Hey, I'm Kris Hughes, and I'm the founder of Zanate Ventures in Austin, TX.
Tell us all about your business...
I help solopreneurs and small business owners build awareness on social media through content strategy, marketing services, and ghostwriting.
What's your background and motivation to get into the solopreneur life?
After 10+ years in the corporate world in a variety of digital media, content marketing, and leadership roles I ran into a "final straw" type situation.
I took a job for the money in November 2019 which blew up in my face. I was laid off in January 2020, and decided to go all-in to build for myself. It was the sixth layoff of my career and enough was enough.
I was lucky enough to take on a few contracts just prior to the onset of COVID which helped me through the summer of 2020. And gave me time to lay some groundwork and find a few clients.
Now I'm working on my business, Zanate Ventures, full-time and couldn't imagine doing anything else.
As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you?
Success to me equates to freedom.
Freedom to structure my days in a way that's effective for me.
Freedom to take on life as it happens, rather than having to struggle through the weekends to dig through everything that's piled up during the week.
Freedom to take a mid-day nap if I feel like it.
Money is secondary. The irony is, when you build a structure that allows you freedom, money is a nice byproduct.
What are the top 3 tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a business today?
1. Aggressively create content to build your brand. Don't expect a quick return, but do expect a compounding return. If you're consistent here, it can make a huge impact.
2. Don't spend a ton of money on advertising. I haven't spent one dollar on advertising to build my business. Commit to doing so organically. Don't pour all of your money into Facebook ads, or whatnot. That can come later when you really know your audience.
3. Do NOT quit. It's tempting to throw in the towel when things aren't moving as quickly as you'd like them to - and trust me, those moments will come. You'll have several small tipping points along the way that will help you to be self-sustaining as long as you're patient and work with intention.
If there was one thing you could do repeatedly day in day out to help grow your business then what would it be?
1a. Create content.
1b. Build client relationships that lead to referral business. Do whatever it takes to make your early clients happy and eliminate transactional relationships. If you play your cards right, referrals will start to flow, and that's a great place to be.
What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?
I'm an aggressive time-blocker. I do my best to stick to the time blocks I have in place for myself, and do similar things at similar times of day. Life happens, obviously, so that isn't always effective, but it provides a good framework to work from.
I never work on Saturdays, and rarely on Sundays. That time is for me and my family. After all, I didn't build Zanate to work the hours I was working in the corporate world. I built it to improve my lifestyle, so I like to protect that separation.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and best business resources/books?
Jay Desai is building something incredibly powerful at Swpely. His idea of a web-based swipe file for content curation is filling a massive gap in the market. It's something all content people have needed, and the way he's building in public is impressive and fun to follow.
I have really enjoyed being a part of Larry Kaul's Sales Sherpa and Revenue Climbers community on Circle & LinkedIn. We have Thursday webinars which I've learned a ton from on several planes of business theory.
For anyone looking to start a business today, what would be the number one bit of advice you'd give them?
Just start. Create now. Iterate later.
Quit with the analysis paralysis and put yourself out there. You can have all the theories in the world, buy all the domain names in existence, draw up every business plan imaginable, but if you never execute you'll never learn enough to be successful.
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own #GoSoloStories that you'd like to share then hit Jonny up on Twitter, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.