I like the word Solopreneur. Obviously, it’s based on Entrepreneur, but the term distinguishes itself by suggesting that the subject works alone. True, not all entrepreneurs have employees but, increasingly, there’s a class of worker who not only doesn’t have employees, but doesn’t intend to have employees or to grow their business in a traditional sense. They’re happy flying solo, as experts in their chosen field, and can be hired as freelancers and sole proprietors to complete one or a series of tasks.
I would describe myself as a solopreneur; I run my business solo, doing everything from business development to outreach, client management, and design work (start-to-finish) myself. I love it. I’ve been asked many times why I haven’t brought on employees in the 10+ years I’ve been doing this, and it’s because, simply, I love doing everything myself, and that’s more important to me than growing my business in that way. I love knowing all the bits-and-pieces of my business up close, and having my fingers in multiple pies. I like changing gears throughout the day because it means I’m never bored.
So, what does that mean when it comes to designing websites for solopreneurs? How do I take my own experience, and the experiences of my clients, and translate that into a website that helps meet their business goals? There are a few things I consider essential when it comes to creating solopreneur websites:
- Make sure your expertise is clear. People need to understand straightaway what you do. And not in a vague way — you need to connect with actual potential clients by listing out specifics. Here’s my intro, for example: “Designing & building great WordPress author websites for publishers, authors, and book promotion: Kate creates sites that are clean, easy-to-use and goal-oriented so that her clients have a successful platform to support what they love to do.” That’s a nice formula you can use for this: “I do _____, for _____, so that they can _____.”
- Give examples. No matter what you do, whether it’s writing, photography, law, illustration, or something else, show examples of your work. You don’t have to show everything you’ve ever done, of course, but pick out the best examples that back up what you do so that prospective clients can see for themselves.
- Back up your claims. There’s little you can say for yourself that’s better than what happy clients will say for you. Gather testimonials from your clients and use them on your website. I recommend placing them contextually on your site, so that they are strategically placed next to examples of the kind of work they discuss. For example, if someone’s given you a great testimonial about how easy you are to work with, put that on your About page. If someone’s given you a testimonial about how what you delivered is world-class, then put that next to the description of your services. When you work for yourself, building confidence in prospective clients about your skills is really important.
- Make your website work for you. Maybe there are questions you get over-and-over again as part of running your business — consider putting those questions and their answers on your site, so you can direct people there. If you can put your prices online, do so, so that you can rule in (or out!) prospective clients who would never be a good fit for you based on their budget. Set up your site so that it’s working for you 24/7, saving you time and money.
- Make it super easy to get in touch. If you want people to get in touch with you to kickstart the process of working together, don’t make them work for it. Put your contact details — or provide links to your Contact page — throughout your website. If there’s information you need from someone to kickstart your on-boarding process, ask for it on your Contact page, so you can jump right in with your initial communication.
The last thing I’ll add is to emphasize how important it is to work smart on your website project. If you’ve got multiple plates spinning, you don’t have time to be inefficient when it comes to planning your site. Keep things simple, and don’t get distracted by website elements that don’t help you meet your business goals & are difficult to maintain. I tell clients all the time, “The more complicated you make something, the more complicated it’ll be.” That applies not only for the creation of the site, but also the maintenance; you don’t have to sacrifice beauty or functionality with a simple website, you just have to be a bit more ruthless with what meets your criteria for being included.
As a solopreneur, your small business website is a mainstay of your business. It will help you attract new clients and make it easier to interface with existing clients, so consider the 5 tips above when developing your strategy for success.