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Worried about how to juggle your product biz when your team consists of just you? Don't worry, we got you covered.
Today we are talking all about managing your digital product-based business when it’s just you and you don’t have a team that you can to outsource to.
If you’re feeling like you've got a thousand things on your plate or everything is a complete disaster zone mess and you don't even know where to start in terms of organizing and managing all of the chaos, this is the episode for you.
Jordan Gill, our guest today, is the head honcho at Systems Saved Me where she helps online solopreneurs decrease and dominate their daily to-do lists.
Jordan is going to help you wake up and know exactly what tasks to complete to automatically hit your revenue goals, even if you are a team of one.
She wants you to know that just because you're working by yourself doesn’t mean you're not going to be successful. It doesn’t mean that you can't manage the chaos and the mess of your everyday business. And it doesn't mean you're not going to be able to reach your goals.
It just means that you need to be strategic about the systems that you put in place and how you execute those systems to be successful.
Jordan Gill: Striking Out on Her Own as a Solopreneur
Jordan has been working in the digital product and online marketing space for almost six years. Her business, Systems Saved Me, has been her primary focus for about four of those years.
She got into this space by working for a bigwig in the industry who was helping women build online businesses, first as her Content Manager and then the Head of Operations. Jordan learned a lot during the two years she worked there, but one day felt the calling to strike out on her own and start her own business.
“I know one thing, and if you follow that voice or that feeling it's going to like actually really surprise you. And so I was like, ‘right, we'll see how this goes… I'm gonna do it for the sake of freedom.”
On May 1st 2016, she officially left her job and took the leap. She went from working on a gigantic team with a lot of resources to being a solopreneur and having only herself. Jordan says that there have been a lot of ups and downs since then, but even when things get tough, she knows that she can rely on herself to make things work.
She says, “you can always bet on yourself, I know that if my back is against the wall and if shit is really going crazy, I always know how to get myself out of it. So that's something that I think could just carry through the rest of my story.”
Solopreneurs and Mindset: How to Talk about Your Team of One
Right away, Jordan says the first thing you need to consider if you are a solopreneur is how to talk and think about flying solo in your business.
It’s easy to feel like everything is a limitation when you’re by yourself.
There are a lot of negative connotations with the idea of being alone and if you let yourself go down that path, Jordan says that everything will start feeling like a limitation.
To fix this, Jordan recommends thinking differently about being a solopreneur and changing your mindset about working for yourself.
“I'm trying to really reframe the power of being one person in your business, like because it is the most flexible and adaptable you will ever be. Also from a standpoint of just the closest that you'll be to your clients or your students and really engaging and creating connection, again, that'll be the closest you probably ever are to your clients or your students.”
Jordan emphasizes that there is actually a lot to celebrate when you are one-person team. All of your accomplishments are your own. Being a solopreneur lets you take the spotlight, because every success is yours and yours alone.
Common Limiting Beliefs that Get in the Way for Solopreneurs
Jordan has worked with a lot of solopreneurs that let limiting beliefs get in the way of their success. If you’re a solopreneur working on your own, you may not have anyone to check you if your struggling with a limiting belief or self-sabotage.
“But everyone else is doing it!”
One of the most common limiting beliefs for solopreneurs is the idea that everyone else is doing what you’re trying to do, so why should you even bother?
Jordan says this belief stems from imposter syndrome and competitor mentality. It’s essentially making excuses for why you can’t do something, instead of why you should be doing something.
She says, “it's honestly you getting more joy out of excuses than actual success in [your] business.”
If you find yourself slipping into this mindset, remember that it’s okay to give excuses sometimes, but you need to catch yourself doing it and give yourself a reality check.
Jordan herself sometimes gets caught in this trap. She says, “I'm able to catch myself in them and get back into listen here, get over yourself. Just because you don't feel pretty today doesn't mean you can't show up and get value, or just because somebody else did a course about inbox management you can't do one.”
She emphasizes that you should regularly check that you’re not self-sabotaging yourself with your limiting beliefs and figure out how to get through after you identify what that belief is.
Knowing Your Mindset Hurdles and How to Manage Them
Along with dealing with these limiting beliefs, Jordan says that solopreneurs also have to face three big mindset hurdles. Like limiting beliefs, you want to be able to identify what and how these hurdles are affecting you so you can face and overcome them.
“What if I’m disappointing someone?”
Disappointing others can get in the way of your confidence in your own work. The fear of disappointing others and herself has been a big hurdle for Jordan. Despite the fact she’s had a few “disappointment showers” in her business this year, she’s learned how to deal with it even though it felt terrible at the time.
“I’m just going to deal with all this disappointment, it's fine. And you get over it, you're fine and you move through it.”
“What if this doesn’t work?”
We tend to look for sure-fire solutions in our business and lives, and we want to follow the “right” steps to become successful. But sometimes those easy steps don’t exist.
Jordan says that all solopreneurs should be willing to do some fun experimentation and approach the unknown with a positive attitude.
“I think that you really miss out when you don't look at your business as an experiment, especially in your solopreneur phase, because you don't know really what works. That's the whole point of that first part.”
Experimenting will help you to learn what works and what doesn’t work for you. It’s also important to remember that when other people are recommending different fixes and solutions, their way may or may not be the right way for you.
Don’t approach something new with stipulations and doubt. Instead of having a mindset of “will this work or not?” Jordan says to look at it considering “how many months am I going to give this my all?”
“I’m not good enough.”
I hear this a lot. But think about it, is everyone in the industry the best at what they do? No. Will everyone be the most successful in this space? Definitely not.
But you don’t need to be the best to succeed. You just need to try. Without taking that first step to see if you’re good enough, you never will be.
Don’t compare yourself to others, because you only see a snapshot of what their lives and businesses are actually like behind the scenes. Everyone measures success differently, so set your own judgement of success, instead of basing it off what other’s success looks like.
“It's all about perspective… Being in your head, the mistake of that is then choosing to look at a picture or look at a thought or look at an offering and choose that to mean what success looks like in our industry. That's the biggest mistake.”
If you draw on your own strengths, you’ll be able to lean into who you are. Showing up that way 100% will always help you to be more successful than cloning someone else’s business model and expecting it to work.
Getting Over Limiting Beliefs and Mindset Hurdles through Incentives and Key Performance Indicators
One way that Jordan recommends tackling limiting beliefs and mindset hurdles is setting milestones for yourself, and then giving yourself rewards through incentives when you achieve those milestones.
The tough thing about being a solopreneur is there often isn’t a lot of external validation if you’re working on your own. Jordan says that if you’re always looking for external validation from other people, that’s going to be a tough line to walk on those difficult days.
She emphasizes, “when you can just set your own milestones, your own incentives for yourself, then I think that actually build your confidence a lot faster.”
Jordan started setting her own rewards to keep herself motivated in her work. She sets reasonable incentives that feel like they’re within reach because they motivate her better than setting up lofty and too-distant rewards.
“I found for myself, I like instant gratification… But I have found it's even silly things like, ‘okay, if I like check off all my to-dos today, then I'm going to go and draw myself to a bubble bath with like chocolate covered strawberries.”
Jordan knows that she could do this, regardless of whether or not she’s completed her to-do list, but giving herself these easily attainable rewards keeps her focused and motivated.
This is a great strategy to try, especially if you’ve been setting high-reaching incentives, like saving for a family vacation. Long-term gratification can also be rewarding, and you shouldn’t give up on those big goals, but setting in-the-moment incentives for yourself can help motivate you on a day-to-day basis.
Using Your Strengths to Manage Your One-Person Business
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in their personal and professional lives. So how do we identify those strengths and use them to power our business?
Jordan recommends all solopreneurs investigate themselves and get to know their preferences, because it will help you to design your business around you and maximize your productivity.
She’s a big fan of personality assessments, like Human Design or Myers-Briggs. She says that Strengths Finder is one of the best, because it’s simple, not too expensive, and gives you your top five strengths that you can use as a business owner and in your life in general.
When Jordan took the assessment, it helped her to reframe her motivations, realize what she was good at, and focus her priorities. For example, she learned that her primary strength is “significance” which means that she’s the most motivated by work that has dep meaning. This helped her to prioritize work that meant the most to her so she could be the most productive.
“I just realized the more that I stuck to a business model, to the day-to-day work that is as close to my strengths as possible, it literally is night and day difference for me.”
She says, “you have to really stay true to yourself and really look at how do I work best? It's really, how can I best serve my clients? How can I best serve myself and my family and make my business built based on that?”
Managing Your Weaknesses in a Product-Based Business as a Solopreneur
Even when you’re maximizing your strengths, there will still be parts of running a business that might not fall into your skillset. How can you manage those as well if you don’t have a team to outsource to?
Jordan says that as a business owner and a team of one, there’s really only three areas that you’re managing: your leads, your clients or customers, and your business. Jordan recommends thinking through these areas to assess where in particular you have the most trouble.
If you’re not good at sales, Jordan says this is the one area that you need to get better at. It’s pretty much the most essential part of running a business, so whatever you need to do to make those sales, whether it’s learning more or just diving right in, you need to figure it out.
But for everything else, you can easily find some kind of a work around to get it done. You don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to become an expert in something that isn’t a part of your strengths.
Jordan uses the example of graphic design. When she was a solopreneur, graphic design was definitely not one of her strengths. However, by using the templates that were pre-made on Canva and changing the colors and images, she was able to get around it.
She says, “there's so many of those resources out there for you to just plug and play in the areas that you're not super great at.”
Whether it’s joining a membership for writers if you’re struggling with writing, signing up for a social curation platform or a monthly copywriting subscription, or finding relevant prompts or templates, this can be crucial in helping you manage your team of one.
Remember, things don’t have to be perfect for you to do well. Keep in mind that progress is better than perfection, so even if you’re making graphics that aren’t perfect, you’re still making graphics. You can still be successful without being the best at every aspect of your business.
Takeaways for Solopreneurs: Remember to Collect and Celebrate Your Success
Jordan says that if there’s one takeaway she wants to share, it’s that you should collect and celebrate the good work that you’ve been doing.
She recommends creating a “happy folder” – a collection of comments from social media, emails, text messages, Instagram DMs, or however you connect with people, and use that to remind yourself that you are doing impactful and important work.
“When you're feeling like you're not good enough, when you're feeling like you disappointed a bunch of people, or if you feel like you are wondering if anything's working, like what if this next thing doesn't work, go and read your happy folder and actually realize how many people that you've impacted, that you've helped, that you've shown up for.”
Want More Info on How to Manage Your Product-Based Business with a Team of One?
Jordan has a free resource for solopreneurs called the Five-Step Framework to Decrease and Dominate Your Daily To-Do List.
This will help you, as a solopreneur, go from overworked one-woman show to streamlined solopreneur. If you’re interested in digging deeper and dominating your daily to-do list, it’s definitely something to check out.
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Find Jordan on her website, Systems Saved Me
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