Most people understand that solopreneurship is increasingly becoming the best path to take. The path of a solopreneur leads to a more fulfilling life. You will have more control over your destiny, freedom, and flexibility.
However, it is not all unicorns and rainbows. To succeed as a solopreneur, you should learn how to survive in a highly challenging environment. To excel as a solo entrepreneur, you have to gracefully clear tricky hurdles without falling hard on the way.
You can get more insights by following the solopreneur hour. In this audio podcast, Michael O’Neal co-hosts the program with the brightest and best solopreneurs from all walks of life. The network comprises comedians, actors, fitness, music, internet marketing, network marketing, and so on. In the next section, you will get to understand what is a solopreneur.
What is a Solopreneur?
The term solopreneur essentially blends two words; entrepreneur and solo. It describes anyone who runs and owns his business with no employees. He is a person who manages, organizes, and assumes the risk of an enterprise or business without any assistance from a partner.
However, solopreneurs can at times outsource certain tasks or hire contractors even though they run the business alone. It helps them to free their time from tasks that are outside their areas of competency or interest and focus on those tasks that help them to scale their business further and grow.
Solopreneur is an excellent choice for service providers that work with customers one on one. Examples include illustrators, artists, consultants, coaches, copywriters, and designers. You can also work as a solopreneur when selling handmade products and goods that are not produced in masses.
Now that you know the solopreneur definition, let us differentiate it from an entrepreneur. We will also look at the differences between solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. It will help you to understand the steps that you should take to become a solopreneur more easily. With this knowledge, you can now comfortably define solopreneur. However, it is good to go a step further and differentiate these business persons from entrepreneurs.
What is an Entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is a person who comes up with a new business idea, enjoys most of the rewards, and bears most of the risks. In most cases, you will see an entrepreneur as a source of new ideas, services, goods, and business/ or procedures.
Entrepreneurs have a key role to play in all economies. These people use the necessary initiative and skills in anticipating needs and bringing good new ideas in the market. Entrepreneurs who succeed in taking on the startup risk get several rewards like continued growth opportunities, fame, and profits. The ones that fail suffer great losses and then become less prevalent in the markets. If this sounds confusing, let’s now look at solopreneur vs. entrepreneur.
Differences Between Entrepreneur and Solopreneur?
Are you wondering whether there is any difference between solopreneur vs entrepreneur? The truth of the matter is that several things differentiate between these two people. All solopreneurs are entrepreneurs and all entrepreneurs aren’t solopreneurs. It is the best starting point if you want to know the difference between an entrepreneur and a solopreneur.
First, solopreneurs are both business employees and founders. If you work as a solopreneur, you will manage all the elements in your business. You don’t heavily rely on the delegation of tasks to other people to get things done. Therefore, you will be solely responsible for the production and delivery of the products and services that keep your business afloat.
On the other hand, entrepreneurs often hire teams and manage them. An entrepreneur begins by running the business solo and eventually hires a management team to help in carrying out the various tasks. Entrepreneurs normally outsource the fulfillment of products and services to their staff to help them only focus on managing the business. After an entrepreneur builds a team, he will build a managerial role to oversee the work of his employees.
Entrepreneur Vs Solopreneur
In most cases, solopreneurs have a single business focus. Therefore, these businessmen don’t focus on serial entrepreneurship. The business focuses on building a steady customer base in a particular business niche. It will make it easy for one person to manage such a business.
Solopreneurs don’t build a business to scale. On the other hand, the goal of entrepreneurs is to build a business to grow and scale the company so that they can sell it for profit down the line. However, selling the business down the line is not the case for all the entrepreneurs. Some look towards developing a profitable business that they can run for the rest of their lives.
In financial management, entrepreneurs have to manage taxes, benefits, and payroll because they have employees. Therefore, they have a bigger financial management objective to handle than what solopreneurs do. The workplace requirements of solopreneurs are often minimal. They offer some of their services remotely hence minimizing the workplace requirements. With this knowledge, the best route depends on your personal preferences and the nature of business. Hope you now have a clear picture of solopreneur vs entrepreneur? Let us now take time to look at the step by step guide on how to become a solopreneur.
Step by Step Guide to Become a Solopreneur
Stage One: Achieving Liftoff
Achieving liftoff is the very first step to becoming a solopreneur. The amount of people who are confident enough to get something from the ground is quite small. The challenge is that you will be facing a lot of uncertainties as you choose to go into it full time. Therefore, the liftoff stage calls for a lot of time, grit, and guts investment.
You don’t want to leave anything to chances as you prepare to become a solopreneur. At this stage, you need to settle on a business idea, validate the idea, name the business, begin to taste it and prepare a budget that will allow you to survive once you are ready to start the business.
Settle on a Business idea
Settling on solopreneur business ideas is not as easy as you imagine. To become a solopreneur, you need to start with a solid business idea. Make sure you base your business idea on a thing that you have a lot of passion for. Remember you will be doing this thing day in and day out for the foreseeable future.
However, a business idea should also be on-demand. If not, the passion that you have for it will not help you to attain any success. When you combine demand with your passion, you will end up with a profitable business idea. Therefore, you will launch a successful business idea that will also excite you as you begin your day.
Do Your Research
After knowing the scope of your business, you need to research your field of business to get a realistic idea of what it takes to become successful. Pay close attention to how the other players in your industry position their offers. Know how they promote their products and the platforms on which they are most active.
However, the primary objective of this research is not to copy your competitors. It will give you some general ideas in what it takes to run such a business and identify any potential gaps in the market that you can fill.
The step will also assist you to figure out your limits and then narrow down to what you can do and what you can’t. It is also an ideal time for figuring out your target audience. There is no way you can be all things to all people. When you get specific about your target audience, it will enhance the efficiency of your business and marketing operations.
Make sure you define the ideal characteristics that your ideal customers share. These comprise of the buying process, challenges/pain points, goals, personality traits, professional details, and demographics. This information will help you to start developing detailed customer personas.
Give it a Name
Most solopreneurs believe that their business idea really begins to shape up at this point. When you put a name to your business idea, it is like giving it wings. You may get some ideas as you continue with your research. It will help you in brainstorming more possible names for the new venture.
As you narrow down your list, remember to check on the availability of your corresponding domain name. after finally settling on a domain name, don’t forget about the domain name. However, it is important to note that this step will take you some time. This should be the case if you really want to get great results.
You also need to attach a professional email address to your domain name. It will give your new venture the credibility that it deserves. It is also a good way of making your journey of becoming a Bonafede solopreneur very smooth.
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Practice Your Business Idea and Test It
Plan about one hour every day to work on your new business and grow it from there. The best idea at this phase is to detox from low-value activities. Forget about browsing social media mindlessly, Netflix binge-watching, and other activities that won’t move the needle in your enterprise. Instead, you have to trade the productive low-volume activities to grow your independent venture.
Establish Your Budget
The final step in this stage is figuring out the services, products, tools, and other expenditures that you will require for your business. From here, you will need to define your budget. The general rule of thumb is saving a minimum of six worth of living expenses before you can take the business idea full time.
State Two: Networking and Presence Creation
It is good that you are now in the second stage. The stage entails beginning to build your enterprise, establishing your online presence, and then networking with other players in your industry. For easy understanding, we can continue with each of these points from step six moving forward.
Begin to Build Your Brand
The brand is the thing that connects what you are promising to deliver to your clients to a set of triggers that remind customers about that promise. After figuring out the personality that you would like your brand to embody and the type of experience you would like your clients to get while interacting with you, you may start to develop visual assets that represent the promise of your brand. You may also put all this together by creating a brand style guide.
Create Your Online Presence
At this stage, you have the perfect opportunity to establish an online presence for your brand. Remember you already have a professional email and domain name. You have also developed visual assets that represent your brand.
The time now comes to build a website for your brand. It will help you to share what you will be doing, who you will be doing it for, and how you will be doing it. A portfolio site may be useful in showcasing your past projects depending on the kind of business that you are building. Examples include artists, illustrators, copywriters, web designers, graphic designers, and other operators in the creative business niche.
An excellent choice at this point would be the GoDaddy websites and marketing solutions. Most solopreneurs love GoDaddy because it is a DIY solution. It has ideal design templates for entrepreneurs in a broad range of industries and websites. It also has several marketing features to offer to users.
You will get the ability to manage your website and integrated marketing tools in a single place. GoDaddy Insight has tailored action plans and data-driven suggestions to assist you to keep improving your marketing efforts and website.
It also has customizable website themes that make it easy to change layouts, colors, and fonts instantly. The other features include 24/7 customer support, reliable and fast hosting, responsive design, and an inbuilt SSL certificate.
You should also register social handles that reflect your business name and brand. All these points will help you position yourself as a true professional in the industry. It will also help you in building trust with your potential customers and clients.
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Network with Others
Networking with others is among the best ways of putting yourself on the radar of your potential customers. A survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit states that networking is crucial to the entrepreneurial success of 78% of the startups.
Attend conventions and conferences for your business field and join professional organizations or groups in your area. A big network will help you in a big way even if you are working alone. Some of them can refer new customers to you in case they are so busy or if the customers aren’t a perfect fit for them. Networking, not to mention, can result in collaborations that will put you in front of a new audience. Networking will give you the solopreneur sidekick that you need most.
Stage Three: Organization and Consolidation
At this stage, there is a high possibility that you are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. You have been hustling to get out of the survival mode and have attained some form of cruising attitude. You also have reliable cash flowing in, a stable client or customer base, and a picture of how the next two to six months will look like. It is a great relief to get to this point but the hard work is not yet over.
In your struggle to get to this point, you should have built what we can refer to as the ‘technical debt’ along your way. It is a fancy way of saying that you have inevitably cut some corners somewhere.
At some point, you will have to handle the consequences in this stage. The initial stages to become an entrepreneur are basically successive sprints but no one can spring forever. The implication is that time has come to move to the next level.
At this stage, you will begin to settle in for the actual marathon. It entails getting all your ducks in the row and then nailing down the right procedures and systems to improve your productivity and profits radically. When you introduce automation in your business, it will free you up from the day to day operations niceties.
Once you automate certain processes, it can free up about two to three working hours per day hence increasing your productivity. To do this, you can set up your accounting and/or budgeting software. You can also develop email drip campaigns that have autoresponders. The other strategy is to use social media bots or set up auto-deposits with the bank. You can get more tips on this by following the solopreneur hour.
Tools such as IFTTT, Zapier, and Automate.io among others will connect the several apps and tools that you are using to your enterprise. They will also help in handling a big chunk of the administrative jobs on your behalf.
You can use them in automatically syncing your invoices with the accounting software, sending contracts to new customers for signing, and in creating a record of blog posts in spreadsheets and so on. It is one of the crucial steps in this step by step guide to become a solopreneur.
Remember Your Limits
Keeping your limits in mind is the most important thing at this stage. Trying to be or do everything will result in burnout. Setting boundaries is something that you should not be afraid of. The critical decision to focus on is whether you should outsource or hire.
At this stage, outsourcing specific tasks or projects is the best way forward. It will free up your time so that you can focus on the activities that will help you to scale and grow your venture. The step will help you to save the costs that come with hiring full-time in-house employees.
You can search for strategic partnerships within your network and also hire a virtual assistant. Everything revolves around you discovering your limits. You can work out on how you can elegantly transcend them with the assistance of others. It is one of the best places that you can be. As you get this far and down the line, you will discover that the world is your oyster.
How to Become a Solopreneur: Final Thoughts
This article covers the crucial steps that will take you through the process of becoming a solopreneur. You should be passionate about the business idea that you choose and define the scope of your business. The next thing is to conduct competitive research to help you identify your target audience.
The name that you give to your venture should represent the products or services that you are offering. Don’t forget to register a corresponding domain name for your business. Validate your solopreneur ideas and test them to see whether they will help you to succeed.
Begin small, eliminate or reduce low-value activities and set a budget that will keep you afloat. You now need to build your brand using visual assets and a logo. From here, create an online presence like claiming social media handles and building an effective website.
Establish your network for building momentum and getting clients. You can now get well-organized and consolidate your positions with the assistance of automation after you get over the initial hump. Lastly, consider how you will scale after hitting the limits of your capacity.
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