The Top Investments Any Solopreneur Should Consider Buying
Solopreneurs face some unique challenges. While they may not be totally alone, they don’t delegate to others — meaning they constantly have to decide what to handle themselves and when.
The right tools, devices and investments can help out here — but as a solopreneur, you probably don’t have unlimited cash to spend. You should focus on only those investments that are most likely to help you build your business.
These are the key investments — the must-haves that any solopreneur should use to make their work more efficient.
1. A Strong Brand
A strong brand is an invaluable asset for any business and is especially important for solopreneurs who are trying to establish themselves and create lasting impressions. If you want to find long-term success, you should build your brand while you build your company.
You have a lot of options. Some solopreneurs almost completely outsource the branding work by partnering with a marketing agency. It will come up with the basic concept and work through the creation of logos, social media headers and other assets step-by-step.
This is a great strategy if you have cash to spend on branding and aren’t confident in your graphic design skills. Typically, these agencies can provide a lot of valuable advice and guidance — plus, you’ll also be building a professional relationship that can be helpful if you want to continue working with them in the future.
You can also hire graphic designers or similar artists as-needed for logos, banners and other digital graphics. They may help you with colors or font choices, but probably won’t assist with in-depth branding and visual identity building without additional payment.
Some solopreneurs, especially those with graphic design or artistic businesses, simply do the work of branding themselves. This is the cheapest method — and it may even be free if you already have all the necessary resources and tools.
2. A Business Desktop or Laptop
Your computer is probably one of the most valuable tech investments you’ll make as a solopreneur — with your smartphone being a close second.
However, not all computers are equal, and you’ll have to make some major decisions when buying one for your business.
To start, you may already have a personal computer that works perfectly fine for your business. In many cases, however, it’s better to invest in a separate device for your company. Having different devices can improve security and provide a more clear divide between your personal and business life.
When choosing a business computer, you have three options — desktops, laptops and workstations.
Desktops are typically cheaper and easier to repair and upgrade, but much harder to transport. You’ll also have to budget for peripherals like a monitor, keyboard and mouse, which aren’t necessary investments if you choose a laptop.
Workstations are high-powered desktops built for work that’s processing-power intensive. For example, 3D modeling, motion graphics, animation, video editing and programming can all stand to benefit from high-powered workstation PCs.
Simpler work — like word processing or data entry — probably doesn’t require a workstation, though you may find that your machine struggles to handle particularly large files.
In the last few years, many business tools have moved to hybrid or cloud models. This means much of the heavy lifting computers have done in the past has been pushed to the cloud. You don’t always need a high-powered rig for business and graphic design tools.
However, if you’re used to extra-fast computers for your work, it may be a good idea to invest in one of these workstations, rather than a lower-powered desktop or laptop.
3. Organizational Tools
As a solopreneur, you don’t have the luxury of team members and staff who can help you manage all the information you have to keep track of. Spending, income, marketing suppliers and more generate huge amounts of information you have to stay on top of.
Adopting organizational tools can go a long way in making this info much more manageable — and help you ensure that, when you need a particular receipt or budget item, you know where to find it.
4. Invoicing and Payment Management Tools
Invoicing and payment management tools make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you. They also help you keep track of individual transactions, allowing you to follow up on payment disputes and invoices that still need to be paid.
When you add a device like a mobile card reader, you’ll be unstoppable — able to start and process a transaction anywhere. These tools can be especially valuable if you don’t like managing paperwork or if you plan to be on the road often and selling goods on the go.
5. Videoconferencing Peripherals
One of the biggest benefits of videoconferencing is that it doesn’t really require advanced tech. However, investing in peripherals such as webcams, home lighting and a good microphone can make a big difference in how others perceive you over your conferencing tool of choice.
A high-quality webcam, home lighting setup with a ring light and a professional microphone can do a lot to make you seem more professional. The crystal-clear audio and video they can provide is a great way to make good impressions when you can’t see a client or customer in person.
Key Investments for Solopreneurs
The right tools, devices and investments can make a major difference for solopreneurs.
Even small upgrades — like switching from a desktop to a workstation or using invoice processing tools instead of handling them by hand — can significantly cut down on the work you have to do or the time you spend waiting.
If you have limited cash on hand, these investments are some of the best to start with.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.