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Why Every Solopreneur Needs a Mentor

Why Every Solopreneur Needs a MentorAs a solopreneur, you have a huge amount of control over your business. You get to make all the decisions, whether they’re creative decisions, financial decisions, or simply what kind of stamps to get at the post office. But what do you do when you need to bounce ideas off someone? Who do you turn to when you could benefit from another’s wisdom? The solopreneur’s work life can easily become isolated. That’s why it’s important to reach out to others and find a mentor! Someone who can help you solve problems, make decisions, and refine your ideas can be immensely helpful to your business, especially if that person is experienced and knowledgeable.

My Mentorship Experiences

In the early years of my career, when I was living the corporate life, it was easy to have a mentor because there were so many people around and available. My coworkers and supervisors were available for me to “talk shop” with whenever I pleased. Their influence and advice proved invaluable for me in that stage of my career.

When I started my jewelry business, I found I no longer had access to that same store of wisdom and encouragement. As a result, I often made the mistake of often trying to figure everything out on my own. Because I knew I still had a lot to learn as a business owner, I turned to online courses. I took a course from both Tara Gentile about building my own website, and  a course Megan Auman, who really helped me learn more about running my own creative business. (I would highly recommend both for solopreneurs looking for a good course!) I also participated in Etsy’s Bootcamp program. As far as I can tell, they no longer host that program for sellers, but it was a step-by-step program that connected Etsy sellers and helped them prep for the holiday season. Through this experience, I found another Etsy seller who became my accountability partner and helped me work through the trials of running my own business. 

These mentorship relationships were an integral part of both my corporate career and my solopreneur life. They provided me with fresh ideas, advice, and sometimes simply the support I needed to get things done!

What’s a Mentor For?

If I learned anything the hard way from my early days as a solopreneur, it’s this: don’t try to do everything yourself. There is so much I wish I had known (particularly financial stuff!) when I started my own business, and so many ways I could have benefited from the problem-solving power of two brains rather than one. I encourage you to reach out to potential mentors, particularly if  you have specific questions or don’t have expertise in some area.

Where Can I Get One?

Where you look for your mentor depends on what kind of help you need. If you’re looking for general industry advice and people to bounce ideas off of, you could turn to your business-savvy friends or perhaps befriend some people working in the same industry. When I owned my jewelry business, networking with other creative business owners was always helpful for me.

Why Every Solopreneur Needs a MentorIf you’re looking for expertise or need answers to big questions, taking an online course or seeking out a coach or specialist might be your best bet. I know I definitely would have benefited from speaking with a Profit First Professional when I first started out! If you’re looking for help in the financial department, you know where to find me. You can read more about my services and schedule a curiosity call if you’re interested!

Happy mentor-hunting! May you find the advice and energy you need.

Angela

Image Sources: My Life Through a Lens, Brooke Lark

Book Review: Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist Book Review: At Peace With MoneyThere are so many good books out there that could benefit solopreneurs and people looking to educate themselves about personal finance. I’m an avid reader myself, and lately I’ve been devouring books on the subjects of small business, finance, and retirement. I thought it may be useful to you all to hear about my reading discoveries, so I’m sharing a book review of one of my most recent reads, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. 

The Read

This is an easy read. It gets straight to the point while offering up entertaining anecdotes and doodles. It starts off with the premise that creativity is something everyone has, and that the advice contained in the books can be applied to a number of professions. Personally, I believe this is great reading material for any business owner, not just creative types. After reading, I found myself thinking creatively about my own business. 

Just Start

Kleon’s points are inspiring and motivating. One of my favorites: don’t wait until you know everything, just get started. This advice applies to business so well, and is something I’ve touched on in my writing about starting a business. Feeling the need to have everything planned or figured out can often stop solopreneurs in their tracks. Kleon encourages readers to not let this stop you, and to take up a mindset of learning as you go.

Digital Vs. Analog

Kleon also writes about how he divides his desk into digital and analog tasks and materials. He goes back and forth between the two modes very intentionally. Even if you aren’t an artist working with your hands, it is important to get away from your computer. Our brains respond differently to physical and embodied tasks. If you give your brain and body different surroundings, it is likely you will free up new ideas and insights. My favorite way to get the creative juices flowing is to take a walk through the woods with my dogevery morning. On the walk, I notice if I am not listening to podcasts or messing with my phone, I tend to come up with a lot of ideas at this time. Getting away from digital distractors is an equally important piece of the creative process.

I hope some of you are inspired to give this book a read. I definitely found it inspiring and encouraging for my own inner solopreneur!

Angela

Image Source: Austin Kleon

My Profit First Story

My Profit First Story - Angela Keller, At Peace With Money

How did I get started with Profit First? Well, prior to starting my bookkeeping business, I was a mompreneuer jewelry designer for 11 years. I had a lot of good customers, and supplied a number of retail stores with jewelry including several museums across the country. I frequently had people work for me to help put together jewelry for my orders and for individual shows. By all counts, I was successful.

There was just one problem – I never seemed to make any money. Instead, I was always spending money on more supplies, or chasing the next big order or next big venue that was going to help me make some “real money.” In reality, I’m pretty sure my employees made more than I did! When my husband and I started talking about how to pay for college for our oldest daughter, I knew I was going to have to do something else in order to bring the cash we needed.

Enter Profit First

In the process of establishing my business as a bookkeeper, I came across the book Profit First. This book was a game-changer for me; it taught me how to manage my cash in order to actually get paid as a business owner. The concepts of this book strongly resonated with the struggles I faced while running my small jewelry business.

My Profit First Story and Why I Help Solopreneurs: At Peace With Money

I know many solopreneurs and small business owners could benefit from these systems, and as a bookkeeper, I am in a great position to help make that happen. I use the Profit First system in my own business and have implemented it with some of my clients. In my own life, it’s given me the peace of mind to know I’m able to pay the college bills for our second daughter, have money available for estimated tax payments, and my SEP IRA. With my clients, particularly those with varying income, I have used the Profit First system to help them overcome challenges like repaying lines of credit, accumulating a buffer in their tax account, and creating a plan to smooth out the ups and downs of the owner’s income. 

Whether you decide to implement this system on your own, or find you need the help of an accountability partner, you need to read Profit First and start using the system. The sooner you do, the sooner you can become permanently profitable! You can download the first five chapters at the bottom of my home page, and read more about the Profit First services I offer. I know the system can help you find the profit in your business.


Angela