Erik Heyl // Content Marketing

This post will cover how to be a solopreneur, why it may be right for you and what you need to get started.

But first…

Imagine this: You walk into work the same way you have for the last decade, say “howdy” to the same people, sit down at your desk, and then it hits you…

“Is this my life for the next 40 years”?

You go through your day, completing your tasks, going to meetings and (let’s not forget) schmoozing with your boss. But the question won’t leave the back of your mind. That little voice gets louder until you can’t wait for 5 o’clock. 

5 o’clock comes. You go home. Have dinner, spend time with family. But as the night winds down, you find your mind racing, dreading the next morning. You think of ways you could ditch your job.

If this sounds like you, then you may be a solopreneur

But what exactly is a solopreneur, and how will you know if it is right for you?

Let’s dive in!

What is a Solopreneur?

Merriam-Webster defines “solopreneur” as:

“One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise without the help of a partner: a solo entrepreneur.”

A solopreneur is a person who does everything. They are the: 

  • Sales department
  • Accountant
  • Customer support
  • Copywriter
  • Web designer

A solopreneur is someone that either doesn’t want a team or that works better alone.

Another solopreneur definition is someone that wants a “lifestyle business” rather than an “enterprise business” with overhead, offices, and employees. 

Is Being a Solopreneur Right for Me?

In order to answer this question, you’ll want to consider several things:

Your Personality Type

Are you one of those people that were the center of attention in school? We all remember those group projects. Ask yourself, did you look forward to these? 

Another question to ask is: do you regularly “take charge” in an office setting, or in meetings with your colleagues? 

Or…

Are you happiest when you work quietly, away from the “action” that an office has? And do you want complete control over your business?

Solopreneurship will be right for you if you want complete control (and responsibility!) over your day-to-day business and overall vision and are not interested in managing employees or teams of people.

Your Resources

Resources can be anything from how much you have in the bank to fund your business to things like knowledge of specific tools or people you may need. Ask yourself: 

  • Do you have enough to incorporate if you reach a certain threshold of income? 
  • Can you hire employees, accountants, and lawyers? 
  • Can you afford to hire web developers, graphic designers, copywriters, and video editors? 
  • And if you’re looking at your own physical product, can you pay manufacturers? 
  • Do you have enough time to be a web developer, accountant, salesperson and customer support agent? This is especially important if you have a full-time job that has you at the computer all day, every day. Do you have the energy to build your business after your workday?

Your Family

One last thing to consider is your family. If you’re planning on having a family or already have one, ask yourself the following:

  • Will you be able to sway them to your cause? 
  • Will they be able to handle not having you around, or at odd hours, if you deal with employees or outside vendors? 
  • Is your marriage strong enough to weather financial trials? 
  • Would you hire family members?

Solopreneur Vs Entrepreneur

There are a few benefits to being a solopreneur rather than a full-fledged entrepreneur. An entrepreneur in this case is someone that hires team members to do things that they don’t want to or don’t have the expertise for. It’s someone that wants to build a large company, possibly to sell in the future.

  1. You’re not tied to one place to work. Coffee Shops, the beach, a hotel in town, camping, all are fair game. You could even be a digital nomad, working in different countries around the globe. Being a digital nomad is worth its own post, and you can find more on this at Investopedia.
  2. Earning potential. Entrepreneurs pay everyone else first. Solopreneurs pay themselves first. You can also set your own rate or increase it at any time. 
  3. Flexibility. If you want to take a day off with the family, you can. Or if you’re sick, you can take time to recover. As a solopreneur, you have more control over your life.

How to Be a Successful Solopreneur

Now that you’ve decided that being a solopreneur is what you want, here are some quick tips to get you started, and you can find more here:

Set Your Goals 

Start small, figure out how you want each day to start, what tasks are most important, and when you want to finish. This gives you a foundation, and will lead to you developing an unbreakable habit and routine. You’ll skip past the morning insanity that most people have, i.e. wondering what to wear, wondering what to eat, making time to exercise, and not having a plan for your workday. 

Here’s how to start.

Can it get monotonous? 

Yes! But this discipline is how you build a successful, happy life and solo business.

Branding

You’ll also want to figure out who your audience is and develop a brand that speaks to that specific section of the market. Remember that people do business with people, not corporations, and you can’t appeal to everyone. Observe how your audience dresses, talks and acts, and incorporate that into your videos, podcasts, products and writing.

Get Out There 

Join your local Chamber of Commerce or business group. People can’t be customers if they don’t know you exist. If you don’t have one, a LinkedIn account is excellent as it enables you to connect with like-minded business people around the globe.

Have a Website

These days, this means using WordPress, rather than programming pages by hand. Options include Elementor, Thrive Suite and others. These tools make it easy to create a website that attracts customers, without hiring graphic artists or developers. Thrive Suite focuses on conversion and has other tools to collect leads, create offers, memberships, and courses. 

You’ll need hosting, which will depend on your budget. Several good ones include:

Whether you’re providing a service, products or memberships, you’ll need a shopping cart, such as ThriveCart or WooCommerce, and you need a way for customers to pay you. Two payment options are Stripe and PayPal. WooCommerce and ThriveCart support both of these.

As a solopreneur, you’ll want to automate as much as you can. This can include project management (an app like Notion is perfect here) as well as setting meetings with clients, using tools such as Calendly and Zoom.

For bookkeeping, QuickBooks is an option, as is Freshbooks.

Self-Care

We’ve all heard of successful and unsuccessful solopreneur examples, and much of what makes a successful solopreneur comes down to self-care, such as

  • Take breaks. Elon Musk is famous for stating “Work like hell. I mean, you just have to put in 80-to-100-hour weeks every week.” But even the best need to take breaks during the day. Solopreneurs are not machines.
  • Schedule your work time. The Pomodoro Method works well, as does Eugene Schwartz’s method of setting a timer for 33 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break.
  • Set specific tasks and, when completed, your workday is finished.
  • Make family time a priority and use this as a reward for getting things done.
  • Don’t take unscheduled phone calls.
  • Train people how to treat you and your time.
  • If you find yourself feeling anxious or depressed, make time for those feelings and do what makes you happy. Ignoring this is a sure path to burnout and worse things.

Solopreneur Ideas

Here are just a few paths you can take when starting your solopreneur adventure. While you may be tempted to do a bit here and a bit there, focus on one path until you see success.

Freelancing

One of the first things you may do is to freelance and exchange your service for one time contracts. With this option, you’ll go from effectively having “one” boss to several, as you’ll always need to have projects you’re working on, prospects you’re pitching to and be fostering relationships with current clients for further work.

You’ll need to price yourself properly, neither being too high nor too low, to attract the right clients. You’ll also want to know when to “fire” a client. 

If you want higher tier clients, never be afraid to raise your rates. Businesses want to work with professionals and expect to pay professional rates.

Ecommerce

So what is ecommerce? Typically it is where you set up a store that sells physical products (like t-shirts or cookware for instance), and when a customer purchases, you ship it out. A more advanced version would be a subscription model (such as what Rampage Coffee has) There are several ways to do this, such as: 

  1. Shopify 
  2. Amazon
  3. A do-it-yourself solution

The trouble with Shopify is that you’re giving over a large amount of control to a third-party and there are extras to buy. This is the same issue with Amazon, as they can shut your account down with no recourse. 

A do-it-yourself solution means that you’re in charge, even if you’re working with a fulfillment house (like ShipsStation).

Membership Sites and Digital Products

Another option is to develop digital products, such as video courses or ebooks, or membership sites where members pay a monthly fee for access to specific content. 

Examples of membership sites would be Mindvalley, SitePoint and any streaming service you can think of (like Netflix for instance).

Some things to remember are:

  • You’ll be creating a lot of content for your membership site.
  • You’ll be handling customer support at the start.
  • Digital products and membership sites can be combined.
  • You’ll have to consider whether you want to use a third-party platform (Thinkific, Udemy, ThriveCart), or something in-house like Thrive Suite and WooCommerce.

Affiliate Sites and Flipping

Another option is setting up and monetizing affiliate sites. Here you pick a niche, and then find one or several products you’d like to promote via your website using written content, emails, and video. When someone buys from the links on your site, you get a commission.  

Pros of this:

  1. No customers to deal with
  2. No fulfillment
  3. You have control over how you present your information
  4. You can start with free traffic
  5. You can flip the site for 30-40x its monthly revenue, via online marketplaces like.

That said, there are some potential cons: 

  • No control over commission rate (Amazon)
  • You’ll need to keep abreast of changes in Google and SEO
  • It can take a few months to see results
  • As your site grows, you may need to hire a team of writers and finding good ones takes time.

What’s Your Why? Your Path to Solopreneurship

As you’ve seen, being a solopreneur can be an enormous commitment in time, money and energy. And it can certainly be scary at first. But if you keep the above in mind and realize that unlike being an entrepreneur, the solopreneur business model can be many models or even a mix, you’ll be able to not only pick the best one for you but pivot far easier than someone with an enterprise to run. 

Keep your head up, keep going, and take one step at a time and soon you’ll wonder why you didn’t leave that job sooner. You’ll be happier, more successful and in total control of your life.

One last question: Are you interested or committed? If you’re interested, you’ll work when it’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.

So, if you’re committed and ready to leave your old life behind to build something great, then get ready.

You’re in for one hell of a ride.

Let’s get after it!

About the Author

I've always loved to write and when I came across copywriting and content marketing, I knew this was it for me. But what does that mean "for you"?

You'll have someone in your corner that will take your emails and punch them up (sales letters too!), and if content is your game, the last thing you want is something that tries to speak to everyone, or that sounds robotic.

I always write as if I'm having a conversation with a friend.

Connect with me and let's get you more sales, engagement, profit and a larger tribe.

Erik Heyl

>