PC and use a wireless connection and you can start getting business from all over the world.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The challenge is that because it’s so easy to set up a business it’s a very competitive world out there. The solopreneur needs to think like a company even if they are one a person company. A company builds a brand and that’s what a solo entrepreneur needs to be build. A well respected brand will get more business and can charge more.

Follow @IanCleary

Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen

Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

One of the biggest benefits entrepreneurs have is the ability to set your work hours and location. This works well for people who have personal demands on their time that make keeping a regular job difficult such as raising children, caring for aging parents, or moving to be with a partner.

It also works well for people who have a difficult time thriving in an open work arrangement. It’s even better if your living arrangement provides a special workspace where you’re not disturbed.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

As a solopreneur, many things you take for granted as an employee disappear. Top of the list are steady income, paid time off and health insurance (Depending on where you live this can be BIG!). Further, don’t under-estimate the power of an established work routine, colleagues and the ability to escape your home environment.

Translation: You are responsible for keeping your work pipeline full. If you’re not an experienced sales person or lack an established network, this can be challenging and depressing.

Among the key factors to consider before leaving your current job are having a nest egg beyond your retirement savings, a thriving side hustle, and/or partner with health benefits.

Follow @HeidiCohen

Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina

Co-Founder, Orbit Media

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Fast decision making. There are no committees, no managers to check with, no circling back to see what someone else thinks. The path from idea to execution couldn’t be shorter. Bandwidth is an issue, but at least a solopreneur can be nimble and move quickly when it counts.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Community. The downside is the solo part. Although solopreneurs may work with clients a vendors everyday, they still may feel isolated and miss interacting regularly with a team. They key here is to get out. Find places to work where other people are around. Our recent blogging survey found that content creators are working in coffee shops and coworking spaces more and more every year. These places are filled with people who are working alone …together.

Source: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/blogging-statistics/

Follow @crestodina

Dorien Morin-van Dam

Dorien Morin-van Dam

Social Media Consultant, More In Media

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The biggest benefit solopreneurs enjoy is freedom!

1) Freedom to work when they want to work. Setting your own hours, taking time off for family time and working as much or as little as you want when you want to is amazing

2) Freedom to work with whom they want to work. No need to ever work again with an exhausting colleague, a mean boss or a depressing office mate.

3) Freedom to work from wherever they want to work. Being able to work from home, form a coffee shop, from Europe, Australia or the USA.

4) Freedom to grow and implement changes. Solopreneurs aren’t put in a box. We can work on whatever it is we want to work on, whenever we feel like it. We can grow one, two or three areas at a time if we want to.

5) Freedom to choose. This is huge. Each day we have a choice of what we do. Each day is an adventure!

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge we face is self-doubt. We see successful people around us who make it all seem so easy, especially thru social media as they often only show the good stuff, not the struggles.

It is hard to work without a team, without daily support and to carry the full financial burden of a family and business simultaneously.

I have overcome this challenge by building up a network, a virtual support team of other solopreneurs all over the world. I connect with them weekly in online mastermind groups, in-person at yearly conferences and through Skype calls when needed.

Don’t believe it if someone tells you otherwise. Every successful solopreneur is surrounded by a great ‘team’ of like-minded virtual colleagues who help each other.

Follow @moreinmedia

Adel de Meyer

Adel de Meyer

New Media Specialist & Speaker, AdeldeMeyer.com

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The biggest benefit today is the lifestyle. You can choose and be flexible with family/work balance and make your own decisions about time management. Being a solopreneur in today’s digitally connected world you also have the pleasure of working with clients globally, so you can be very selective with the clients you choose to work with.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Biggest challenge is the discipline and focus of good time and resource management. Because you don’t have to go to an office and work with a team necessarily all the time, you can get demotivated, lonely, off track or take on too much work and become overworked and stressed out.

One way I tackled these challenges is by setting up daily goals, keeping track of time spent on different tasks and breaking work into realistic daily completion goals. I also make the time to connect with peers in the industry, networking locally and working on collaborations to keep the motivation going and for getting that much needed human interaction.

Follow @adeldmeyer

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich

Found & Author, Spin Sucks

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

You are in charge of your own destiny. Want to take a sabbatical? You can do it! Want to work until 2:30 every day so you can be home for the kids? You can do it! Think strategically about what YOU want from being a solopreneur and then set yourself up for success.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge is, of course, a steady income. They say “cash is king” for a reason. If you don’t have cash, you can’t control your own destiny. If you can’t control your own destiny, you may as well go back to working for someone. Just like you do in your personal life, save money every month. I aim for 25% of our monthly revenue to save. It makes things tight at times, but it works.

Follow @ginidietrich

Adi Domocos

Adi Domocos

Founder, Hot In Social Media

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The difference between a solopreneur and entrepreneur is that the first one doesn’t plan to grow a team that can help him/her to grow his/her company. Meanwhile the entrepreneur wants to grow a team that can help him/her to build a big company around this team.

The biggest benefit today that a solopreneur enjoys the most is the possibility to grow a business exactly as he/she plans to do it from start to finish. Usually is difficult to build a new business from scratch if you have 2-3 partners that are not always in the same boat as you are.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge today that a solopreneur is facing I believe is the capacity to know and to find solutions for a lot of activities that are not from your experience zone. You can overcome this new business challenge by outsourcing these tasks to other companies or freelancers that have a bigger experience than you, in different fields of activities.

Follow @AdiDomocos

Eric Enge

Eric Enge

CEO, Stone Temple

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

In today’s world there are so many different ways to market your services, that creative & innovative people can nearly always find a way to get the word out about what they do. Answering this from a different perspective, there is always the benefit of controlling one’s hours and work environment.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

It’s all on you. If the garbage needs to be taken out, you do it. If you have a difficult note to send to a client, you do it. But, where many solopreneurs struggle, and this is the most important one, if there is selling to be done YOU do it. You have to be good at this part of being a solopreneur, in order to survive and thrive.

Follow @stonetemple

Ken Evoy

Ken Evoy

CEO & Founder, SiteSell

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Easy question – no contest!

The #1 benefit is FREEDOM.  It always has been, always will be. The advantage today is that growing your very own profitable online business has never been so do-able and low-risk. That does not mean it’s right for you, though…

Freedom comes with its downsides and challenges. Are you up to overcoming them?  Take this quick test…

Do you feel a strong rush at the thought of firing the boss?  

How about working the hours that you want?

Does building your own business, around a niche that you know and love, excite you?

YOU would be the one making ALL the decisions, big and small. Which niche? What format (blog, website, YouTuber, etc)?

If so, solopreneurship will set you free!

Let’s go nitty-gritty now, breaking life down to a typical, adult 24 hour day. The following numbers will vary – that’s OK because it’s the big picture that we need here…

– 8 hours sleep

– 2 hours of “self-maintenance” (eat/cook, bathe, exercise)

– 10 hours per day of work. Whether you are staying at home to take care of young children or working as an assistant to the CEO, the quantity and quality of these hours will vary (e.g., a CEO assistant won’t be doing any midnight feedings!)

That leaves 4 hours per day for you. In other words, you “own” only 4 hours out of 24.  

Even those 4 are usually spent on decompressing activities (“prime-time TV!”), if they are not consumed by yet more work-from-home, job-related obligations.  

Unless you love your job, that’s not freedom. Even if you love your job, is that enough?  

Does your cherished role of “CEO assistant” fastrack up the BigCo hierarchy? Or are you going to sell your life for a pension (which may or may not be there when you retire)?

Or consider the “job” of child-rearing…

Much more than just a job and as rewarding as it is, many also feel a need to move ahead intellectually, not to mention contribute to the family income. You may turn out wonderful young adults, but what’s left for you to do after that?

Whatever you’re doing now – if you don’t like the 10-20 year future that you foresee, you may be getting by, sure. But the experience of life should be much more than that…

Life is about being fully alive. Not in 20 years. Now! Gain control of a life that you love…

Solopreneurship delivers the freedom to live life on your own terms!

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

It’s not just the “challenge TODAY.” One might think, given that the “mass-market” internet is more than 20 years old, that its low-risk, easy opportunities have all been “taken.”

There is some truth to that. Failure rates are astronomical.

There is, though, a way to overcome the crowds of would-be solopreneurs. First, let’s look at the root of this challenge…

A solopreneur’s main limiter will always be TIME. By definition, there’s only one of you.  And we’ve seen how much your 24 hour day leaves for you!

If you don’t want to risk “quitting the day job” before your online business success is generating solid income, you’ll have to devote a good chunk of those 4 hours per day (and weekends) to your new biz.

We don’t advise quitting your current job, by the way. Devote every spare block of time to growing your own business until you see success. Whatever your choice…

TIME is your growth-limiting factor. The lack of viable opportunity due to “overcrowding” has hurt many solopreneurs in the past…

As more people came online, it did get harder to win at the more competitive niches.  For example, you could have won “travel” 20+ years ago. As large companies took that over, a business about London could have been a winner. Today, though, you’re best looking at niches like Cornwall (a region of the UK).  

Cornwall could never have sustained you 20 years ago – there were not enough folks online. What about today?

The sheer number of people online have made it impossible for solopreneurs to succeed with broad, super-competitive niches. But you can be THE presence in a niche that is small enough, yet still generates enough traffic to grow substantial income.

The following also point in your favor…

1) We’ve reached the stage where the number of websites has leveled off.

2) And social media enables individuals to reach folks more emotionally, person to person, than the employees of “BigCo” marketing departments (or worse, contractors).

Still…

There IS more to learn today than ever, so time is more of a factor than ever. There are just so many ways to go wrong (e.g., “Get Rich” products, or even well-meaning but incorrect information).

That, though, is what our flagship product, Solo Build It!, has always been about. We enable you to focus on your business by doing everything else for you (e.g., keeping abreast of online developments and updating our products, tools and articles accordingly. See here for more information.)  

The internet evolves constantly…

Whatever comes along (from RSS to HTTPS), we’ve been tracking and researching it. When the time comes, we release what you need (tools and/or strategies/articles) to help you maximize the business benefit in the least time possible. Which means you can leverage your time.

That’s why SBI! enables SBIers to outperform solopreneurs who use other products (e.g., GoDaddy, Wix, Wealthy Affiliate – where SBIers were 33X more likely to generate high-traffic businesses online, for example).

Bottom line: The only way to overcome today’s challenge is to choose the best tight niche and use tools that will help you generate solid income, optimize your use of time, and focus only on the key tasks necessary to rise to the top.

Good luck!  May 2018 be the year that sees you reach your goals!

Follow @SiteSell

Ben Fisher

Ben Fisher

Co-Founder, Steady Demand

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

Freedom and creativity are the first two words that come to mind.

The freedom to work from home, to live and die by the decisions that they make and the ability to chart their own destiny. Creativity can sometimes be stifled by partners and others in a traditional “job”; as a solopreneur you are free to express yourself.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

Scalability and lack of skill sets.

These two kind of go hand in hand. A lack of scalability is mostly dependent on the fact that there is only one operator in the business, or the lack of the willingness to outsource versus hire.

I have always had businesses that were scalable.

  1. Because I always choose partners that complement my skill sets.
  2. I know when to outsource.

Most solopreneurs are afraid to grow, yet also afraid to let go at the same time. If you truly want to grow then you need to overcome both of these obstacles.

Follow @thesocialdude

Peg Fitzpatrick

Peg Fitzpatrick

Author & Speaker, PegFitzpatrick.com

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The world is your oyster! You have unlimited opportunities and choices as a solopreneur.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

You have to fine tune your ideas and focus in order to make everything work. You can’t do everything and be everything all at once.

To overcome the challenge, you need to decide what market or people you’re going to serve and stick with it. If you try to be too many things, people will have no idea what you do or how to work with you. Be focused and consistent and you can reach the right people.

Follow @PegFitzpatrick

Kim Garst

Kim Garst

CEO, KimGarst.com

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

The biggest benefit that solopreneurs enjoy is time freedom. If your child has a school play, you can choose to drop what you are working on and go focus on what’s important, in that moment. Traditional JOBs don’t always allow us to do this.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

As a solopreneur, one wears many hats and that can often lead to chaos if it’s not recognized and managed. The key to overcoming this challenge is to focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. This can be a hard concept for solopreneurs that are just starting out but as soon as you can, build a team. If you don’t, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed and down a rabbit hole with the many things that require your time and attention.

Follow @kimgarst

Mike Gingerich

Mike Gingerich

President, MikeGingerich.com

  1. What’s the biggest benefit today that solopreneurs enjoy?

It’s got to be the freedom to be flexible. From working when you want, to working where you want, freedom to be and move as you desire is a huge benefit.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge today that solopreneurs face? How have you overcome that challenge?

I think the biggest challenge is sourcing.

To do large projects it does at times take a team or collaborators and so you need to be able to scale with other contractors and solopreneurs when needed. This takes time, relationship building and effort.

Over time I have developed rapport with key folks skilled in key areas and I can tap into that for needed work from them when needed. It’s all about relationships and maintaining the right connections!

Follow @Mike_Gingerich

5 Reasons Resolutions Fail

Why They Don’t Work and What You Should Do Instead

Millions of Americans admit to making New Year’s resolutions. Most of us can stick it out a few weeks, but fewer than half are still going after six months. Less than 10 percent are ultimately successful. In this episode, we’re going to explore five reasons resolutions commonly fail-and what you can do to finally gain ground in the upcoming year.

Bonus Episode: The One Tool You Need to Achieve Your Goals in 2018

For more information, visit fullfocusplanner.com

Bonus Episode: How to Plan Success in 2018

For more information, visit fullfocusplanner.com

No One Should HAVE to Choose Between Home and Work

No One Should HAVE to Choose Between Home and Work

How and where we work changed forever with the introduction of the Internet. What a great time for those seeking more flexibility in their life! And, more importantly, what an incredible time for those who actually need to work from home.

Telecommuting, working remotely, freelancing as a virtual assistant, doing side hustles, or running a totally online business are now widely recognized as legitimate working situations.

Interestingly, the number of people who find themselves in circumstances where working outside the home is not ideal (perhaps even impossible) is growing with each passing year…

  • Parents who have children with special needs and / or disabilities
  • Those who have special needs and / or disabilities themselves
  • Single parents
  • Military spouses
  • Caregivers
  • People suffering from chronic illnesses
  • Extreme introverts
  • Moms during challenging pregnancies
  • People in the sandwich generation
  • Grandparents raising grandchildren
  • Families living in remote areas
  • And many, many other situations you’re sure to think of.

See yourself in any of these scenarios? If not, what would you do if one day you found out that you or a loved one will need full-time care for an undetermined length of time – and – that care will greatly add to your family’s expenses?

What a dilemma!

Perhaps you’ve found yourself suddenly part of the “sandwich generation” – sandwiched between taking care of your children and aging parents who need care. Or, even in a relatively new version of the sandwich generation – those sandwiched between aging parents, young children, adult children and grandchildren.

You may not even think of yourself as a caregiver. You’re just doing what good parents, daughters, sons or grandparents do. But you’re feeling the increasing pressure of doing too much and maybe not doing any of it really well. All this pressure can take its toll… emotionally, financially, physically and relationally.

Working From HomeYou’re asking yourself how, in the midst of scheduling and attending medical appointments along with managing everyone’s daily needs, is working outside the home even realistic anymore? But how can it not be? You need an income!

When something happens or changes, making it difficult to work a “regular” job, what do you do? And more to the point, what do you do about personal expenses that are expected to rise dramatically? All while your availability to work outside the home decreases?

These situations typically start a cycle that quickly spins out of control. Faced with increasingly limited resources and caregiving demands, continuing to be a dependable employee / staff member at a traditional job becomes difficult – which of course results in jeopardizing much needed income.

We hope this is not (or ever will be) your circumstance. But the reality is, situations like these are happening in countless families all over the world.

Thankfully there are viable solutions for most of these overwhelming situations – at least the financial part of them. Yet, most folks who find themselves in circumstances where it’s not ideal (or has become impossible) to work outside the home, often aren’t aware they even have other options. They’re consumed with just trying to manage everything and simply don’t have time to research and discover they have work alternatives.

If you find yourself in such a position, please read on. If you don’t, you probably already recognize how fortunate you are. However, chances are, you know someone who needs to know about alternative options to working a regular job.

Let’s start by meeting four real people who have shared their stories about how they are able to manage working and caregiving – whether self-care during an illness, or caring for another person on an ongoing basis.  


Birgit Bradtke
Birgit Bradtke

Meet Birgit Bradtke

Birgit has been an online business owner since 2005. She’s been a favorite SBI! case study to thousands of folks looking at the possibility of starting an online business. It’s not surprising she’s a favorite either. Her story starts with a personal and heartbreaking setback that, thankfully, turned into a life-changing blessing in disguise.

Periodically through the years, Birgit has updated us where she is at with her online businesses. Her third update is remarkable. It starts with this quote…

Despite not having worked for five years and having incurred many thousands of dollars in medical expenses, I certainly did not need to worry about money… thanks to SBI!.

And…

A disabling and longstanding illness like mine usually spells financial ruin. If I had had a regular job, I would have had to give it up around 2010. There is no way I could have worked, even part time, even from home. During the whole time, almost every day, I thanked my lucky stars for guiding me across SBI! so many years ago. If there was one thing I did not need to worry about, it was my financial situation. My online businesses survived fine without me, money kept coming in.

Imagine not worrying about your financial situation due to what you built up over a period of time with an online business. Read Birgit’s entire case study complete with several updates.


Ann Fisher
Ann Fisher

Next, meet Ann Fisher.

Ann has Multiple Sclerosis. But as you’ll see, she too has turned a setback into helping others by teaching people about words, their meaning and proper spelling. Ann says…

“M.S. comes with a whole family of symptoms, which I’ll spare you from. But suffice it to say that I spend a chunk of time in medical appointments, and I do a lot of exercising and stretching that help to keep me going.This is time I’d much rather spend on my business!

My business income has stabilized our family’s financial situation. It has paid bills when my husband’s job was downsized a few years ago. It buys plane tickets once or twice a year so we can visit our grandchildren.

It buys Christmas presents, and a piece of it ends up every month in my Roth IRA. We’ve remodeled a bathroom and replaced a few windows, too, with my earnings.”

Who would have thought that words, which every one of us uses every single day, could be turned into a profitable business?!

Read the rest of Ann’s amazing story.


Wendy Lau
Wendy Lau

Next, meet Wendy.

Wendy has a life threatening illness called Addison’s Disease. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Wendy has been in the hospital more than half of the past year. Think about that for a moment. 183+ days in the hospital! And yet, Wendy works…

The SBI! Action Guide and website business builder has literally transformed my and my husband’s ability to financially care for ourselves despite my chronic and life-threatening condition: Addison’s Disease or Adrenal Insufficiency.

I have been in hospital for well over 50% of the last year, near death several times. The rest of the time I was mostly bedridden at home, with limited trips out.

As you can imagine, the financial burden is enormous.

My business supports me to sell products and work with local students, remotely. I even provide coaching services remotely using virtual platforms through my phone and computer, all from a bed. Little do they know I am plugged into intravenous drips when I am working with them!

I wanted to share my experience because Solo Build It! has meant so much to my financial well-being. But even more importantly, I want to provide hope for other sufferers of any chronic condition, as well as Addison’s Disease.”

If you’d like to hear more of Wendy’s incredible story, she shares it in video format, recorded from her hospital bed…

https://www.elite-kids-hk.com/solo-build-it-review.html


Mashubi
Mashubi

Last but not least, meet Mashubi.

Mashubi has been an online business owner since 2005. Over the years, she’s created several successful businesses. But, much like Birgit, Ann and Wendy, she too experienced a serious health-related setback.

Mashubi says…

“Just when my business had grown to the level I’d been working towards, there were two major life events that once again changed everything!

In May of 2013  I was bitten by a deer tick. It was only attached for less than a day, however the next day after I removed it, I felt deathly ill.  

I felt something terribly wrong in my body, and I knew I needed help.  

We were still getting settled in a new home, and unbelievably, my new doctor refused to give me antibiotics. I spent days terrified, feeling as though my body was turning to stone.

Thankfully, I was able to find another doctor in the next state over who was willing to treat me, however I am still, to this day, dealing with the after-effects of this experience.

The amazing thing is that, even though my income dropped, it did not stop! Through that long period of inactivity, I still managed to earn residual income, even without working at all.

After the tick bite experience, several mysterious health situations developed that left me unable to sit at the computer, or talk or think clearly.

My income dropped during this time. However, even at the lowest days of that dark period, I always earned enough to keep the business going.

Fast forwarding to 2017 … it is because of SBI! that I have a business to return to, even after almost 4 years of health challenges.

Although I’m not fully recovered yet, I am on my way and I know one day I will be well.”

Four years of health challenges. Yet, Mashubi’s business kept earning enough to keep the business going.

Read the rest of her sometimes harrowing experiences here…

http://www.mysensitiveskincare.com/sbi-review.html


Wow, four stories that depict personal (and business) resilience from real people with serious health challenges that prevented them from working a traditional job. Because of their online businesses, they continued to receive a steady income in spite of not being able to work for prolonged periods of time.

Whether you, your family, friends or anyone you know is in a situation where working outside the home is not ideal, there is a solution.

Create an online business around something you know and love. Work from home, the doctor’s office waiting room, hospital, home of an aging parent, assisted-living facility, preschool parking lot or wherever you need to be.

Doing side hustles, freelancing, consulting, etc. are options too, but a business you own is the best long term solution for unpredictable life and health situations.

Get started with SBI! today at 33% off during the 2017 Holiday Special.

Author information

Cath Andrews

Cath Andrews

Cath Andrews is Solo Build It!’s Content Team Lead. She describes her day job and her online business, Raising Happy Chickens, like this: I get paid by a company I love for doing what my mother calls “playing on that blasted computer all day.” And that’s basically how it feels. I love the freedom it gives me, to be home with my dogs and work in front of a roaring fire in the winter, or take my laptop into my Italian olive grove in the summer. I love the joy it brings me, writing about things I’m passionate about. But more than that, I love the satisfaction of being able to help other people reach their potential. That’s what gives me the most sense of achievement. When I need a break, I “commute” fifty yards to visit my chickens. Then I “commute” back to the house again and write articles about my chickens for my website. Sharing my rather weird passion and, most of all, knowing that other people benefit from my knowledge, gives me goose-bumps. And goose-bumps are as important to me as the money my online business makes.

The post No One Should HAVE to Choose Between Home and Work appeared first on Solo Build It! Blog – Proven Real-World Advice for Solopreneurs.

Salamanders Plus Math Equals Solopreneur Success? Here’s How!

Salamanders Plus Math Equals Solopreneur Success? Here's How!

In general, I feel much more relaxed about life. Because of my two separate income streams – from teaching and from my online business – I know that I have options if one of them gets into difficulties.

Crispin Pennington had always enjoyed Mathematics. In fact, he loved it so much that he got a degree in Mathematics and Computing, and became an elementary-age school teacher to teach his favorite subject.

But after 20 years in his teaching career, Crispin felt he needed something different in his life. Something to keep him stimulated and help him develop a completely new set of skills. It should also be valuable to other people. And earn him an additional income.  

That was a tall order to fill. We talked to Crispin to find out if he found “that something” and how it has changed his life.  

Crispin Pennington Hiking

1. Crispin, with your background as a teacher, choosing Math as your online business niche seems a good fit. How did you know that this was a profitable topic and that Solo Build It! was the right platform?

Ever since I started school, I have enjoyed Mathematics. I continued that direction at university, and got a degree in Mathematics and Computing. At the same time, I wanted to create something useful for other people, something that would really benefit them.

A friend of my wife told me about Solo Build It!. She had built several online businesses with SBI! which were very successful. She also pointed out to me that there was a huge demand for Math related keywords on the internet.

At first, I was sceptical. However, my wife’s friend convinced me that this was the best way for me to create a website (or rather an e-business) that would really work and flourish. She helped me to get the site up and running. She was a great mentor and coached me all throughout my first year.

TAKEAWAY #1: With so many “Get Rich Quick” schemes out there, it’s not surprising that Crispin was sceptical at first. He was fortunate to be introduced to someone who was living proof that Solo Build It! really works.

But what do you do if you don’t know someone personally who has built a profitable online business with SBI!, or any other site-building or hosting company you may be interested in? You research online and look for verifiable proof of success.

What do we mean by verifiable proof? It means that every solopreneur story we publish at the Solo Build It! blog, every long term case study and all 500 featured SBI! sites on our results page disclose the domain name, so that you can check the website’s traffic and contact the owner.

Whatever company you’re researching, don’t trust glowing testimonials or income statements if you can’t verify that there’s a real person and a real website behind it.

2. You started two online businesses, with closely related topics: www.Math-salamanders.com and www.2nd-grade-Math-salamanders.com. Why did you start two, and – in hindsight – was it a good decision?

I started up my second website 2nd-grade-Math-salamanders.com when Penguin and Panda hit. I was worried that firstly my main website was becoming too large and unwieldy, and secondly that if it should lose its ranking with Google, then I wanted an additional site to support my main one.

I had originally planned to create a new website for each grade from Kindergarten to 5th Grade, but I quickly realised that this was going to be a huge amount of work and detrimental to the time I could spend on my main site.

I don’t regret making the 2nd-grade-Math-salamanders website. It has been very useful in testing out different ideas and experiments without having to worry about it having a negative effect on my main site.

However, in hindsight, I think it would have been better for me to have had a go at a completely different niche and explore a different avenue of interest.

Solopreneur in home office
Working on new Math worksheets in his home office.
TAKEAWAY #2: We typically advise SBI! members to focus on building one online business at a time. Succeeding online is not about putting up a bunch of “sites.”  It’s about growing one high-income business. Doing that requires time, energy and focus.

After starting his second site, Crispin realized that he would stretch himself too thin if he tried building more than two.

From a purely business point of view, he made the right decision by staying in the same niche with his second site. This creates a synergy between the two businesses, and you only have to stay up-to-date in one niche.

Exploring a different avenue of interest may be the right way to go for Crispin once he’s retired from his job as a teacher – with enough time to devote to two fully-fledged online businesses.

3. What’s the story behind the Salamander? How did it become part of your branding?

At the time I created my website I knew that I wanted it to be about Math. I also knew that I wanted it to stand out from the other Math websites on the internet. We had a family brainstorm and came up with lots of different ideas. None of them clicked with us though, and many had already been used.

Then I happened to read an article in the news about how mathematical salamanders were, and that they could actually count. When given the choice of a tube containing two flies or three flies, the salamanders in that experiment would always choose the tube with three flies in it. So the scientists concluded that they were able to do some basic counting.

It seemed like the perfect choice then to use salamanders as my branding element. They are such interesting creatures and come in a multitude of species and varieties.

TAKEAWAY #3: Wow! Salamanders can count. Who would’ve thought? Crispin’s story of how he found his perfect branding element is the kind of serendipity that happens when you are fully immersed in a task or topic, but at the same time open to the unexpected.

There are some great business lessons in here. First, really think about how you will differentiate yourself from your competition. How will you make your business stand out from the crowd? How will you develop a memorable “brand of one”? Elements to consider are your site’s design, your “voice” and how you “spin” your topic.

Taking Crispin’s example of Mathematics, you need to decide whether your content will be tailored towards Math teachers, parents of school-aged kids, or college students. You might write about the same topics, but your presentation and writing style will be different.

Secondly, take some time to actively look for a “mascot” or branding element. You might be lucky and find a perfect match as Crispin did with his math-savvy salamanders. Or perhaps you have some artistic talent and create an equivalent to Leena Pekkalainen’s Mr. Mummific.

Thirdly, enlist the help of your family, friends or a like-minded community of solopreneurs during this all-important research phase for your online business.

Math Salamanders Homepage

The friendly, math-savvy salamander became an important branding element for Crispin’s online business.

4. Tell us about your philosophy regarding content.  How do you know what your prospective customers are looking for? Where does this information come from?

The main focus of my site are Math worksheets. My approach to creating content is three-fold:

Firstly, I will only create a worksheet if I would find it useful as a teacher/parent myself. I taught my daughter at home and have over 20 years’ experience teaching children Math in school. I always aim to produce worksheets that benefit my customers.

Secondly, Brainstorm It! has been extremely useful in giving me information about keyword searches and for prioritising my work. I use it extensively whenever I am planning which pages to build next and where there is a demand that I am currently not meeting. I believe that a large part of my success online is down to my use of Brainstorm It!.

Lastly, I also use comments on social media and emails I receive through the “Contact us” form of my site. Most people who comment on the site want to show their appreciation and say thank you, but some also give valuable insights into the sorts of worksheets or resources they would like to see.

TAKEAWAY #4: Crispin uses an ideal mix of resources and methods to decide about his content. His intimate niche knowledge and long-term experience with teaching Mathematics form the basis for the worksheets and related content he produces.

He supplements and widens that knowledge with the help of SBI!’s keyword brainstorming and analysis tool, Brainstorm It!. This smart tool enables you to reveal and target hundreds of keywords (aka “topics”) that your audience is actively searching for.

For each keyword, you’ll know how popular it is (i.e. how many people search for it each month) and how stiff the competition is (i.e. how many web pages already discuss this topic). These insights help you plan and prioritise your website structure and content production.

His third source for content inspiration are Crispin’s readers. They give him valuable feedback about topics of interest that he hasn’t covered yet. Getting to know who your site visitors are and exactly what they’re looking for is a topic covered extensively in the Solo Build It! Action Guide.

  

5. You use various monetization methods, including a “Donate” option. What made you choose these income models and how does each perform?

My main income source is Google AdSense. Because of the high number of visitors to my site (most months my main site manages over a million page views), this model works really well for me.

I have also, over the past year, created and started selling Math Games booklets on my site – they are not generating very much money at present, but I am hoping to develop this income stream in the future.

I do also have a Donate button, and a free sample copy of my Dice Games is given to anyone who donates. However, this is not a particularly successful model at the moment and brings in maybe 4-5 donations per year.

TAKEAWAY #5: Google AdSense is used by most solopreneurs as a beginner monetization model as it’s easy to implement and requires little maintenance. In the early days of earning an income online, it worked extremely well for niche content publishers, even with lower traffic numbers.

Nowadays, you need much higher visitor and page view numbers to make a substantial income. More active monetization models, like producing and selling your own products, have a higher profit margin. Ebooks and digital downloads usually work well for information focused websites. But, every niche is different.

That’s why SBI! teaches a wide variety of monetization models, from AdSense to affiliate marketing to donations to referrer’s fees to selling your own digital and even hard goods.  

Printable Math Game
An example of Crispin’s printable math games and worksheets.

6. Your main social media platform seems to be Pinterest, which is surprising for a not so visual niche like yours. Why did you choose Pinterest and how do you make it work so well for you?

When I was first creating my website back in 2010, SBI! had a 100MB limit on PDFs and other file types which went to the special file manager. However, there was no limit on the number of images you could upload.

I realised that I would not be able to create very many worksheets in a PDF format so I decided to use images instead. Each of my worksheets is created as an image on my website. It has had some drawbacks compared to PDFs, but also some advantages, such as the ease at which I can resize the images.

Pinterest was a natural target for my site as it is based all around images, and I had already converted all of my worksheets into images.

The boards I have created on Pinterest follow my site’s Tier 2 pages. I tend to go through phases of pinning several weeks or months work at a time and then not pinning again for a while. If I feel that my site’s ranking needs a bit of a social media boost, then it often spurs me on to start pinning again.

I only pin my own math resources – I use Pinterest a bit like an image library of my website.

TAKEAWAY #6: It’s funny how a seeming disadvantage (restriction for uploading PDF files) can turn into an unforeseen advantage later on. When Crispin started his online business in 2010, Pinterest had just launched and was still in its infancy.

As it steadily grew in importance, Crispin had no shortage of images to pin! His strategy is interesting, as it goes against the advice of Pinterest experts: it’s best practice to pin regularly and to pin not only your own content.

For Crispin though, his strategy of using Pinterest as an image library with pinning exclusively his worksheets, seems to work fine.

Our advice regarding Pinterest (and other social media networks): familiarize yourself with the network as a “regular” user, inform yourself about marketing best practices and then test what works best for your business.

Solo Build It! has recently released, for the use of SBIers only, the “Pinterest Action Guide.” A step-by-step guide using the same format as the successful SBI! Action Guide, it takes the novice Pinner from a zero knowledge base to expert user, updating regularly to incorporate Pinterest’s many changes.

The first in a series of such Guides, its aim is one of the main objectives of SBI!: to save the solopreneur precious time.

Example of Crispin’s Pinterest boards, featuring over 100 of his own worksheets.

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js

7. How long did it take to start earning income from your online business?  Is it a full-time or a part-time income?

The income I get from my online business is a part-time income at present. I still love teaching and I wouldn’t want to give up being a teacher altogether.

Having said that, it has been a really great opportunity to be able to give up working full-time and drop down to teaching part-time and working on my website part-time too.

It has allowed me to spend much more time with my family and I feel that my life is richer for doing both.

TAKEAWAY #7: That’s the beauty of building a business online. You can (and should) start it in your free time, alongside your day job. An online business doesn’t make you money overnight, but it also doesn’t require you to work on it full time. Of course, the more hours per week you can devote to it, the faster it will grow.

Three years after starting his online business, Crispin was able to reduce his full-time job as a teacher to part-time. That’s a fantastic achievement, and for him, it’s as far as he wants to go for now.

Whether you want your web business to replace a full-time income or earn some extra money to pay for your kids’ education or a family vacation each year, is up to you.

Irrespective of the financial goals and achievements, there’s one thing that each solopreneur we talked to is proud about: the certainty of having built something of value out of nothing!

Crispin Pennington and kids
Enjoying time with his kids.

8. What has been your biggest challenge so far as a solopreneur?

I think my biggest challenge was the first couple of years. It was hard starting off doing a full-time teaching job whilst also trying to spend my ‘free’ time on my e-business to get it off the ground.  

At times it felt like I was at the bottom of a very steep mountain. However, by putting one foot forward at a time, and keeping on going, I made progress – it was not rapid progress but visible progress.

By the end of the first year, I could see just how far I had come and I was starting to reap the rewards. Looking back now, I can definitely say that it was worth the climb.

TAKEAWAY #8: If there is something like a “success secret,” it’s probably this: to keep on going, one step at a time, no matter how steep the mountain may seem. Building a profitable business is no cakewalk. Anyone who tells you it’s easy is either delusional or a liar.

But it’s totally doable. All you need is:

  • a tried and tested roadmap
  • up-to-date instructions and tutorials
  • user friendly tools
  • helpful community
  • great support team
  • winning attitude and
  • lots and lots of motivation.

SBI! provides the first 5 ingredients. You supply the winning attitude and motivation, and you are bound to succeed!

Crispin Pennington exploring castle
When he’s not teaching or working on his online business, Crispin loves to explore medieval castles.

9. What do you enjoy most about being an online business owner? How has it changed you, your life, your family?

It makes me very happy to see people and hear from people who have enjoyed using my site. I feel it is a win-win situation for everyone: I am making a steady income from advertising on my site, and my audience gets high-quality worksheets and other great Math resources.

The biggest change is that I have more time on my hands now to enjoy myself and spend time with my family. We also have fewer money worries. We’ve been able to go away and enjoy many more holidays together.

In general, I feel much more relaxed about life. Because of my two separate income streams – from teaching and from my online business – I know that I have options if one of them gets into difficulties.

TAKEAWAY #9: Freedom, choices, financial security, more time with family, an overall more balanced and less stressful lifestyle – that’s what we hear most often as the biggest benefits of being a solopreneur.

Crispin sums it up nicely when he says, “In general, I feel much more relaxed about life.” There’s still one worry left though… how do you explain when you are asked: “So, what do you do exactly?” Crispin’s off the hook here, as he still has his job as a teacher to fall back on. For everybody else, we have some splendid advice.

10. And finally… What’s your top tip for someone who is just starting a solopreneur career?

Obviously – my first tip would be to use Solo Build It!. It has helped me along every step of the way, from the advice in the Action Guide to the help in the forums and the support from the technical team which has all been first rate.

In terms of other advice, I think that the most important thing is to do your research before you leap in. It is really important to get the right niche to start with. You need to be passionate about your topic, know that you won’t get bored with it easily and be sure that it is in demand.

If you get the niche right, then with SBI! by your side you just need to persevere, keeping your target audience always in mind.

TAKEAWAY #10: We couldn’t agree more with Crispin. Too many aspiring solopreneurs register a domain and start writing without having a clear plan for their online business, without even knowing if their chosen niche has any profit potential.

As an SBI! member, you won’t make that mistake. You’ll have the SBI! Action Guide to show you how to identify and evaluate the best possible niche for you. You start by writing a list of your interests, hobbies, passions, skills learned in your job, etc. You then select the top 3 from your list and research these potential niches further.

The first part of your research is performing in-depth keyword research with Brainstorm It!. With smart filter and evaluation functions, Brainstorm It! helps you decide if your business niche is too broad, too narrow or just right.

The numbers, however, are only part of the equation. Your passion and knowledge about the topic are crucial for your success, too.

Why is being passionate about your niche so important? Because building an online business is hard work. Like Crispin said, at times you’ll feel like being at the bottom of a very steep mountain. You may feel like you’ll never make it to the top.

Your passion, together with having around you a supportive, experienced community of like-minded solopreneurs, is what will pull you through. Not only that, your passion will also show in anything you produce, your web pages, newsletter, social media posts, your products and services. Your readers and customers will know that you are “the real deal.”

To quote entrepreneur and author Barbara Ann Corcoran:

You can’t fake passion.

Author information

Crispin Pennington

Crispin is a part-time teacher working in the UK with over 20 years experience in education. He has a BSc in Mathematics and Computing and has led Mathematics successfully in several schools. He has authored several e-books on Math games and is a keen web-developer. He is also a father of two and likes to spend his spare time rock-pooling with his family at the beach or going out on muddy walks with the dogs. His interests include visiting medieval castles and bushcraft.

The post Salamanders Plus Math Equals Solopreneur Success? Here’s How! appeared first on Solo Build It! Blog – Proven Real-World Advice for Solopreneurs.