The Limits of 10X Growth for Solopreneurs
At some point, the 10X rule stops working if you are a Solopreneur.
Say you are an artist, writer, blogger, YouTuber, musician, designer, tutor, baker, and so on. (Someone without the long leverage of new technology or capital. Which would be most of us.)
Say you just published your first blog or released your first song. Or you printed your first t-shirt design. Or wrote the first chapter of your book. Or, recorded the first podcast. Or, sold the first bracelet through Etsy.
Say you get some interests. You get some sales. You see some tractions. A glimmer of hope. A tribe of like-minded humans. A possibility of a business of your own. Someday.
The 10X Growth Rule
The 10X growth rule would mean: 1 x 10 = 10 blogs/songs.
(i.e. 10 times more profit or paying customers or fans)
You do the second round of 10X rule. You work hard, you get professional. You invest your own money into your venture. You take a shot on yourself.
10 x 10 = 100 blogs/songs
(i.e. you are definitely having some sales and some notoriety)
You do a third iteration of the 10X rule.
100 x 10 = 1000 blogs or vlogs or songs or designs or books (chapters/stories)?
As you can see, it’s getting harder now. You are definitely playing in the middle of the bell curve. You have found a product-market fit. You have data. You have insights from the mistakes you have made.
You know what’s working and what will not work. But you are at your full capacity.
Still a Solopreneur
The truth is you are still a Solopreneur. You are still hustling. On your own. You are doing okay but you don’t know if you will make it through the end of this “hustle tunnel”.
You have high hopes but you also have doubts. You need capital. You need miracles. You need grace.
Because the 10X rule will not work for you anymore. Not unless you take on VC money or a bank loan and hire a bunch of people. (Because you need a bigger pool of customers. You need more demand from your existing customers. And, all this takes money. Something you don’t have, yet.)
And though all of that is possible, and you know you can do it, the questions remain, will you make it BIG after the next 10X?
What does it look like after the fourth iteration of 10X growth?
Let’s apply it to your business or blog or fanbase. Let’s calculate:
1000 x 10 = 10,000 blogs/customers/podcasts/products/so on
Though the 10K mark looks impressive, it may not be enough. So you need to make a critical decision now. Should you grow and take outside money and build a team.
Or, should you keep it running your business/project as a hobby? (After all, 1000 true fans is all you need, according to Kevin Kelly.)
A Mediocre Success is Worse
If you stay at the 1000 mark, you are playing in the long tail of everything. You won’t have the financial freedom this way. You will NEVER be able to quit your day job. You will never be financially and emotionally independent. You will never own your own calendar. You will never realize your dreams!
But, if you take a leap of faith and go for the next phase of growth, you will be tested by everything and everyone. The market will test you. Your family will test you. Your customers will test you. Your faith in your idea will test you.
You’ll have to work incredibly hard. You’ll have to cut all distractions. You will have to get dead-serious. You’ll need all the faith and hope that you can muster. You need all the allies and friends and partners that you can make. You’ll need an incredible amount of patience and inner calm or your ship will burn midway.
Say, you are able to cross the chasm. Say you make it through. Now, you have won the trust of your investors, partners, family, your customers, and fans, and above all, your own self.
Now you feel bolder. Maybe even a little aggressive. You are thinking the unthinkable. You are thinking of the 5th phase of 10X growth.
10,000 x 10 = 100,000
At this point, it makes sense to go all in. After all, if you can command a size this significant in any market or niche, you will always have positive cash flow.
You are no longer a Soloprenuer. You have a business. Your team size may be very small, but you definitely have made it. You may quit your day job now. You may decide to do this for the rest of your life.
You have grown as a person. You have grown a business that brings in net profit. You have survived which 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs won’t. And above all, you are just getting started.
Actually, (and paradoxically), it gets easier from here. You can take on more investments. You can grow your team by a factor of 10. And you can actually go shoot for a 6th and maybe even 7th phase of 10X rule.
In phase 6, you are at a million mark. In phase 7, you are at 10 million mark.
However, the question remains, will you or your business/platform/paying customers/etc. get to the 4th growth phase?
Can you transition from 1,000 to 10,000? If you are a Solopreneur? Can you pull in $100,000 in profits (or even in revenues)?
If the market is showing the signs, then you should go all in. Because this is the hardest jump you’ll ever make on your journey to being a successful entrepreneur.
But first, you must find your 1000 true fans. Take as much time it takes to get to this point. It will be worth it in the end.
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