TEE #038 The Many Hats of a Solo EntrepreneurDec 09, 2023
Read time: 3 minutes
When you're running your own business solo, you have to wear many different hats to make it work. As the sole founder and employee of SJ Etsy Queen's multiple Etsy shops selling personalised wall art prints, personalised labels, greeting cards, sweets and chocolate, as well as my new artisanal chocolate business, I'm playing multiple roles every single day.
As the creative force behind each business, I'm constantly dreaming up new product ideas, designing logos and branding, and developing my skills to produce quality items. For the Etsy shops, I taught myself digital illustration for the prints, card design techniques, and confectionery to be able to craft beautiful personalised artwork, unique greetings and delicious handmade treats to sell. And for the chocolate business, I've been perfecting my chocolate tempering and moulding techniques. Being the sole creator means I make all design and production decisions, which is challenging but allows me to build the businesses I envision.
With no marketing team behind me, the task of building my brands and attracting customers falls completely on my shoulders. I handle the social media accounts for all my businesses, making posts showcasing new products, running ad campaigns and engaging with customers online. I also build my email subscriber list, create sales funnels, and leverage tools like SEO and influencer collaborations. As the solo marketer, I get creative in finding affordable ways to spread the word.
The Customer Service Rep
When you sell directly to consumers, customer enquiries and issues pop up constantly. As the one-woman customer service department, I personally handle every Etsy conversation with buyers, wholesale client emails and chocolate shop visitor questions. It can be tiring managing communication across multiple platforms every day, but seeing high customer satisfaction makes it worthwhile. My responsiveness and attention to each customer has built loyalty and many repeat buyers.
With money coming in and going out of a few different businesses, tracking finances takes organisation and an analytical eye. I monitor cash flow, reconcile income and expenses, evaluate profit margins and make decisions about pricing and inventory levels. Doing my own accounting and bookkeeping rather than hiring out saves money in the short term, but also means I've got to crunch numbers daily and prepare multiple tax filings yearly.
The Cleaner and Handy(wo)man
When you don’t have an office manager or dedicated cleaning service, you have to take care of your own spatial needs. For my Etsy workshops and chocolate shop, I’m maintenance manager, facilities technician, janitor and cleaning crew all wrapped into one. I assemble shelving, troubleshoot equipment like printers and tablets, clean counters and floors, take out rubbish and handle all sorts of odd jobs as they pop up. It’s not glamorous, but it’s critical for smooth operations.
Juggling so many responsibilities myself means the success and growth of my businesses utterly depends on my own hard work and perseverance. While it can be an immense challenge, the creative freedom and deep satisfaction I get from nurturing my entrepreneurial dreams make all the long hours worthwhile. My solo operation may need an army of help behind the scenes, but for now, I’m proudly a one woman show!
If you're starting a solo venture, don't be afraid to outsource tasks that fall outside your core competencies. Virtual assistants, freelancers and agencies can help fill skill or bandwidth gaps while you focus on your strengths!
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
If you're still looking for traction in your Etsy business, I'd recommend starting with one of the following:
1. → My Free Etsy Workshop: Perfect for you if you are just starting out on Etsy. Learn how you can turn your creative passions into cash to earn your first £1000 on Etsy.
2. → Join my Free Community: Successful Etsy Entrepreneurs is a Facebook community filled with creative people just like yourself all looking to grow their inline businesses.
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