Claire Gallagher, Designer and Solopreneur Strategist, comes to Hacker Valley to break down branding, visibility, and choosing solopreneurship over business ownership. Combining the terms solo and entrepreneur, solopreneurs are a different breed of business owner, and Claire has made it her mission to help them not make the same business mistakes she once made. Claire walks through the essentials of how her business caters to individuals looking to go it alone and how to make an impact while staying small.
[00:00] Introducing the concept of solopreneurship
[04:32] Shifting to business strategy to better serve a client base
[09:19] Deciding alone as a solo entrepreneur
[16:40] Pricing your work and validating your professional value
[24:46] Making peace with looking silly as a business owner
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Why did you choose to go down a path of catering to solopreneurs, versus working with enterprises or small and medium businesses?
Claire has dabbled in building teams and working in larger businesses in the past, but her calling has always brought her back to a company of one. For solopreneurs, Claire explains, it’s not that they cannot afford hiring employees or scaling their business. Instead, a solopreneur’s focus is on the balance between work and life, along with the power and experience to make their own decisions about their business.
“I'm a loud introvert. I could talk all day, but essentially, I'm kind of introverted in secret. Generally, I like to work alone, to get into a creative flow, to not have anybody to answer to. This company of one, this solopreneurship, it suits my energy and my temperament.”
What are some of the pros and cons of going it alone as a solopreneur and keeping your business small?
There are pros and cons in business, no matter the size. Claire’s strongest pro for becoming a solo entrepreneur has been her ability to pivot without impacting anyone but herself. Pivoting towards strategy was a hard decision, but it was so much easier to make on her own. Unfortunately, making decisions on one’s own can also be a con of solopreneurship. Claire has seen clients have a lack of accountability in sticking with their decisions when they don’t have anyone working with them.
“That's a pro, I was able to pivot without having to hire people, sack people, and really invest heavily in changing everything. That's a real plus, I could just pivot like that and it was a decision that I made, and I was responsible for it.”
At what point would you recommend a solopreneur, or content creator, to reach out to someone like you so they could shine in this digital world?
Although solo entrepreneurs thrive in business on their own, it’s important to never go it alone. Claire advises that early stage solopreneurs consider the community around them and build their business with a healthy curiosity in books, online resources, and virtual communities of fellow entrepreneurs. As they progress through their business, Claire also recommends connecting with a coach or strategist, like herself, to go further faster and avoid careless mistakes.
“Solopreneurs think, ‘I'm smart, I can figure this out.’ Yes, you can, but to go further faster, I think you need to work with a mentor or a coach or strategist. You're always going to get further faster by finding somebody who understands what you're trying to achieve.”
What are some of the tenants that you teach people about coming across as authentically as possible?
Branding is a vital element of content creation and business ownership. However, the current world craves branding that comes across as authentic. Claire explains that authenticity comes from a willingness to make mistakes and put yourself out there, even if it feels or looks silly the first time. If a solopreneur is honestly trying to deliver value, that will show through any first-time awkwardness or silliness and still feel authentic to potential clients.
“Starting before you feel ready is really the only way that you can start because you can't know everything until you've tried some stuff. Showing up and making mistakes and maybe seeming a little bit foolish at the start, take it. That's what's gonna happen.”
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