As a solopreneur, you’re wearing all the hats. You’re everything in the books: CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, and so on. It’s hard to imagine adding more to your full plate. But it could make all the difference in the trajectory of your business. What is it? Content creation.
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Why Solopreneurs Tend to Shy Away from Creating Content
A solopreneur doesn’t have a business if they aren’t generating leads for their product or service. It’s easy to sink money into paid ads on Google and Facebook to attract your initial customers. With the right ad frameworks, the leads flow in without a whole lot of heavy lifting.
The problem is, those leads can be iffy in terms of quality. Some are undoubtedly better than others. If the balance tips, it may feel like you’re working with more crappy leads than those which have potential. As this plays out, a solopreneur can start to understand that content creation is necessary. However, there just flat out aren’t enough hours in the day.
Dedicating to content creation as a company of one is easier than it might appear. It takes consistency and setting aside time each day to write, or delegate content tasks out to someone.
Creating Content as a Solo Entrepreneur
To consistently create content as a solo entrepreneur you have to make it a part of your day.
You only need 30 minutes a day to get a whole lot done. I ran a survey on LinkedIn of solopreneurs and small business owners recently. 71% of the respondents said they have between 30 minutes and one hour a day to dedicate to content.
If you can set aside 30 minutes a day, five days a week you can reasonably create:
1. One, 1,000-word blog post a week, or
2. Several short-form video posts a week – think 1-2 minutes, or
3. One podcast or webcast episode a week
And this assumes you’re the one doing the creation. If you want to stay as a one-person company, but occasionally contract a freelancer, spend time on delegation.
The question to ask yourself is: Are you a content creator or a strategist?
As a Solo Entrepreneur Are You a Content Creator or Strategist?
When you decide to make content creation a priority, you’re able to control your brand’s voice, image and feel. You’re not leaving how your brand is perceived up to your target audience. Instead, you’re controlling the narrative.
An important question to ask yourself is whether you want to be an executor or a strategist. If you love to write and want to be the one writing content, that’s great! Make sure you can dedicate that 30 minutes a day to writing without interruption. If you want to do some video, make sure you can dedicate 30 minutes a day to shooting without interruption.
If you can hold yourself to this standard, then it’s a great thing to execute your content. You have full control over the look, feel, and tone of the content and it’s created in your voice. If you consider yourself more of a strategist, then time will be spent outsourcing content creation and managing those creators. This arrangement is best for solopreneurs who trust their instincts in vetting people who can do quality work. Especially if you’re trying to spend as little as possible to still get a quality product to use.
Many solopreneurs are busy being executors in all other aspects of their business. Therefore, they would prefer to let another person execute content, and stand aside in a quality assurance role.
Both options are valid, productive paths to follow.
A Simple Strategy to Create Content as a Solopreneur
Being successful in making content work for you as a solopreneur is rooted in a reasonable goal setting. With the variety of tasks for which you are responsible, you need to have some small victories to keep motivated.
A great way to stay motivated is to set goals that are challenging, but reachable. Maybe that goal is shooting one video per week for social media or writing one blog post per week. A stretch goal maybe writing a blog post, shooting a short-form video for social, and a longer-form video for your YouTube channel, or something along those lines. When you start to get comfortable with the pace of content creation, you can up the stakes and begin to create more in less time.
A great way to stay consistent as a solopreneur is to time block. Sit down every Saturday or Sunday morning and block out time during the week that you’ll dedicate to content creation. Put this calendar in a place that’s visible, and hard to ignore. This visibility makes it easier to stay on task and chip away at content.
If you’re more of a strategist and aren’t going to be digging into creation, this time will be for strategy meetings with your freelancers, or to check-in and see how they’re progressing with the most recent project.
It’s also a good idea to use a free project management tool like Trello, KanbanFlow, or Asana to organize your content tasks. I use the free version of Trello for my master content calendar. I add keyword research, copy points, self-imposed due dates, and other reminders about guidelines for guest posts, etc. on each card in the swim lanes. If you’re a visual learner and like to check off boxes as you get things done – or, in this case, move cards from one swim lane to the next – I’d strongly advise using one of these sites.
Plus, it’s a good feeling to move things around once you finish something. The little victories are what make playing the long game of content creation and content marketing worth it.
If you’re going to be outsourcing the majority of content creation, there are a few great places to find high-quality freelancers.
How to Find Great Content Creators on a Shoestring Budget
There’s one undeniable fact when it comes to outsourcing content creation:
The quality you receive will equal what you’re willing to spend.
That said, there are several options to help you as a solopreneur to control costs, and acquire some quality content without breaking the bank.
Here are a few options:
1. Find writers on Express Writers or Writer Access
2. Hire writers from Scripted
3. Work your networks to find writers looking for gigs
Express Writers and Writer Access
The writers on these platforms are motivated, responsive, and professional. They’re on the platform because they’re looking to build a portfolio, or expand upon a young portfolio they have already built. Therefore, they’re ready to dig in and do the best work possible for your brand, service, or product.
All you have to do is provide the sites with a creative brief of the work you need done, and they take care of the rest. This creative brief typically includes a title, keywords you would like used, a word count expectation, voice (1st, 2nd, 3rd person), and the format in which you’d like to receive the content.
The content managers at the platform then do the heavy lifting to find a writer that matches those specifications and they get down to work. Once an initial draft is done, you have the ability to review it and offer feedback, so a first round of revisions can be done. Upon those revisions, you approve or deny the final version of the article, pay for it, and it’s yours.
You can typically expect to spend anywhere from $30-50 on the low end for a 1,000 + word article, to $100 on the high-side for something that requires more in-depth research.
Scripted is one level up from Express Writers and Writer Access.
It’s a great option for a solopreneur who has flirted a little with content previously but hasn’t dedicated to a consistent content strategy. The writers using Scripted are professionals who have been thoroughly vetted by the platform before they’re able to accept work. I’ve written for Scripted and acquired a ton of content through the platform and I can confidently say it’s the best in the business. The quality is always consistent, communication with writers is seamless, and their staff is always available if you’re having any issues or need a question answered.
You can expect to pay somewhere between $100-$250 for most articles on Scripted, but the quality is worth what you pay. The platform is especially useful when you need data-driven case studies or whitepapers created which are several thousand words and you don’t have time to do them yourself.
If you don’t have the budget to pay for content on sites like Express Writers, Writer Access and Scripted, there’s a cheaper way to go (with maybe a little more risk involved).
Find Writers in Your Existing Network and Trade Services
A cheaper route – that may involve a little more uncertainty – is to find writers in your existing network who are looking to build a portfolio, and establish trades.
Offer something where you have expertise in return for the writer creating content for you. This could be offering some career advice, marketing services, connections to high-profile people in your network, or something similar. Like you would with the platforms, you’ll need to vet out the work of these writers to make sure it’s of a decent standard before you turn over the keys. But if it is, it’s a pretty good deal to trade something of value to the writer to get some content back that’s of solid quality.
There’s no easy way to find out who would be up for this type of trade. Ultimately, it requires sending some emails or DMs on your social network of choice to feel things out, and maybe doing a post on social to see if you get any bites.
Social media’s an important aspect of content creation and content strategy as well. Picking the right social media platform to focus on can make a big difference in how your content is viewed by your target audience, and the trust it helps you to build.
Picking the Right Social Media Platform and Leaning In
As a solopreneur, your time set aside for social media is limited. This limitation is why it’s important to pick one social media platform for your content marketing strategy and lean in.
The platform you choose depends on the nature of your content.
- If your content is visual, and you’re working primarily with imagery and video, a platform like Pinterest or Instagram makes the most sense.
- TikTok helps establish a presence with Generation Z.
- If quick monetization is a priority for you, you’ll want to establish a quick and consistent YouTube presence.
- Facebook and Twitter are the best places to attract an audience in Generation X and Millennials.
Each of these platforms are great and serve the purpose of the content they’re meant to support, and the demographics that use them the most.
Regardless, they aren’t the platform I would suggest if you’re a solopreneur who’s short on time and needs a substantial return on the time you put into content.
Spend Your Time Building on LinkedIn
I’d instead recommend you fully lean in on establishing a presence on LinkedIn.
Even with recent changes to their algorithm which have decreased the once astronomical reach you could get from content, LinkedIn is still a green field. Only about 1% of LinkedIn users create content on the platform. The vast majority use it like you and I used to, as a place to warehouse a resume and occasionally do some job searching in between gigs.
With a consistent LinkedIn strategy you can establish a voice, presence and personality on the platform that naturally starts to draw interest for your brand.
There are modern companies who are using LinkedIn as a vehicle for brand development almost exclusively, and seeing some fantastic results in doing so.
If you can commit to posting daily on the platform and putting yourself out there as you build relationships, organic opportunities surface. They just do. How to approach this tactically is a subject for another day, but my recommendation stands:
Do some Google searching for how a solopreneur uses LinkedIn and give it an honest shot. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Solopreneurs who create content:
1. Control the narrative for their brand
2. Take growth into their own hands
3. Start to flip the need to spend for customer acquisition
4. Build momentum through compounding returns, and
5. Develop a skill which becomes second nature
Can you set aside 30 minutes a day for content creation?
Can you set aside 30 minutes a day to delegate creation?
I think you can.
And a year down the road when your customer acquisition costs have plummeted and your content becomes an organic lead generation machine, you’ll be glad you did.