I had a chance to interview, Solo Business Coach and Entrepreneur, Trish Lambert recently. Trish has decades of experience as an entrepreneur and was leveraging remote and distributed work teams long before it became the new work model. She has a particular passion for solo business owners to which she devotes, Success in Sweatpants a division of her long standing business, 4R Marketing. In this 2-part interview Trish shares her passion for solos and offers some words of wisdom for solo business owners.
Your practice focuses on solo business owners, what drew you to this segment of the business community?
A mix of things. For one thing, I became a solo business owner for the second time in 2005, having finally run metaphorically screaming from the corporate world. I know I’m not alone in finding corporate life stifling and unsatisfying, and I have great empathy with other “defectors.” Second, I have probably hit every pitfall and pothole in the process of building my business, and I would like to help other solo business owners avoid at least some of those as a result of my coaching. Another thing is that I think solo business owners are taken advantage of, whether unintentionally or on purpose, by a lot of business experts who are more interested in their own fame and wealth than in following through on the claims they make to attract clients. I want to offer an alternative that delivers on its promises.
What are the key differences between solo business owners and other small business owners?
I think that the key difference is in their objectives. The solo business owners I work with intend to stay solo. They will certainly delegate parts of the business to subcontractors, but they have no desire to hire employees, have a big office, or stockpile inventory. They want to stay solo and maintain a lot of agility in their businesses. They want to have what I call a 360-degree life—that is, they want their businesses to fold seamlessly into the other parts of their lives. Small business owners, for the most part, have different objectives. They may be building something to pass along to the next generation, for example. Small businesses are not as agile as solo businesses because they have an infrastructure with employees, capital equipment, business loans and other things that limit their range of movement in the marketplace.
What do you think 2011 holds in store for small and solo business owners?
I wish I could say that I think we are going to get out of the hole we’ve been in. After all, “they” have said that the recession is over. If that is true, that’s great, but I think it will take some time to trickle down to us. I think the best approach to 2011 for small and solo businesses is to expect another year of the same, and take the right actions to stay in business. If things get better, that is excellent, but I think we need to err on the conservative side.
What are the key things that solos can do right now to prepare for a strong 2011?
This is the time of year when I encourage people to look really closely at their books. What can they do now to ensure that there won’t be a revenue dip in the holiday season or a lull in January? What expenses can they pare down or eliminate so that they are more streamlined financially?
I also encourage people to review their marketing activities. How effective are they? What needs to be changed or dumped? What needs to be added? Can you get more creative in your marketing? Put plans in place to have a big marketing push after the holidays, because people are in “renewal” mode then and they may be more likely to purchase products and services that they would either not buy or would waffle about at other times of the year.
Do you have questions for Trish? Please ask away or add to the discussion in the comments. Trish is currently running a contest for solo business owners and in part II she will share the behind the scenes experience and the lessons learned from developing and executing a contest. I hope that you’ll not only enter the contest but come back and read part II of the interview.
Trish Lambert is a solo business coach and entrepreneur. Her coaching helps solo business owners to stop spinning their wheels and produce the right results in their business. A fervent believer in no gimmicks, just RESULTS, she helps solos to move forward toward their goals.