5 Tips to Turn Your Passion into Profit: Solopreneur Success With Amber Toal

5 Tips to Turn Your Passion into Profit: Solopreneur Success With Amber Toal

Ready to strike out and scale up?

In this new series of Nexstand chats, we sat down with the wonderful Amber Toal, founder of Think Black Box Marketing to get her 5 point plan to solopreneur success.

Her leap from a stable Director of Marketing position to establishing her own marketing consultancy and travelling the world is what most digital nomad newbies dream of.

And we’re here to help you make those big dreams a reality (or at least get you ready for the jumping point!)

So grab a cuppa, and notebook because we’re covering everything a budding solopreneur needs: from how to position yourself in the market, to networking in a meaningful way that actually makes a difference.

Whether you’re ready to leave office life for good or want to scale up your freelance role, you’ll find Ambers 5 top tips to solopreneurship success below.


The Jumping Point for ‘Think BlackBox’

“At the point I was ready for a career change, I looked at it and thought okay should I stay in corporate, play the game…or strike out on my own?” 

Striking out on her own is exactly how Amber's adventure began. With a significant leap of faith, she moved to Barcelona, leaving behind a stable corporate job without the certainty of being able to retain her clientele internationally.

“My last corporate role I was director of marketing with a consulting firm. Being on the client side of it I saw all the different gaps in the market, some pretty bad delivery and very high market prices so I got a really good sense for how I would do this differently”

Driven by a desire for a career that aligned more closely with her values, Amber reflected on her experiences as a director of marketing in the corporate world and used the pain-points she recognised in clients to her advantage.

She observed the gaps in the market, including subpar service delivery and inflated prices, which fueled her determination to start a business of her own that offered more value.

On taking that first leap into the unknown of entrepreneurship Amber noted…

“It was scary at first, but I had a fairly soft landing. Throughout the beginning of my career I made some great contacts. And immediately after I left the firm I had several projects lined up. I wanted to meet the income I was generating within 6 months to a year, but within 4 months I had tripled it!” 

Preparation is key for when you’re leaving such a stable position behind. Whether that’s having your finances in order to support yourself for a few months unemployed or having a few projects lined up to get your feet off the ground.

It can be a daunting thought at first, but Amber shows us that taking some calculated risks can lead to much greater rewards in the long term.

“I’m happier, I'm not as burnt out, I make my own schedule.” 


Finding Your ‘Ikigai’

“Really be honest with how much you love x, y and z.” 

Ikigai is a profound concept that bridges the gap between passion and profession, urges individuals to introspect deeply about their true passions and how these can translate into a fulfilling career.

The essence of Ikigai lies in identifying what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be compensated for. For instance, possessing expertise in anything can position you nicely to be a consultant.

“Find something you actually enjoy doing. Any skills or knowledge that you have, can  be monetised.” 


“It Will Never be Perfect, Just Get it Out There”

One of the key lessons Amber emphasises is the significance of trial and error. She candidly shares how her initial attempts at perfectionism in her work exceeded what was necessary. 

Perfection is often the enemy of ‘done’. Does being a perfectionist stop you from progressing also? It’s a hard lesson to learn, but the best results come from trial and error.

“When I first transitioned into working for myself I spent a lot of time and energy trying to perfect everything. And it was far exceeding what was needed, what I'd quoted, and what was necessary.”


Channel Your Imposter Syndrome Into Something Positive

“Imposter syndrome is ‘Taxes and death’”

Amber identifies imposter syndrome as an almost universal experience (like taxes and death). She advises turning this common feeling of inadequacy into a force for positive change, suggesting that individuals seek to improve their skills and quiet their doubts as a way to progress.

“Channel that imposter syndrome to push you forward…If I don’t have enough expertise in this area what can i do to circumvent that…How can i appease that part of me that feels i need to know more in that area” 

This mindset encourages continuous learning and development as methods to overcome perceived shortcomings.

“As long as that imposter syndrome is coming up acknowledge it, sit with it but also know that everyone is going through that too”


Network More Meaningfully

“Networking has gotten a bad taste from people who see it as a sales opportunity.” 

Leave your hard sales pitch at the door. Amber advises the best way to network is to just be human and bring value to someone else. Instead of viewing networking as a chance to sell, Amber emphasises creating genuine connections through the exchange of value and knowledge.

This approach not only enriches your personal development, especially in entrepreneurship, but also opens doors to monetizing your skills in unexpected ways.

“A lot of people don’t like networking, it’s not my thing, however networking is incredibly important in the way I choose to do it. At any given point I share knowledge and value.”

Amber's networking philosophy is grounded in authenticity and providing value, steering clear of the conventional sales-driven mindset. By focusing on sharing knowledge and meaningful interaction, she's been able to forge connections that translate into long-term benefits and opportunities.

“Have conversations, talk shop…I had a referral come in 2 years ago based on a conversation I’d had 4 or 5 years prior.”

At the heart of Amber’s philosophy is the belief in offering value as the essence of networking and business success. Her success stories often stem from conversations and the knowledge she shares, reinforcing that genuine value can lead to lasting impacts and opportunities.

Through genuine dialogue and a focus on offering value, impactful networking is not about immediate gains but about building a foundation for future opportunities. This approach not only sets the stage for sustainable business relationships but also aligns with a more fulfilling and human-centric way of interacting in the professional world.


Mastering Market Positioning and Pricing as a New Entrepreneur

Perhaps one of  the hardest things to do when starting your own remote business, especially if you’re prone to imposter syndrome, is to know how to value and position yourself for success.

It raises the question: What services are people willing to pay for?

This was a dilemma Amber faced at the outset of her journey. If you're pondering whether you can truly earn a living from your passion…

Spoiler alert: YES, YOU CAN!

“Even If You Don’t Have Your Finite Strategy Together, Do This…”

Amber suggests looking at platforms like Upwork to gauge market rates and to consider ROI-based proposals to effectively price one's services.

She also highlights the importance of community and shared knowledge, pointing out that many are willing to discuss their rates and experiences in various online groups.

“Look at contractors on upwork to see what the going rate is, don’t just look at their advertised hourly rate , look at how much they paid for projects”

Understanding your unique value proposition and how it can benefit potential clients is key to determining your pricing strategy. How does your skill help push the needle for other companies?

“ROI based proposals are super helpful…When that’s not possible, go check out what's going on in the market. There’s tons of facebook groups, people are happy to share what their rates are.”

Amber’s experience illustrates that with the right approach to pricing, positioning, and continuous learning, thriving in the market as a solopreneur is not just a possibility but a reality.

“Go and just look at what’s out there. If you’re even remotely interested in going solo, go and look at what’s out there…I’ve gotten 2 or 3 high level roles on Upwork, 5 figures too.” 

By focusing on value, embracing imperfection, and leveraging the power of networking, Amber shows us that the journey to success is about much more than just the destination. It’s about finding joy in what you do, learning from every step, and sharing that journey with others.

So, if you're standing at the edge, wondering if you should take that leap, remember these insights. It's a vivid reminder that with passion, resilience, and a willingness to learn, the path from passion to profit is not just possible—it's within reach.

The time is now. Dive in, embrace the adventure, and start shaping your own success story!

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