As a solopreneur myself, I know a thing or two about owning and operating a company of one. It can be the most freeing and rewarding experience of your life. But it isn’t easy and it’s definitely not for everyone.
The number one thing solopreneurs need to understand is doing your thing and running a business are two different skills.
Just because you’re a great X (the thing you do), doesn’t mean you’ll be a great entrepreneur.
With 22 million single-person businesses in the US and soloprenuership making up three-fourths of all U.S. businesses, it’s a business structure many pursue. So if you are dreaming of being a solopreneur or already are, let’s dive into what you need to succeed.
What is a Solopreneur
Let’s first be clear on what exactly a solopreneur is. According to Indeed, “a solopreneur is a person who builds, owns and manages a business and oversees all associated responsibilities with no employees”. They can operate as a Sole Proprietor, LLC, or Corporation.
Must Have Traits of a Solopreneur
The obvious benefits of solopreneurship are being your own boss and more flexibility.
But as the saying goes “with great freedom comes great responsibility.”
In order to reap the benefits of solopreneurship, you need to be equipped with determination, discipline and fearlessness. You’ll also need a healthy dose of financial literacy, planning and organizational skills and support.
Be a Planner
There is a bit of “just winging” involved when it comes to being a solopreneur. Yet, if you want to be successful you need to start with a plan. Don’t jump from idea to launch. You need to take the time to think through your idea and create a working business plan. Slowing down and putting together a plan will force you to make sure it’s viable and not just a pipe dream.
Boost Your Financial Literacy
Most solopreneurs are sole proprietors which means all financial liabilities fall on you personally. Because of this you need to be sure you have the financial resources and capital to take care of your business and personal needs. If your personal finances aren’t in order, I highly recommend you work on that first before starting a business.
Focus On Customers
Time is your most valuable asset and as a solopreneur it may seem like you never have enough of it. That’s why you need to be hyper-focused on what matters most in your business which is bringing in new customers.
This means you need to focus on marketing and sales.
I’ve known many business owners who were employees in an industry for years and wanted to be their own boss. They assumed transitioning to solopreneurship in that industry would be easy. They quickly discover how challenging it is to drum up business without a big name behind you.
So again marketing is key. Yes it’s a lot of work. But it’s the driving force behind your success, so be sure to make it a priority.
If you suffer from “shiny object” syndrome, solopreneurship isn’t going to be easy. You need to hone your discipline muscle and learn to organize your time. Since you are your own boss, you must learn how to manage your time and create systems and processes.
Set boundaries with yourself and your customers and be disciplined.
Learn to Delegate
You can’t do it all. While as a solopreneur you don’t have employees, you can hire freelancers, contractors and virtual assistants. Yes this costs money, but your time is money.
I’m all for learning how to do things and being resourceful, but you have to be smart with your time. Of course you can learn to create a website and it might take you 40+ hours. Or you could hire a freelancer for $2000 who could get the job done faster and better. If your time is worth $50 per hour, paying a freelancer is worth it. It allows you to be out there drumming up business.
And don’t forget to leverage technology. From quickbooks to project management software, there are endless programs designed to make your life easier and your business run smoother.
You truly can’t run a successful business alone, you need support in some form or fashion. I recommend cultivating a group of advisors, peers and colleagues you can meet with regularly. Whether you do this in-person or virtually, be sure you’re surrounding yourself with people that challenge you and keep you moving in the right direction.
Of course be sure you have a good accountant, insurance agent and lawyer on your team. Those three professionals are priceless to business success.
Take care of yourself
Running a company of one isn’t for the faint of heart. It will take a lot out of you. This is why you need to make time for yourself and your personal life. Figure out what taking care of yourself looks like for you and prioritize it.
It is absolutely possible to be a successful solopreneur and have a fulfilling personal life. Just make sure you cultivate the traits and behaviors we talked about today. Your goal is to operate like a well-oiled machine and stay sane.
Have an idea for a solopreneur business, but not sure if it’s viable? Maybe you’re already a solepreneur and need some support building the skills I discussed today? Book a FREE Start Here Meeting to talk with a Business Coach to help you navigate solopreneurship.