Solopreneur: What It Means To Be One (& how to be a great one)

Being a solopreneur is a unique and rewarding experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. As a solopreneur, you’re responsible for everything from product development and marketing to customer service and accounting. To succeed, you need to be self-motivated, resourceful, and adaptable.

In this blog, we’ll explore what it means to be a solopreneur, the benefits and challenges of solopreneurship, and provide tips on how to be a great solopreneur. We’ve been there before, so we completely understand what you’re going through.

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Solopreneur vs Entrepreneur: What's The Difference? And is Freelancing The Same Thing?

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Solopreneurs and entrepreneurs are not the same. Here is an explanation of each followed by their key differences: 

What Is A Solopreneur?

A solopreneur is an individual who runs their own business independently, without any employees or partners. They are responsible for all aspects of their business, including sales, marketing, product or service development, customer service, and administrative tasks. In other words, they work alone

Solopreneurs typically work from home or a small office, and they may offer a variety of services or products. You find them in a range of industries, including consulting, coaching, freelancing, creative arts, and e-commerce.

Occasionally, though, they may collaborate with others. However, they do not enter into formal relationships with them (such as partnerships, or employer-employee). 

What Is An Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs are people who identify business opportunities and then take financial risks to meet a perceived need in the marketplace. Most are on a mission to “improve the world” or “deliver value” to customers, clients, or businesses. 

Key Differences

The following table outlines the differences between solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. 

Differences Between Solopreneurs And Entrepreneurs

 

Solopreneurs

Entrepreneurs

Scope

Focus on providing specific goods or services

Focus on creating business ventures that grow

Revenue

Limited revenue or lower revenue than entrepreneurs

Higher revenue than solopreneurs 

Networking

Less focus on building relationships and partnerships

More focus on partners, investors, and stakeholders

Autonomy

Make all decisions independently and work alone

Work with a team and delegate decision-making to others

Business structure

Independent business with no employees or partners

Corporate structure with employees and investors

Risk-tasking

Assume all financial risks personally

Share financial risks with investors and partners

Growth

Typically aim to create a lifestyle-sustaining business

Aim to grow a large business venture that dominates

Innovation

Takes a unique approach to solving a common problem

Often aims to create entirely new products or services

Leadership

Less requirement for strong leadership skills

A requirement to lead and inspire a team

Solopreneur vs. Entrepreneur: Which Is Right For You?

Whether you decide on solopreneurship or entrepreneurship is a personal decision and depends on your skills, aptitudes, attitudes, goals, and temperament. 

Entrepreneurship might be the best option for you if: 

  • You like leading other people and inspiring teams
  • You want to grow a large business rapidly
  • You don’t mind the challenges of dealing with employees
  • You are comfortable sharing risks with partners and investors
  • You have a vision for a world-beating product or service

On the other hand, solopreneurship might be the better option if: 

  • You want to work independently on your business ideas and make unilateral decisions
  • You want to maintain a flexible lifestyle
  • You have a specific skill set or expertise that could benefit people
  • You feel okay assuming all the financial risk your enterprise takes
  • You don’t want to scale your business or hire employees

Examples Of Solopreneurs

You don’t have to look far to find examples of solopreneurs: they’re everywhere. 

Charmaine Pocek is a good example. She began by taking $5 resumé writing gigs on Fiverr to help her husband. Now she earns more than $800 per project. 

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, is another good example. She’s now a billionaire but she began making pantyhose in her home. Later, she worked with a manufacturer to bring her vision for seam-free tights to the masses. 

Lastly, we have Allen Walton, a failed student who made a fortune by the age of 27 selling spy cameras online. Now the self-named “Spy Security Guy” is a millionaire. 

Becoming a successful solopreneur is part luck (as with any business venture) and part talent. Therefore, you can do a lot to swing the chances of success in your favor. 

For example, it is a good idea to continuously learn. Having a knowledge advantage over your rivals helps you stay one step ahead, planning your next move. 

You also need to manage your finances. Keeping track of your income and expenses and setting sensible budgets shows you what you can achieve with the right approach. 

You should also work to establish a personal brand. Having a strong reputation online showcases your expertise and sets you apart from other people in your industry. 

Lastly, focus on customer service. Make clients believe they can’t go anywhere else to get the quality you offer

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Solopreneur Business Ideas

Solopreneur: What it means to be one (& how to be a great one)

There are potentially hundreds of enterprises you can engage in as a solopreneur. Here’s a list of our best ideas:

  1. Event planner – planning and coordinating various events, such as galas, business conferences, academic conferences, weddings, and funerals
  2. Podcast host – creating and hosting a podcast on a topic or theme (including a general podcast that reaches a wide audience)
  3. Online tutor – Deliver teaching sessions to students in your local area or online in various academic, technical, or professional subjects
  4. E-commerce store owner – sell one-off or craft items you make yourself through online marketplaces, such as Etsy or Shopify
  5. Web developer – start an independent web development agency and attract high-paying clients
  6. Graphic designer – provide businesses with marketing materials, such as logos, branding, and website illustrations
  7. Personal trainer – help people achieve their health and fitness goals online or in-person
  8. Life coach – use your extensive experience in a particular field (or your overarching experience of life) to offer people insights that help them achieve their goals and ambitions
  9. Dog walker – take dogs to the park daily on behalf of busy people who don’t have time to do it themselves
  10. Pet sitting – stay at home with clients’ pets to prevent them from getting distressed while they are away
  11. Coffee shop owner – set up a small coffee shop (perhaps out of a van) that only requires you to operate it
  12. Financial consulting – use your industry expertise to offer guidance and advice to individuals or companies looking to better manage their finances
  13. Software developer – create apps and software for companies and clients on a contractual basis
  14. Affiliate marketer – build links to products and services offered by third-party services and get paid a commission every time a customer buys after going via your channels
  15. Dropshipper – curate products that customers buy from a storefront and then arrange for a third-party to store and distribute them

As you can see, there are potentially endless solopreneur projects you can undertake. Don’t be afraid to be original. If you can think of something not listed here that you enjoy and will make money, go for it. 

Trends And Predictions For Solopreneurship in 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between An Entrepreneur And A Solopreneur?

Both entrepreneurs and solopreneurs run businesses. However, an entrepreneur leaves the door open to working with others, while a solopreneur does not. 

Is A Freelancer A Solopreneur?

Freelancers can be solopreneurs, but not always. Freelancers offer their services on a project-by-project basis while solopreneurs build businesses or “systems” to generate income. 

What Are Some Examples Of Solopreneurs?

Good examples of solopreneurs include consultants, coaches, freelancers, and artists. 

Are Solopreneurs Successful?

Not always. Successful solopreneurs typically offer their clients substantial value and persevere through challenging times. 

What Do Solopreneurs Struggle With The Most?

Solopreneurs struggle with time management, gaining new clients, isolation and loneliness, and financial uncertainty. 

Why Do Solopreneurs Fail?

Solopreneurs may fail for various reasons, including lack of planning, insufficient funding or income, and poor marketing skills. 

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