The term “solopreneur” has become more popular in the last decade or so, but very few people have explained what being a solopreneur actually means. If you’re interested in learning more about solopreneurship, including the different types, whether it’s right for you and how to get started, this blog post is just for you!
What is an entrepreneur?
More people have heard of entrepreneurs so let’s start here. Entrepreneurs are inventive and enterprising people who start businesses based on their ideas and take on financial risk in the process of building a business.
Rather than continuing to work as an employee their whole life, they go into business for themselves and assume all the risks and rewards that come with that decision.
What is a solopreneur?
Solopreneurs are entrepreneurs who primarily work by themselves and retain control of their business even after it grows. While entrepreneurs will often expand their operations by hiring employees, starting a payroll and opening up offices, solopreneurs are often the only full-time employee in their business. They may hire contract workers, virtual assistants and other freelancers to handle short-term or long-term projects, but they are generally the only full-time employees of their solopreneur business.
Because of this, solopreneurs have a lot of flexibility in terms of making business decisions, which can make things easier to manage but also more difficult without the help of others.
Is solopreneurship for me?
Although a lot of people love the idea of quitting their day job and starting their own business, not everyone should do it. Before giving it a try, you should consider the following:
To be a successful solopreneur, you need to be comfortable working alone and as your own boss. A lot of people need structure and routine in their lives, and the deadlines and rules imposed by bosses are easy to follow in their 9-to-5 desk job. Without a boss telling you what to do and when it needs to be done, a lot of new solopreneurs feel lost, confused and lonely.
To help combat this, a solopreneur needs to be able to set and meet their own deadlines and hold themselves accountable for their own work. Since there is no one telling you what to do, you need to be able to determine what work needs to be prioritized and when it gets done. On top of that, you have to be able to set ignore distractions and make sure the work gets done.
It can also be difficult to maintain a routine. Without a schedule, it can be easy to sleep in, watch TV, go out for lunch, meet up with friends, and find every reason under the sun not to sit down and get to work. Successful solopreneurs can filter out the distractions by planning properly and sticking to a productive routine.
How to become a successful solopreneur?
If you’re seriously considering solopreneurship, here are the three things we recommend you do first:
1) Determine if Solopreneurship is Right for You
First, you need to be honest with yourself. Is giving solopreneurship a try a good fit for you right now? Do you have the right motivation and drive, considering the sacrifices it takes? Do you have the time to be able to commit, or can you make the time? Are you in a reasonable financial position to support yourself otherwise? Can you start part-time during your day job?
2) Research and Explore the Best Options for You
Once you’ve decided that solopreneurship is the right course of action, you need to do some research on the actual business you want to start. The right business should be a combination of something you know enough about or have experience in, something you have somewhat of an interest in, and something that people are willing to pay for.
This means thinking about your strengths, experiences and passions and finding where that meets a strong demand for a product or service. Generally speaking, if there’s already an industry for it, it’s usually a good thing (because people are already paying money for it), but that doesn’t mean you can’t try something new.
Talk to people (preferably people who have had business success before), research industries, do some soul searching, and test ideas. You never know what may work out!
3) Create a Solopreneur Business Plan to Get Started on
Once you’ve done research on the right solopreneurship business for you, you need to have a plan. This does not have to be a long, fancy business plan – in fact I recommend keeping it short (less than two pages) and simple. But without a plan of action, you’ll find yourself lost.
Your plan should include what your business does, who it targets, what value it provides, the revenue model, and a specific plan of action for what you’re going to do first to try and test it. You should also include a timeline and/or deadline to keep things in perspective and on-track.
Once it’s good enough, go try it out! Your solopreneur business will likely go through a lot of changes over time, and that’s okay. What’s more important is that you take action, learn and adjust. It’s only from taking action, learning and adjusting that you will succeed.
What are the different types of solopreneurs?
To help guide your research and business plan, here are three common types of solopreneurs to consider:
Brand Builders, Influencers, and Content Creators
With the growth of the internet and social media, it’s never been easier to build a following and monetize it. This type of solopreneur focuses on building a brand, whether it be a personal or business brand, by creating content online. This can be through a blog, podcast, social media account (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), or other online platform.
Once you have a big enough following, there are tons of ways to monetize; you can sell affiliate products, create and sell products of your own, sell ad space, have paid content/posts, and more. This type of solopreneurship takes a lot of time and effort upfront to build your following, especially if you don’t have one yet. There is a lot of competition out there these days, but if you’re able to grow a big following and are comfortable creating content, it can be very lucrative over a long period of time.
Freelancers use their skills to offer contract work to other people or businesses. For example, instead of working full-time for a company, you can work on a contract basis as a writer, developer, marketer, or anything really. The key is to find what you’re good at and what people will pay you for.
Freelancing has become extremely popular in recent years thanks to the internet because you can work from anywhere you want, and also connect with freelancers or businesses much easier. For example, you can now find thousands of freelancers online within minutes!
Writing, editing, personal assistance, marketing, dog walking, personal shopping, and other service-oriented industries have seen an explosion in freelancers who have begun making way more money working for themselves than they ever did at desk jobs, and they can usually set their own hours and work from anywhere too.
Business and Agency Operators
Another popular type of solopreneur business is the one that most closely resembles entrepreneurship. A solopreneur business or agency is similar to any other type of business opened by an entrepreneur, but the solopreneur decides not to hire any employees and keep it a smaller operation.
This can be done by hiring contractors, freelancers or just not taking on more business than the solopreneur can handle alone. This is a great approach if you see a good business opportunity but don’t want the stress and difficulty that comes with building out a big business.
How to Start a Solopreneur Business?
Hopefully this article has shed some light on what a solopreneur is, whether it’s right for you and how to get started.
To summarize, you should do the following to start a solopreneur business:
- Figure out if it’s right for you: are you the type of person who can work alone, and stay motivated and organized? Are you in a good enough position to spend the time and take the risk on it?
- Do some research and preparation to figure out what opportunities are out there for you. Don’t be afraid to ask around and try some things that haven’t been done before, but also remember that following in other successful solopreneurs footsteps isn’t a bad idea either. Keep in mind the three types of solopreneurs we discussed above.
- Make an action plan and go do it! Plenty of people have started successful solopreneur businesses while working day jobs so don’t let that turn you away from giving this a try.
Lastly, remember that nothing great was ever accomplished without a lot of hard work. If you truly want to start and grow a solopreneur business, no one can do it for you. It will take a lot of time, effort and risk, but the payoff at the end is tough to beat!