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.
Table of Contents
Solopreneur vs Entrepreneur: What's The Difference? And is Freelancing The Same Thing?
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.
The following table outlines the differences between solopreneurs and entrepreneurs.
Differences Between Solopreneurs And Entrepreneurs
Focus on providing specific goods or services
Focus on creating business ventures that grow
Limited revenue or lower revenue than entrepreneurs
Higher revenue than solopreneurs
Less focus on building relationships and partnerships
More focus on partners, investors, and stakeholders
Make all decisions independently and work alone
Work with a team and delegate decision-making to others
Independent business with no employees or partners
Corporate structure with employees and investors
Assume all financial risks personally
Share financial risks with investors and partners
Typically aim to create a lifestyle-sustaining business
Aim to grow a large business venture that dominates
Takes a unique approach to solving a common problem
Often aims to create entirely new products or services
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.
Want to build a business that enables you to live YOUR Rich Life? Get my FREE guide on finding your first profitable idea.
Solopreneur Business Ideas
There are potentially hundreds of enterprises you can engage in as a solopreneur. Here’s a list of our best ideas:
- Event planner – planning and coordinating various events, such as galas, business conferences, academic conferences, weddings, and funerals
- Podcast host – creating and hosting a podcast on a topic or theme (including a general podcast that reaches a wide audience)
- Online tutor – Deliver teaching sessions to students in your local area or online in various academic, technical, or professional subjects
- E-commerce store owner – sell one-off or craft items you make yourself through online marketplaces, such as Etsy or Shopify
- Web developer – start an independent web development agency and attract high-paying clients
- Graphic designer – provide businesses with marketing materials, such as logos, branding, and website illustrations
- Personal trainer – help people achieve their health and fitness goals online or in-person
- 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
- Dog walker – take dogs to the park daily on behalf of busy people who don’t have time to do it themselves
- Pet sitting – stay at home with clients’ pets to prevent them from getting distressed while they are away
- Coffee shop owner – set up a small coffee shop (perhaps out of a van) that only requires you to operate it
- Financial consulting – use your industry expertise to offer guidance and advice to individuals or companies looking to better manage their finances
- Software developer – create apps and software for companies and clients on a contractual basis
- 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
- 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
Every year, solopreneurship evolves, and 2023 is no different. This year, expect to see the following:
Emerging Trends In Solopreneurship
- The rise of remote work as more individuals want to work from home, the beach, or overseas where the cost of living is lower
- Changes in digital marketing, including the use of new “answer engines” which may soon replace conventional search engines
- Solopreneurs struggling with difficult economic circumstances, such as inflation and recession
- Increasing emphasis on social impact and sustainability
- Greater use of artificial intelligence and automation
- A bigger focus on health and wellness
- The rise of personalized and tailored experiences, giving solo brands more individuality
- An increase in solopreneur services targeting the mobile and on-demand economy
- An increasing focus on maintaining user privacy and ongoing investments in cybersecurity
- New business models, including blockchain-enabled P2P
How AI And Technology Play A Role In Solopreneurship
AI and technology are playing significant roles in solopreneurship, offering multiple advantages, including the ability to streamline workflows, automate repetitive tasks, and stay competitive.
For instance, solopreneurs can leverage virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa to manage their schedules, set reminders, and perform simple tasks hands-free. AI-powered marketing tools like chatbots and email automation can also help solopreneurs reach potential customers and nurture leads with personalized messages and automated workflows. Additionally, productivity tools such as project management software and time-tracking apps can assist solopreneurs in staying organized and managing their time effectively.
Other options exist, too. Online marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, and TaskRabbit offer solopreneurs access to a global network of clients and collaborators, making it easier to find work and expand their reach. Moreover, solopreneurs can set up an online store using e-commerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce to sell products or services directly to customers.
By utilizing AI-powered analytics tools, solopreneurs can track website traffic, monitor social media engagement, and gain insights into their business performance, allowing them to make data-driven decisions. Machine learning algorithms let them develop predictive models that help solopreneurs forecast demand, improve pricing strategies, and optimize their supply chains.
The degree to which AI and technology play a role in solopreneurship depends heavily on the individual. Those that leverage these technologies to improve the quantity and quality of their output will undoubtedly succeed.
Keeping Up With The Technological Advances As A Solopreneur And Using It To Your Advantage
Keeping up with technological advances as a solopreneur (and using them to your advantage) is easy, as long as you know what to do.
Start by subscribing to technology news outlets relevant to your niche. Scour them for new tools and techniques you can use to enhance the productivity and efficiency of your business.
Next, be experimental. Don’t be afraid to try new technology tools. Take advantage of free demos and then measure to see if they improve your workflow.
You can also work with technology experts as needed. Remember, as a solopreneur, you’re not hiring them. Instead, you are temporarily leveraging them for the services they offer.
Lastly, attend technology events and webinars. These are opportunities to learn more about the latest advances in your industry and network with potential collaborators in your field.
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.