Solopreneur is an increasingly common term people use to describe themselves.
What does it mean to be a “solopreneur”?
A solopreneur is a one person business
A solopreneur doesn’t mean that you are totally alone. Many solopreneurs have virtual assistants or consult with mentors or use other professionals like accountants.
This definition comes from cartoonist Jen Sorensen, found on Larry Keltto’s site thesolopreneurlife.com made me smile
A solopreneur is a captain of a extremely tiny dinghy
The motivations for being a solopreneur vary from person to person.
- You might want to be in business for themselves
- You could want to monetize a passion
- You want another source of income
- You crave greater freedom and independence associated with a lifestyle business
- You don’t want to work any more in a cubicle for the “big man”
No matter the motivation, do you have what it takes to be a solopreneur?
What does it take to be a solopreneur
Me. Myself and I
Being a solopreneur means wearing many hats. Designer, project manager, sales, web developer, accountant… a jack of all trades.
Juggling multiple tasks and skills is the lot of a solopreneur and for many includes building and maintaining a website. Not everyone wants the hassle of spending time on maintaining a website. They’d rather doing what they love worrying about adding Ecommerce and SEO. (It was for this reason that we started Selz, to make it simple for solopreneurs to sell online without them having to be website developers.)
You might feel that sometimes that it would be good if you could just be left to focus on your “work”. Well the truth is that its unlikely to happen. “All the other stuff” is part of what you do, sure you can outsource some of it, but you do need to be organized and focused to avoid getting frazzled by hopping from one thing to the next.
Choose the right kind of business
The key to building a successful business fast is tapping into a market segment with few competitors. If you’re not familiar with Blue Ocean Strategy, this YouTube video is a good summary on the theory why some businesses are able to make more profit than others.
Do your research on your business idea and test the market using prototypes to see if the idea is viable. One good thing about being a solopreneur is that it can take less cash to start and to make it worthwhile. You can bootstrap to keep the costs of starting and operating your business very low. No employee wages, and if working from home no office overheads. You don’t have to quit your job until you are ready and have done the numbers to how much income you need. In an ideal world you would quit your job as your business is ramping up and generating revenue.
Being a solopreneur takes patience. Even if you already have an audience and are now starting to monetize it, growing a business will take time and effort. There are only 168 hours in a week, and sleep accounts for a third of them. So that means you have 112 hours for everything else, work and life. Don’t expect things to happen overnight, you won’t be able to get everything done. Set yourself realistic goals and be patient. Be proud of your work and who you are.
Personal strengths and weaknesses
Do you have the qualities to be a solopreneur and to be comfortable working independently? There is no master mold for a solopreneur and one of the great things about working for yourself is that it gives you a unique opportunity to run your business your way. But not everyone is ready to work independently.
Solopreneur suitability test
See how ready you are to be a solopreneur and to work independently by asking yourself the following questions. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.
- Are you sufficiently self-motivated?
Solopreneurs need to be ready to put in the hard yards and keep going. Especially if you don’t have any early success. Remember there will be no one to tell you what to do and when.
- How creative are you?
Solopreneurs are often innovators at heart with a different way of doing thinking or doing things that sets them apart.
- Do you have confidence in yourself?
You will need a degree of confidence to go it alone. It helps if you have a mentor and supportive family and friends.
- Are you resilient?
To grow your own business takes determination and persistence. It won’t be easy if you’re easily swayed by what others think.
- Are you comfortable with selling (in the broadest sense)?
One of the hats you’ll wear is business development and finding new customers. One of the biggest shocks for many new solopreneurs is how much time and effort it takes to get your message out there. Building an audience can easily take 80% of your time.
- Do you have a basic understanding of financial spreadsheets enough to keep track of your revenue and costs?
You will need to keep track of your revenue and costs to know if you are making money.
- How comfortable are you with getting paid when you make a sale or complete a job?
Being a solopreneur can be like this without the safety net of a monthly paycheck.
- Is the idea of being a full time solopreneur scary or exciting?
Think about how much risk you feel comfortable with. Stretching your comfort zone a little is a good thing, but too much stress is not healthy.
- How many hours a week could you devote to your business?
You have to be realistic. Growing your business will take time and effort. If you already have lots of commitments and have little to no time available, then becoming a solopreneur might not be for you.
- Do you work fine on your own?
Solopreneurs work a lot on their own even if their wider network that acts like a virtual team.
How did you go? Do you have what it takes to be a “solopreneur”?
5 websites and podcasts for solopreneurs
If want more more inspiration and tips, checkout our list of 5 of our favorite websites and podcasts
- Larry Kelto, publishes the subscription site TheSolopreneurLife.com with a huge amount of information, its only a couple of dollars a month subscription
- Pay Flynn, shares his experience of making a living online in Smart Passive Income.
- Michael O’Neal, the proudly unemployable has a great podcast TheSolopreneurHour.
- Entrepreneur on Fire by John Lee Dumas – a great daily podcast where John talks to entrepreneurs about their journey, successes and failures. One I often listen to at the gym!
- Natalie Sisson’s The Suitcase Entrepereneur – Natalie in her podcasts talks to other fantastic online business owners who pass on their expertise and share tips on how to your business to work.
What do you think?
I’m curious to know what you think about working independently as a solopreneur. If you’re already a solopreneur, what’s been your experience so far? Is there anything that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.