How to spend energy, stay focused and set goals as a solopreneur

Fun fact: today I’m taking the train home to spend the long weekend in Ottawa.

As many of you know I’m based in Toronto, but was born and raised in Ottawa (about a 4 hour drive/train).

Anyway, while I’ll be spending most of the weekend with family, we still have lots on the work plate during the week.

Mainly, refocusing and recalibrating Visto.

Why, you might ask?

Two reasons – first, because it’s been almost 2 months since we launched our immigration platform and felt like it was a good amount of time to have some key takeaways to act on.

Second, because we spent some time evaluating a few opportunities in related spaces but ultimately decided to double down on what we do best.

If you’re like me, you might catch yourself getting interested in other business models or opportunities that pop up, especially if they’re strongly related or connected to your current focus.

In our case, we looked into a few because some clients were asking about related services. Some of them seemed lucrative and tempting, although ultimately we decided timing wasn’t right.

Mainly because so far, our launch has gone really well. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Or maybe in the tech world, it should be: if it ain’t broke, scale it?

That’s not to say you should never branch into related services, industries, offers, whatever – but for us, our platform is still so new that we want to figure out how to scale 1 of our offers before we branch out too wide and get pulled in too many directions with too few resources.

Maybe you can relate, or maybe you’re better at putting on the blinders…

Either way, there’s something to be said about being really good at staying extremely focused. It’s an early takeaway in the current book I’m reading about one of the most well-known investors of the 20th century (that I’ll share in another blog post).

In terms of focus, it’s also important to keep in mind the energy you’re spending on the business – when you want to be full steam ahead, while in other times, when you need to slow things down a bit.

In our case, we were full steam ahead for months on end to build and launch our b2b tech platform, but when it launched in mid February, we took our foot off the gas a bit.

Firstly, because we needed to slow things down or we’d risk burnout (especially our developers, who were working long hours for 4+ months straight), and secondly, to carefully onboard our first users, make sure the tech was working properly, fix what wasn’t, and get feedback from those users.

Less proactive, more reactive, you could say.

And as you can see, totally dependent on what stage you’re at. For example, if you are brand new, you might want to take it slower to research your market, design a product, etc. But if your new product or service is crushing it and nothing needs to be changed, you might want to throw gas on the fire and try to go to the moon.

The key is knowing when to put the pedal to the metal and when to pull back.

After about a month and a half of sitting back, fixing, touching up and listening to users, now we have our plan of attack that we want to pounce on.

So we had a few team discussions, Alex and I (our CTO) had a good chat to narrow down our 3 key focuses and North Star, and now we can plan our weeks accordingly with those focuses in mind.

It’s usually good practice to do something like that every few quarters, or if you’re ever feeling lost, confused or struggling with your solopreneur business too.

From my experience at least – because it can be easy to lose focus as a solopreneur, so taking even a day to refocus can be hugely beneficial!

With those key focuses set, it also makes it much easier to game-plan from day to day.

That’s one of the reasons why if I’m ever feeling lost as a solopreneur (which we all do once in a while), I take a step back and refocus.

Figuring out what to do everyday can be difficult as a solopreneur, especially with no bosses to answer to. But if you know the key 2-3 focuses and goals for your solopreneur business, the rest becomes much easier.

I think of goal setting in business as a waterfall.

First, set the major goals for the company overall (no more than 2-3).

Next, set the major goals for the next 6-12 months.

From there, it’s much easier to schedule your key focuses this week, and keep working backwards to decide what to do today, this morning, etc.

I guess to summarize, if you don’t know what to do in a micro sense, step back and first decide what the macro is – that will help guide your micro decisions.

At least it has for me…

Do you agree? Disagree? Hope this helps either way, and if you want my solopreneur updates straight to your inbox each day, sign up for my email list here!

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