Arman Assadi is a San Francisco based writer, consultant, and solopreneur. After leaving his job at Google in 2012, he began directing his own career and learning about what it takes to be fulfilled and successful on his own terms in this new era of work.
His website, armanassadi.com, has grown into a ver popular blog that aims to help people identify their personal best craft and create their own direction in life. Assadi spends his time sharing his own life lessons with people across the globe. As a partner and consultant with other digital companies, bestselling authors, and individual entrepreneurs, he helps create growth and also writes for big name sites like Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and many others.
What are some of the key factors required for success in solopreneurship?
Curiosity. For sustainable success and fulfillment you must find something you can be deeply interested in. Even if it’s only in the short-term, we must dive into something and develop an insatiable thirst to learn. You must also embrace the roller coaster and develop a mindset that values obstacles and hardship. The most successful solopreneurs are those that keep going and adapting, no matter the circumstances.
What can help people shift from focusing on short-term goals and problems to a longer-term strategy focused on freedom in their professional and personal lives?
Acknowledge the present reality, not your worries and fears of the future. Understand what you’re going up against in the short-term and develop a tangible, pragmatic plan. But realize that in the end you’re going to be okay, you’ll always find a way. We need to stop trying to play like we have all the answers and just be students. Students of our craft, students of ourselves and our lives.
Study everything and ask the right questions. If you focus on mastery and building real expertise, you will always be okay. The idea is easily misconstrued, but understand you need to determine what you would do if money were no object and do just that.
Since leaving corporate employment, how have you increased your own productivity?
It’s night and day. Working at Google was incredible, I was surrounded by the most brilliant minds in the world and was learning every day. But a deeper part of me was unfulfilled and unchallenged. It’s incredibly how much we learn once we go on our own as solopreneurs.
Not only have I increased my productivity and effectiveness, but I’ve learned so many new skills. I had no experience or advantage as a solopreneur, I started from scratch and didn’t even know what WordPress was. But once you open the door to living a self-directed life all the experiences you need always find you.
How do you find the products/projects that interest you—and forge partnerships with the people you want to work with?
I only work on things that spark my curiosity (from answer #1). I also make sure everything aligns with my core focus and I maintain laser focus. If it fits into the current goals, then I’ll consider it. These days most of my projects find me (via consulting referrals), but my personal projects and content at ArmanAssadi.com is driven by a deeper why — to help people create self-directed lives, often as solopreneurs.
Partnerships are all about your personal credibility and authenticity. This is a big topic (I’m shooting a new video on it soon) but it comes down to helping people as much as possible without wanting/needing anything in return (this is incredibly hard for most people), and valuing the person as a friend before a partnership.
For example, I flew down to LA for the day to meet with NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes. I offered to help him with his upcoming product launch for free (even though I charged hundreds of dollars an hour) and improved his video scripts. He then asked if he could hire me for more help, so it all happened very naturally. I did the same exact thing with Neil Patel (co-founder of Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics), flew down to Las Vegas for a couple days to hang with him. Do what other people aren’t willing to do.
In communicating with readers of your blog and in your consulting work, what are the most common obstacles that you see people bumping up against?
“If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun.” – Alain de Botton
With some readers (aspiring entrepreneurs and solopreneurs) I see a lack of self-knowledge, meaning, they are afraid to open the door and understand who they really are. Often because they know once they face the truth, they’ll have to make a change and they’re afraid of it. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of becoming who they really are meant to be and playing full out. But of course there’s nothing to be afraid of, and while a self-directed life is quite different, it’s the most fulfilling and authentic way to live.
In my consulting work with existing business owners the most common obstacle I see is that their branding, messaging, and focus is unclear. They’re trying to talk to too many people at once and as a result no one hears them. What they need to do is develop a clearer marketing person for their audience. They’re often also working on too many things and need to identify their one thing.
A final thought: I recently realized that there are two things we need to do more often that aren’t often talked about in the business world. 1. Develop your intuition and trust it. 2. Follow the signs.
This makes life a lot more adventurous and fun. I believe there’s more to this life than what we see, and I choose to follow my bliss and trust that life happens for me, not to me.