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Solo-entrepreneurs – how are your management skills?

9 Jun 2010 | Business Life, Personal Productivity

Our Busy Mums topic today was all about strengths, as inspired by strategist and author Marcus Buckingham and a talk he gave a few years ago at the Global Leadership Summit.

Marcus spoke about how the chief responsibility of a manager is to turn people’s talents into performance, and that great managers find what’s unique about their people and capitalize on it. They focus on developing each person’s strengths and are genuinely committed to their individual growth, dreams aspirations.

The talk was from an organisational perspective, looking primarily at large businesses. As a solo entrepreneur who works with small businesses and individuals, I started thinking about how this applies to those of us who don’t have teams of people to manage.

For those of us who only have one person to manage, how well do we do that?

A lot came up in the discussion, which gives me an opportunity to do my first blog series.

1. Do we capitalise on what we’re really good at?

So the idea is take what you’re good at and build your business round it. Simple right? Most people who go freelance start up to do just that. Then there’s all that other stuff, the ‘business’ side of doing business – the finances, paperwork, marketing, sales or technology.

Often a funny mentality sets in when you set up in business working for yourself, where all of a sudden you decide you have to do everything yourself. You have to learn how to keep books, file tax returns, write marketing copy, build websites, perfect sales pitches, master stock control, stay on top of paperwork – oh and do what you went into business to do in the first place.

A bit like becoming a mother, and suddenly expecting yourself to a) get everything done all of the time and b) do it all to supreme standards – from organic cook and super nanny to swimming teacher, artistic genius, master baker and fairy godmother.

The thing is, some of us love being creative with product and balk at the sales pitch. Some are confident speakers and technophobes. And when we’re working in our weaker areas it takes much more of our energy, time and resources.

Marcus suggests applying the 80/20 rule, that 80% of our focus should be on our strengths and 20% on our weaknesses. But I wonder how many feel it’s closer to 20/80?

How is your business time and attention split? 80/20, 50/50? Drop me a line in the comments box below and tell me how you’d prefer it to be.

More to come on management skills for solopreneurs: dreams, performance reviews and damage control…


  1. Naomi Richards

    I am not sure what my rule is. I play to my strengths – try to and focus on the work that I love doing and find easier to do. I also go with my gut when it goes to projects.

  2. Kate Beddow

    Great blog Grace, handy reminder of what we discussed. I am trying so hard and gave out 20 business cards last night! I am determined not to go off the boil this time! Thank you for leading with compassion and love x

  3. Grace Marshall

    Thanks for your comments Kate and Naomi. I think there’s a lot to be said for going with your gut feeling. I’ve heard several great business speakers say that intuition is more valuable than intellect.


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About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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