Do you dream of being your own boss but feel overwhelmed by the idea of starting a business? As a fellow introvert, I can relate. The thought of managing a team and growing a company can be daunting.
But fear not. Solopreneurship offers the perfect solution for those seeking independence and flexibility without the pressures of entrepreneurship. As someone who transitioned from traditional employment to freelancing, I can attest to the satisfaction of being your own boss.
Don’t let the fear of owning a business hold you back. The solopreneurship business model is perfect for those seeking more freedom and creativity in their work without aspirations of scaling a unicorn or billion-dollar company.
Let’s delve into the ins and outs of solopreneurship, its unique advantages (like no more infuriating office politics), potential pitfalls, and exciting business ideas to get you started.
What is a Solopreneur?
A solopreneur is a unique breed of entrepreneur who runs their business alone, without any employees or partners. Common solopreneur career paths are freelance writers, photographers, content creators, and personal trainers.
They’re the CEO, CFO, CMO, and every other “C” in the book! As a solopreneur, you’re a jack-of-all-trades, managing every aspect of your business, from administrative tasks to customer service to managing finances.
Solopreneurship is an attractive option for those seeking more autonomy and control over their work and career path. As a solopreneur, you’ll be free to design your own business model and work on projects you’re passionate about. You’re responsible for generating revenue, making important decisions, and building your brand from the ground up.
However, this also means you’ll have to work through the challenges of managing a business independently.
Solopreneur vs. Entrepreneur
Solopreneurs and entrepreneurs differ mainly in the amount of work they do for themselves. A solopreneur is a sole owner, operator, and manager who runs the business from start to finish.
Entrepreneurs usually have teams working for them and follow a more traditional business structure. Delegation and management skills are essential for the entrepreneur.
In his famous book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, Michael E. Gerber lays out three different business personalities: the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur.
The most harmful entrepreneurial myth, according to Gerber, is the assumption that possessing a particular technical skill will automatically makes you capable of running a successful business in that area.
But here’s the thing—being a talented photographer doesn’t mean you’ll naturally run a successful photography businsess. Being a good writer doesn’t automatically translate to being a good freelancer.
Starting a solo business involves wearing multiple hats – not just the one you’re most comfortable with. Suddenly, you’re the CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, and more!
Lifestyle Business vs. the “rocket ship” business
Solopreneurs desire a business model that gives them flexibility and personal fulfillment over rapid growth and scalability. A solopreneur doesn’t subscribe to the “growth at all costs,” “hustle ‘till you die” mentality. Their goal is often to achieve a certain level of income while maintaining a desirable work-life balance.
Conversely, entrepreneurs focus on creating scalable businesses that can grow rapidly and generate significant profits. They usually aim to disrupt markets and achieve dominance in their industry through the rapid growth of their company and profits.
Entrepreneurs (especially the Silicon Valley variety) hope to someday be bought out by a much larger company. Uber, Facebook, and other start-ups rely on venture capital funding to grow, whereas solopreneurs are more likely to bootstrap.
One offer vs. a product suite
As a solopreneur, you’ll probably offer a single service or product, allowing you develop deep expertise in your niche. Going “an inch wide and a mile deep” in your niche, as entrepreneur John Lee Dumas likes to say, gives you a competitive advantage and help you stand out in the market.
Entrepreneurs, however, may offer multiple options or services to appeal to a wider audience and diversify their revenue streams. For example, a marketing agency will offer copywriting, technical SEO services, and web design. This allows them to capture a larger market share and adapt to changes in the industry or client preferences.
Pros and Cons of the Solopreneur Journey
|✅ Control||✅ Lack of guidance and support|
|✅ Flexibility||✅ Less financial certainty|
|✅ Low overhead costs||✅ Limited resources (Do more with less)|
While becoming a solopreneur does give you the freedom to be your own boss, and control your schedule, it can also be a lonely road paved with financial rollercoasters and limited resources.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to properly network and manage your finances like a boss so you can navigate the bumps in the road.
Lucrative Solopreneur Business Ideas
Content Creator / Influencer
As a content creator, you get paid to be yourself. You’ll create captivating content on social media platforms to build a loyal, monetizable following. Becoming a User Generated Content (UGC) creator is especially popular now because of platforms like TikTok.
You don’t need to be Jake Paul or Mr. Beast to make a living on YouTube. Whether you’re earning from AdSense, sponsors, or your digital products, YouTube is one of the most popular ways for creators to monetize.
Blogger / Affiliate Marketer
Many think blogging is dead. While we consume blogs differently now, creators can still use SEO to promote products and earn a full-time income from affiliate marketing. Mentors like Adam Enfroy teach 21st-century methods for monetizing blogs.
Online Course Creator
Digital course creators turn their expertise into profit by creating a course on a specific topic. I generate passive income by selling digital courses and my freelance income, which allows me more freedom and peace.
Freelance Copywriting and Content Writing
A copywriter is a professional writer who creates persuasive copy or content for advertising or marketing. As a copywriter, you’ll craft compelling messages that capture and hold the target audience’s attention while conveying the brand’s message. You’ll write content such as sales letters, press releases, website text, blog posts, email newsletters, and more.
Freelance copywriting is sort of my thing. Read more here to learn ALL about this incredible solo career path 😉
Photography is one of the most lucrative ways to utilize your creativity and provide an incredible service to individuals, brands, and businesses. You’ll need a solid online presence and a niche like weddings or personal branding shoots to stand out.
Fitness Expert / Personal Trainer
You don’t have to work at a gym to start your own personal training business; you can train clients online or in person. Becoming a content creator allows you to monetize your fitness knowledge and start a coaching business.
Imagine breathing life into someone else’s vision with your artistic skills. As a freelance visual or graphic designer, you collaborate with clients and transform their ideas into stunning illustrations and images. Then, using apps and software, you’ll create captivating layouts and designs that embody your client’s message.
Your role as a freelance marketing consultant is to help businesses develop and implement effective marketing strategies. You’ll conduct market research, create marketing campaigns, develop a brand image, manage social media, and analyze data to measure the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
How to Ensure Solopreneur Success
- Start by identifying a need in the market
Research pain points, read customer reviews, and stay current on current trends to pick a solo business you love, as well as one in high demand.
For example, personal brand photographers tailor their messaging toward professionals who want to market themselves online but are too shy or insecure about being more visible on social media.
- Choose a niche
Your niche is your specialty or area of expertise. It’s the topic, industry, or subject matter you’ll focus your efforts on as a freelancer.
For example, “freelance writer” is a general term. But becoming a Technology writer that specializes in software is a well-defined niche. Choosing to “niche down” to software allowed me to stand out to my ideal clients like Salesforce, Hubspot, etc.
- Create an online presence that builds trust
Having your website as a solopreneur is critical for a few reasons:
You’re not just a freelancer or consultant. You’re a business. Businesses have websites. Potential clients use the information on your website to determine if you’re the right fit.
The idea of building a writer’s website might feel overwhelming. I didn’t even know what a web domain was when I began the solopreneur journey, and I had certainly never built a website!
Despite being a total beginner, it took about a week for me to build my site. Luckily I went with cheap web hosting through Bluehost. Opt for a drag-and-drop site builder, Weebly or Showit.
- Make meaningful connections with people in your industry via social media
Building relationships within the industry through networking is an integral part of growing your freelance business. Networking effectively as a solopreneur can open doors that may not otherwise be open, so knowing how to network effectively is critical to success.
Leverage networking events, Facebook groups, and professional associations in your industry,
Noteworthy Solopreneurs to Learn From
- Justin Welsh: Founder & CEO of The Operating System: Go From Undiscovered to Growing & Monetizing Your Linkedin Account. Justin is a Former SVP of sales at PatientPop, a LinkedIn Influencer, a Millionaire, and a successful SaaS entrepreneur.
2. Dan Koe: Founder of Modern Mastery & Digital Economics. He’s a Brand Advisor for 7-figure creators and mentors 4,000+ students. He writes about human potential, one-person businesses, and philosophy.
3. Elaine Pofeldt: Elaine is an independent journalist and speaker specializing in entrepreneurship and careers. She wrote “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business” and “Tiny Business, Big Money.”
The Bottom Line
Solopreneurship: because sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and be the boss you always knew you were. Sure, being a one-person show will require you to become a jack of all trades, but if you can thrive under the pressure of self-employment, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
Whether creating killer content, crafting epic online courses, or whipping people into shape as a fitness expert, success is within reach if you can find your niche, build trust with your audience, and schmooze like a pro in your industry. Go forth, fellow solopreneur, and show the world what you’re made of!
Need help landing high-paying clients for your solopreneur business? Look no further than my latest post: How To Get High-paying Freelance Clients in 2023