According to the 2022 State of Independence Report by MBO Partners, there were 64.6 million independent workers in the U.S., up over 26% from the previous year. Moreover, 64% of these self-employed individuals said they are satisfied and confident about their career choice. With the quotient happiness soaring and opportunities increasing for independent workers in the future, embarking on a journey as a solopreneur can offer sought-after flexibility to aspirants who want to create a business around their lifestyle. In this guide, we will break down the ins and outs of solopreneurship—what the term means, how it differs from entrepreneurship, and outline the effective steps to become a successful one.
Who is a Solopreneur?
According to Merriam-Webster, a solopreneur is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise without the help of a partner.” In other words, a solopreneur is an individual who builds a business independently and is accountable for its success or failure. Although solopreneurs enjoy complete control over their business decisions, they can find it challenging to manage every aspect of the business on their own. Additionally, solopreneurs run service-based businesses that involve working independently such as freelancing, consulting, or web development.
What is the Difference Between a Solopreneur and an Entrepreneur?
While all solopreneurs are entrepreneurs, all entrepreneurs are not solopreneurs. Wondering how that’s possible? Let’s take a closer look at some of the significant differences between these two roles to help you understand the above statement.
1. Responsibilities and Delegation
Solopreneurs manage every business aspect, but entrepreneurs delegate responsibilities to their team members. By definition, an entrepreneur is an individual who establishes and manages their own business. However, they do not essentially manage all aspects of their business single-handedly the way a solopreneur does. There are different people who fulfill different roles. For instance, entrepreneurs hire accountants to handle financial matters or marketing managers to handle digital campaigns. However, this is not the case for solopreneurs. From making strategic business decisions to promoting their business online, they handle all the tasks.
Solopreneurs face scalability issues, but entrepreneurs can keep building and scaling. Solopreneurs often experience a growth cap as they do not hire resources and delegate responsibilities to the team. On the other hand, the sky’s the limit for an entrepreneur. Once entrepreneurs hit their personal limitations, they build a team to increase revenue growth. However, a solopreneur’s aspiration is not to build an empire; rather, the goal is to establish a small, manageable business that allows them to make their own decisions. However, with the right business model and tools, even a solopreneur can scale up their capabilities considerably.
3. Focus Areas
Solopreneurs have a singular focus, but entrepreneurs have multiple focus areas. Solopreneurs typically have a single focus. Their business serves a specific niche and they usually provide only one service to their clients. On the other hand, entrepreneurs run businesses that offer multiple services and they employ teams to manage different areas. For instance, a solopreneur may provide social media management services and is likely to be focused on delivering a set of packaged services to their clients within the deadline. On the other hand, an entrepreneur who runs a marketing agency with a team of five people can have many focuses and offer multiple services, such as social media management, branding, and content services.
4. Workplace Requirements
Solopreneurs have minimal workplace requirements, but entrepreneurs have complex workplace requirements. Due to the limited range of services that solopreneurs provide, their workplace needs are often minimal, such as requiring a computer and a secure Internet connection. Moreover, the tasks can be performed remotely. However, entrepreneurs have more complex workplace requirements. For instance, business owners who are into manufacturing need a physical space to create and store their products.
5 Steps to Become a Solopreneur
Wondering how to become a solopreneur—and that too a successful one? It’s easy to set yourself up for success if you focus on the five steps discussed below.
1. Identify the Demand in the Marketplace
For a business to succeed, there must be market demand for the services you’re providing. Therefore, before setting up your independent business, determine the answers to the following questions:
- Are there other successful solopreneurs in the marketplace with established businesses similar to yours?
- If so, then how are you going to differentiate your company from the competition?
2. Register Your Business
Although you can technically run your business as a single proprietor, it would be wise to go the extra mile and register your company as an LLC. Registering your business offers legal protection and secures your personal assets. The first step in the registration process is to apply for an employer identification number (EIN) with the internal revenue service (IRS). Thereafter, you need to open a business bank account and file a registration with the Secretary of State department by paying a nominal fee as the final step to successfully register your business.
3. Build Your Brand Identity
After registering your business, focus on building your solopreneur brand. Like other businesses, your brand needs to have a name, logo, design, and visual components. As a solopreneur, your name is essentially the brand. It is therefore important that you provide excellent customer service to your clients to fortify your brand image. Therefore, while building your solopreneur brand, consider asking yourself the following questions to optimize your business value and build an effective brand strategy:
- What do I represent? What do I want to achieve as a brand?
- Who is my ideal customer? Why should a client/customer choose me over a competitor?
4. Determine the Channels to Reach Your Customers
Once you have a business idea, you must determine how to attract clients. To put it another way, you need an effective marketing strategy, and coming up with one can involve a lot of trial and error. Solopreneurs usually employ various online channels—websites, social media, email, and instant messaging—to reach out to the target audience. No matter what digital marketing tactics you use, it’s important to test it for a period of 90 days. In case it doesn’t work out, be flexible to change your strategy on the fly.
5. Network with Other Solopreneurs
Adding other solopreneurs to your network can help grow your own business. You can collaborate with them on projects. They may even recommend you to their clients for upcoming projects. Here are a few ways to start networking with other solopreneurs:
- Get active on LinkedIn and Twitter
- Join relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups and communities
- Request your connections to introduce you to other solopreneurs
- Organize a local meet-up
- Join a co-working space to meet other like-minded professionals
Examples of Popular Solopreneurs
There are countless ways to establish a self-led business; all you need is the motivation to transform your business vision into reality. Here are some popular solopreneurs to help you find your inspiration:
Jackie Aina is an American beauty YouTuber. In 2008, she started filming make-up tutorials for YouTube from her home, and she quickly became one of the most well-known beauty experts on the platform. With over three-and-a-half million subscribers on her channel currently, she offers advice on how to apply make-up on all complexions, provides skincare tips, and inspires other women to become self-confident.
Marie Forleo is a famous business coach who identifies herself as a multi-passionate entrepreneur. The successful millionaire produces a number of free inspirational content on life-changing ideas that can be downloaded from her website. She also appears on a show called “MarieTV” where she interviews some of the biggest business tycoons in the world.
Farnoosh Torabi is an American personal finance expert, journalist, and author. With an education in journalism and editorial work experience in popular agencies such as Money Magazine and Oprah Magazine, she started her own podcast called ‘So Money’ to provide financial advice aligned with a subscriber’s personal goals and needs.
Embark on Your Solopreneurship Journey with Emeritus
From flexible lifestyle to high-income potential to location-independent work, solopreneurship satisfies many dream job criteria. Even though a career in solopreneurship seems rewarding and thrilling, it demands aspirants to possess multiple skills and expertise to run a one-man enterprise. Enroll in Emeritus’ online entrepreneurship courses offered in association with top global universities to learn key industry concepts and skills needed to establish yourself as a successful solopreneur.
By Rupam Deb
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