The Three Paths of Solopreneurship: Wait to Respond – Funnel Hustle – and The Middle Way of Authentic Business

In my 13 years of business, I’ve noticed 3 ways to approach solopreneurship:

Wait to Respond

The way that most service providers do it is to just wait for random word-of-mouth. You might get a few clients a year, if you’re lucky. Some of them might be a great fit, and some will not be. 

Why? Because starting a business is, understandably, so overwhelming as well as confronting (to one’s self-esteem) that sometimes, avoiding marketing is all we feel we can do.

Yet, with this path, it can take 10 or 15 years (maybe longer) to have enough client experience to be confident in your work. Or to finally get so tired of waiting that you decide to swing to the other side and try to follow a business strategy. 

You might then get sold into the typical marketing approach, which is… 

Funnel Hustling

A "funnel" in the marketing sense can be seen as a way to guide unsuspecting consumers through a carefully crafted process to convince them to make a purchase. 

The term "hustle" has various definitions – to work yourself to the bone, to persuade or convince someone, or to acquire money often by unscrupulous means.

Therefore, what I’m calling “funnel hustling” (the mainstream way of approaching solopreneurship), is to hustle hard to create a funnel that’s supposed to get you clients or make money easily.

What’s involved? Clarifying audience personas so that you can speak to the emotional drivers that make them want to buy. You do this through persuasive copywriting and visual design and branding that makes the potential client salivate. You’ll probably spend lots of money trying to do all of that, to try to charm and enroll people. Maybe you’ll even make promises in your marketing that you aren’t confident about keeping.

With this way, if you’re lucky, you’ll make money – but it feels tenuous – and even so, the profit isn't there because you've spent so much money on consultants and freelancers and systems. 

This path exhibits these traits…

  • Artificial
  • Trying to be instantly impressive
  • Fixed mindset
  • Very costly
  • Huge risk

This mindset falls for the ads that promise that if certain funnels are set up, the system will work for you like an ATM machine: you’ll be able to earn as much money as you want. You just need to spend more on the marketing. 

What I’ve seen from this camp is mostly costly failures… 

Sadly, mainstream marketing is basically this path. Most solopreneurs with slick-looking websites and polished social media brands feel like they’re putting up a wall to hide behind – to hide their authentic visibility.

The Middle Way

The third (and middle) way is to actively and intentionally walk the path of the growth mindset in your marketing. 

With the understanding that your potential is unlimited, you practice intentionally, you show up consistently, aiming to grow your skills of creativity and service. To keep getting better over time.

To have this way be sustainable requires a dedication to joyful productivity.

With the middle path, your growth is more manageable. You can keep the promises you make in your marketing. You can be more intentional about whom you take on, and you'll have more inquiries than the path of just waiting. 

Some might call this the path of "marketing enlightenment". It’s a state of not caring about things that we ought not to give a [ __ ] about, such as what people think of us, or trying to project a puffed up version of ourselves. 

This is the path that I teach. We aim to focus on the personal growth within the actions we take for our business. It feels more organic and sustainable than the Funnel Hustling path.

Again, it’s about consistently showing up, practicing your authentic expression, and practicing your heartfelt service to humanity. This builds trust over time with your audience. And with yourself.

In this path, we’re always investigating two questions:

  • What content am I putting out there that my ideal audience finds most interesting?

  • What offers am I putting out there that clients find most exciting and helpful?

With continued practice of increasing your skillfulness in these areas, you gradually become so good that your ideal audience can no longer ignore you. No matter how many times in the past they’ve scrolled past your content or offers, eventually, your presence becomes so resonant for them, and the word of mouth so strong, that they will have to take a serious look.

By taking this path day-to-day, step-by-step, you are becoming stronger and more resilient. You are becoming more of a master of authentic business.