Tell us a little about the person behind the business?
I’m known as Terri Z, The Solo-CEO! I’ve been a home based solo entrepreneur for over 10 years now, which helps me balance work with my life as a wife, mom of two teenagers (and two dogs), and singer (barbershop 4-part a capella).
And now a little about the business itself?
When I started out as a solo entrepreneur, there were few resources specifically for solo business owners (no employees), and lots of dubious, hype-y internet marketing websites and products. Solo-E was designed to help solo entrepreneurs find Experts they can trust, who offer time-tested guidance on how to be a successful solopreneur.
How did you come up with your business name?
Actually, the name and the website originally belonged to someone else – SoloEntrepreneur.com. I shortened it to Solo-E.com because entrepreneur can be pretty darn hard to spell!
What made you want to begin a work at home business and how did you get started?
I was laid off in the dot-com bust in 2001. I’d been doing internal consulting in my job, so it seemed natural to keep doing consulting. Plus, I’d been telecommuting for 2 years, which I enjoyed, so I definitely wanted to work from home. I quickly decided I’d had enough of big business, found it hard to target medium-sized businesses, and finally settled on working with people like me that liked working on their own terms, but were having difficulty building a sustainable business. I bought the original idea and website from another solo entrepreneur, did a lot of experimentation, and finally hit on a profit model that worked.
I love hearing from other solo entrepreneurs who have had success due to resources they found at Solo-E. My husband is still employed so it’s a constant reminder of the often idiotic decisions made in big businesses, and the impact that has on employees who fear losing their jobs…and sacrifice their family and lives in the process.
In my mind, it’s your life, health and family that is important…work should be able to be prioritized after that, not before!
How do you advertise your business and which methods have proven more successful?
I’ve tried paid advertising on other sites, but I’ve found it to not be very cost-effective. My best advertising is word-of-mouth and alliances/JVs with other solo entrepreneurs. I also participate in co-registration, which is a system I run for myself and my clients, which has also been very successful.
How do you juggle your family and your work at home business? Any tips for other home based women entrepreneurs?
I’m very clear on my official office-hours, although you’ll often find me online late at night after the kids are in bed. Having a smart-phone to check email keeps it from getting backlogged if I’m away from my laptop, although I don’t use it for social media. I purposely designed my business so it doesn’t require a lot of my hours on the phone; I have a fairly large staff of solo entrepreneurs that help me with everything from social media, writing our newsletter, updating the website and answering inquiries, to handling big technical issues and managing me! I’d be lost without my team
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a home based business?
First, make sure you have enough money to live on for 6-18 months, depending on how fast you are ready to start, plus some money to invest in training. If you’ve never had a WAH business, you are going to need to learn how to market yourself — and that can be very tough. You are also going to need to quickly invest in help with tasks that you don’t do well or don’t like, because trying to do it all yourself is a recipe for failure!