Running an online business (or any business) isn’t as easy as some would like you to believe. It takes work. Not just the work you do every day in (or on) your business but also the work you do on yourself. In fact, understanding who you are is critical to running a profitable and sustainable business.
I’m sure you already know that, and that’s why you’ve tried all the mindset hacks, morning routines and journaling exercises floating around on Instagram. However, you don’t seem to be getting closer to your goals. You want to create a 6-figure business, and you’ve been told all these tactics are the way to go. Still, when you think about it, you don’t know what you’re really looking for (apart from increasing your profit). How are you supposed to feel?
From what I’ve observed in myself and my clients, four feelings matter most when running a business. When you embody these four attributes rather than focus solely on your bottom line (and all the tactics), you’ll have a profitable and sustainable business.
In this post, I’ll explain the Sovereign CEO Compass™, which is part of my Soulful Systems™ Framework. I’ll describe each trait and why you need all four if you’re to step up as the CEO of your business and become a successful solopreneur.
Understanding these 4 qualities is critical to your business success.
Maybe you’ve done your fair share of personal development work over the years. Or perhaps you’ve joined many masterminds. And every action you’ve taken until now has somewhat contributed to your success so far. So reading that you can have a profitable and sustainable business by focusing on only four attributes may be a bit confronting and oversimplifying.
And maybe it is. But hear me out for a sec.
I know you don’t know the four qualities yet (unless you’ve taken a peek below…). But imagine only having four things to focus on instead of a gazillion. This isn’t to say that there are only four things to do, but everything you do in your business has to relate to one of these four attributes.
This would give you a framework to understand:
- where you may be spending more time than you should and what you can do to bring balance to your business
- what your business needs and what may be missing
- who you need to hire to complement you
In short, this would be the compass that helps you make better decisions.
So what are those four qualities?
The 4 traits of a successful solopreneur
Trait #1 – Empowered
Empowerment allows you to run your business your way.
Thich Nhat Hanh said: “In order to heal others, we first need to heal ourselves. And to heal ourselves, we need to know how to deal with ourselves.”
From a business point of view, if you don’t know how to deal with yourself and simply do what you want when you want, you won’t be able to help as many people as you’d like (or even can). Therefore, you won’t have the impact that you desire.
On the other hand, knowing yourself and how you operate will empower you to run your business your way and make faster decisions, freeing you to work with your clients.
Being empowered means that you know yourself.
- What you like and don’t like
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- The way you operate and your optimal times to complete specific tasks
You’ve acquired this self-knowledge over many years through personal development courses, coaching, self-help books and personality profiles (DISC, Myers-Briggs, Human Design, Enneagram…).
And since you have this deep understanding of yourself, you rarely rely on best practices or what others tell you you should do. You listen and take it in, but you put it through your own filters to ensure it aligns with who you are.
Empowerment alone isn’t enough.
Being empowered is a great first step. But what you do with this knowledge is also important. If you simply sit on it, then it’s not helpful. How do you translate this understanding of yourself into how you run your business so you don’t burn yourself out?
This self-knowledge may have brought forward pieces of yourself that you don’t accept. It could be because you’ve been teased about it your whole life, or maybe you have internalised some oppressive beliefs. Regardless, use this new understanding to:
- embrace this part of yourself and accept who you are
- trust your abilities
- show up as a confident person
rather than second-guessing yourself all the time and staying in the background, hoping clients will find you.
Unfortunately, this is usually not enough to build a sustainable and profitable business. It may give you the spark and courage to start your business. Still, like many solopreneurs, you may get to the realisation that self-knowledge and passion alone aren’t enough when it comes to running a business.
Trait #2 – Organised
Being organised allows you to be in flow.
Many solopreneurs resist being organised or having some structure in their business. They want to be creative and in flow all the time and believe that structure is getting in the way.
However, you can’t have flow without structure. Structure provides the boundaries and support you need to feel safe in embracing your creativity.
This is the dance of the divine masculine (structure) and divine feminine (flow) energies. One of my teachers, Maree Eddings, puts it that way: the river (flow) cannot exist without the river bed (boundaries). But the river bed isn’t rigid and doesn’t prevent the river from doing what it needs. It only provides support and direction. It moves and changes with the river as needed. It responds to the river’s needs. If there were no river bed, the river would go everywhere. It would never get to its destination – the ocean or another river. Think about what happens during floods – water everywhere with no direction.
The same goes for your business. Without structure, your creativity might take you in many directions but never to the one place you want to get to.
Being organised doesn’t mean being rigid.
It means having clear guidelines about certain things in your business so you can let go and not think about it all the time.
For example, having a clear folder system in your Google Drive with colours and naming conventions, so you don’t always ask yourself, “where do I save this?”. Without this, you may save all your files in your root folder, which has essentially become a dumping ground for everything. Therefore, you can never find what you need when you need it, and it’s getting in the way of your flow and creativity instead of supporting you.
Organisation isn’t limited to your Google Drive. It encompasses all the information you rely on to run your business. It also relates to the boudaries you set for yourself and your clients.
Organisation alone isn’t enough.
Being organised will only get you so far. It may make you feel in control. It may even make you feel productive. But when you look at it closely, what you’ve done is just another to-do list, and you haven’t achieved much. It may even have gotten in the way of getting results.
Over the years, you may have tried to be more organised and bought various courses to help you with it. But it never really worked, reinforcing your self-belief that you’re a disorganised person. The problem is that you’ve been copying someone else’s system without adapting it to your way of working (that’s where empowerment comes in).
Finally, there seems to be a lot of confusion between “being organised” and “prioritising”. I believe the two are different, and you can’t plan or prioritise well without being intentional.
Organise your Google Drive once and for all
Learn simple action steps you can take today to declutter, organise and maintain your Google Drive so it never goes out of control ever again.
Trait #3 – Intentional
From hustling to intentionally productive
You may have started your business with a long list of things to do, and you never seem to get to the bottom of it. If anything, you’ve kept adding to it and created more unreachable goals as you follow more successful entrepreneurs on social media. In this process, you’ve lost sight of what your business is.
It feels like you’re constantly busy and working on things, but when you take a step back and look at what you’ve accomplished, you’re not any closer to your goals than when you started.
So, imagine if, instead of hustling, you were more discerning with where your spend your time and energy. What if you’re intentional with what you do in your business so that you’d only spend time, energy and money on the tasks that would bring you closer to your goals.
Everything you do in your business contributes to your broader vision.
You no longer do things because you “have to” but because you “want to”.
Despite the name, it isn’t just about setting intentions. It’s about setting intentions that align with your bigger vision and then living by those through your work, how you show up and the decisions you make.
It means you plan your work with your business vision and goals in mind, as well as your health and your other needs. This way, you can be productive without burning out. You also reach a sense of fulfilment at the end of the day instead of more self-loathing for not completing everything on your to-do list.
Intentionality alone isn’t enough.
To be intentionally productive and avoid burning yourself out, you need to know yourself and your strengths. This way, you know when something requires more time or energy because it’s not your forte or not the right season. For example, writing may not be one of your strengths. Having that awareness allows you to allocate more time to that tasks. If you’d been aware but not intentional, you might have been tempted to cram your writing session between two meetings.
The same goes for being intentional but not organised. You may have intentionally set aside 2 hours to write an email (knowing it’s not your strength). Still, instead of writing, you spend more time looking for old ideas because you don’t remember where you saved them.
Trait #4 – Confident
Confidence in your offers will help spread the word about your work.
Everything I’ve shared so far has been about you and the backend of your business. But to make your business profitable, you need to offer something and get paying clients. And that’s where the fourth characteristic – confidence – comes in.
When you’re confident in the value you deliver, you don’t second-guess yourself and have no trouble sharing your offers. The more you talk about what you do, the more people you’ll reach. They may not all be ideal clients, but the word will spread faster than if you don’t talk about it at all.
Additionally, when you speak confidently about your offers rather than apologetically, you inspire confidence in others, making them more likely to check out what you do and share it with their friends.
Confidence isn’t limited to extroverts.
Although we often associate confidence with extroversion, introverts can be confident, too. Confidence stems from knowledge and trust. Therefore, if you know, trust and believe in your core that what you offer changes people’s lives, then you’ll have no trouble talking about it, whether or not you’re an introvert.
Your environment is what impacts your confidence. If you’re an introvert like me, showing up on Reels on Instagram may be out of your comfort zone. However, you could easily chat with your best friend about your business for hours.
Confidence is something that you can cultivate and grow. You may start small by only chatting to people you feel comfortable with. As you become more comfortable with how to share your work, you find you’re able to talk to more people. Before you know it, you start messaging people privately on social networks to introduce yourself and create new conversations.
Confidence alone isn’t enough.
Confidence and your ability to create new connections may bring you clients. Still, your lack of organisation means that things aren’t running smoothly behind the scenes. If you had to describe your business, you’d likely say, “it’s a mess” because you can never find what you need or feel you’re making little progress.
Besides, you may be spreading yourself thin by focusing all your efforts on social media and marketing and leaving little time to run your business. You’re not being intentional with your time and your energy and you’re slowly burning yourself out.
Your evolution as a solopreneur
As I’m sure you’ve realised by now, it’s not about being one over the other. Being empowered isn’t better than being confident. Each attribute is required to help you run a profitable and sustainable business. You need all four aspects to be in balance.
If one (or more) of these qualities is missing or severely underused, your business risks being chaotic. That’s when things feel hard.
You’re constantly evolving as a solopreneur and as a human being. You learn more about yourself and the way you work every day. You may realise that writing in the morning doesn’t work for you anymore.
What you do with this new learning is up to you.
The same goes for this framework. This is just a high-level description of each attribute. But they do have some nuances, and they’ll differ based on where you’re at on your business journey.
Your compass for running a sustainable business
Running an online business takes more than a brilliant idea and a passion for changing the world. From my experience of running my business and supporting others to do the same, I’ve identified four essential qualities you need to run a profitable and sustainable business.
Think of these four qualities as your compass. Everything you do in your business has to make you move forward in one of these four directions. If it doesn’t, then you may want to reconsider your actions.
These four qualities (or what I’ve called The Sovereign CEO Compass™) work as a whole. As one becomes more substantial, you can adjust the others and uplevel yourself and your business each time. If you don’t and instead favour one trait over another, you’ll risk making your business hard to run. If your business isn’t running as smoothly as you’d like, you may embody one quality more than the others.
Want to learn how to use this framework so you can run an easeful, profitable and impactful business? Join us in Soulful Systems™ School and learn how to build systems that work for you.
Soulful Systems™ School
Are you a highly sensitive solopreneur who wants to lead an impactful, easeful and profitable business?
Join us in Soulful Systems™ School to learn how to build a simple, yet potent, systems suite that work for you and your unique brain so that you can finally run your business with ease, fun and flow.
This is Part #2 of my Soulful Systems™ Framework. In Part #3, I share the Soulful Systems™ Sequence that shows you what systems to focus on to create a sustainable online business.