Solopreneurs make their way in the world by running their own businesses without the benefit of employees. This empowers them to become flexible and versatile. However, a common staple of the solopreneur existence is their reliance on “platform” organizations to deliver a larger volume of work for them to do.
Platform organizations are those businesses designed to connect freelance workers with businesses needing particular services. For example, Business Marketing Engine (BME) connects clients with writers, social media promoters, marketers, and more. Different platforms provide different benefits to ensure both clients and workers come away satisfied. In turn, they take a percentage of the client’s payment and pass down a percentage to the workers. Again, each platform offers different ratios depending on the nature of the business. Some, like BME, understand and emphasize the importance of quality, whereas others race to the bottom with questionable talent at rock-bottom prices.
One of three things usually happens when a freelancer starts to work through a new platform organization. She may find the platform to be unsatisfactory for any of a myriad of reasons. He may find the platform quite satisfactory and use the platform as a stable source of income to add to his other income streams. Or she may discover something unexpected.
Recently, I encountered some of that “unexpected” potential. Somewhere in the past, I applied as a potential copywriter for Copywriter Today. The timing was off, so I forgot about them. Then, a few weeks ago I was contacted to see if I would be interested in social media promotion. I was working that opportunity for about a week when I was contacted to see if I would be interested in their partner affiliate opportunity. I was exploring their partner dashboard, when I asked a question via email. In the email, I included some context-setting information about myself, including a brief description of my marketing background. A couple of phone calls and several emails later, I agreed to start on Monday, March 28th as their new Sales, Marketing, and Partner Director. Like I said, I encountered something unexpected!
Due to the way BME is organized, I’m still an independent contractor. I’m still a solopreneur. But I’ve contracted to do more work with more responsibility than I’ve ever had the opportunity to do for a single client. In fact, I get to put almost all of my marketing skills to work! I get to enjoy all the creative fun of my consultation work (generating ideas, creating plans, formulating strategies), with one major exception—I get to work as part of the inside team that implements those ideas, plans, and strategies, too! Actually, the one thing I won’t be doing much of is writing, but I do get to do some of that as well.
This would never have been possible if I wasn’t willing to try the social media promotion position. This would never have been possible if I wasn’t willing to step up to the partner affiliate position. This would never have been possible if I wasn’t willing to put myself out there and see where these opportunities could take me, while simultaneously being honest about who I am, what I can do, and what I’m looking for.
Not all solopreneurs are looking to take this kind of leap, but all of the really wonderful possibilities solopreneurship has to offer happens because someone took some kind of leap to some unknown point of possibility. Don’t be afraid to embrace the unexpected. A full-time, long-term commitment isn’t required. Just take a leap and trust in your parachutes (alternate income streams) to catch you if things don’t work out.