Solopreneurs, or those who launch and run their business on their own, can range from part-time freelancers who are slowly growing a passion project to full-time small business owners like photographers, sellers of handmade goods and personal chefs.
Solopreneurs face their own unique set of challenges as small business owners, and as you may have guessed, limited time and resources are at the top of the list. Without employees to help take on some of the work, solopreneurs need to manage their products and inventory, build a strong online presence, develop a sales and marketing strategy, curate social media posts, and draft and send email newsletters. And that’s just before lunch!
However, as generative AI systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard become more widely accessible, solopreneurs won’t have to wear all those hats on their own.
If you’re a solopreneur, here are five ways you can use generative AI as your first - albeit artificial - employee.
Disclaimer: We're excited to recommend the use of generative AI technology to small businesses, but please be aware that this technology is still in its early stages of development and its effectiveness may vary depending on the circumstances. Additionally, avoid entering sensitive information as AI systems will save your input, and make sure to review the output for accuracy, as it may be incorrect, inaccurate, or out of date.
1. Upskill, upskill, upskill
You are one person and can’t possibly be the expert at everything that your business needs. But you can learn. Generative AI systems have access to millions of resources that you can use to help fill in the gaps in your current skillsets.
For example, an electrician might have a sixth sense for wiring a ceiling fan, but may not be a skilled marketer—they could use AI for help with content creation like advertisement text, social media posts, responses to customer inquiries, building a social content calendar and more. Or a graphic designer could use AI to conduct market research and gather insights on industry trends to identify new opportunities and make more informed business decisions.
Think of leveraging AI like you would a business partner. Use it to save time, improve efficiency, and gain a competitive advantage for your business.
2. Brainstorm new ideas
Not sure what’s the best domain name for your new business? Or have an email subject line, but wish it was a little more catchy? Use AI to brainstorm and bounce around ideas. Here are some fun things to brainstorm with AI to get the juices flowing:
- Business ideas based on your hobbies
- Names for your business
- Hashtags for a social media contest or campaign
- Email subject lines
- Analyze across multiple customer reviews to highlight the key areas you should focus on
- Alternative high-quality logo for your brand
3. Attract new customers
As a small business owner, you understand that helping potential new customers find you is key to growing your business. Doing this often involves multiple layers of marketing, including Google Ads, social media, strategic copywriting of your website and more. GoDaddy recently created a Small Business Generative AI Prompt Library designed to help you use generative AI platforms for this exact purpose. We have prompts that help you use AI to identify the best SEO keywords for your website, generate compelling social ads, write engaging product descriptions, create social posts that resonate with a specific customer vertical and more.
Before using AI, establish some clear guidelines for the type of content you want the model to produce—this can include anything from tone of voice to vocabulary, length or even specific topics to avoid. Pick from GoDaddy’s prompts or create your own and be sure to use very specific questions to guide the AI’s responses. The more specific your prompts, the more relevant and on-topic the content you’ll get back.
4. Retain your existing customer base
Acquiring new customers costs five times to 10 times more than selling to a current customer. You could also lean on generative AI to help encourage repeat customers as another highly cost-effective way to grow your business. You can use AI to:
- Quickly craft responses to customer reviews
- Draft personalized, automated thank you emails to send once a product is delivered
- Write promotional emails around a specified subject, tone and target audience
As a solopreneur, consider using generative AI to provide around-the-clock customer support—for example, you can build AI into automated chatbots on your website to help handle common customer inquiries, like shipping information, returns and refunds. This will save both you and your customers time and provide a better overall experience.
You can use AI to help you at every stage of your business—whether you’re brainstorming a business name or making next month’s social content calendar. Having a built-in second “set of hands” available 24/7 will help you work more efficiently and ultimately propel your success as a solopreneur. However, as with most emerging innovations, there are guidelines on how to use it safely. Below are some tips for using AI that we recommend:
Do not enter personal or proprietary information into AI: As a general rule, only share content into AI that you wouldn’t mind other people seeing. Never enter your customer’s personal or contact information into AI, and keep any proprietary information or secret recipes off the platform.
Use human editors: Although AI is smart, it can sometimes share inaccurate or biased information and should be used as a first draft, rather than a final draft. There is also no telling if answers have been generated using another company’s intellectual property, which may create risks. You should regularly review the content generated by AI to ensure it aligns with your brand guidelines and business needs, and help you identify any potential biases or inaccuracies.
Always fact-check for accuracy: AI systems are always learning and pull from content all over the web. However, some AI systems were built using digital content up to a certain date, meaning their knowledge is limited and they cannot answer questions related to current events.