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Published on July 9, 2019

How to Become a Successful Solopreneur and Thrive

How to Become a Successful Solopreneur and Thrive

The term “solopreneur”, while not new, has gained popularity lately as a way to describe the growing number of “solo entrepreneurs” out there today. And even though there is a lot of overlap between an entrepreneur and a solopreneur, there are subtle distinctions to be made between the two.

In this article, you will learn about the differences between a solopreneur and an entrepreneur. You will also learn how to become a successful solopreneur and thrive.

Solopreneurs vs Entrepreneurs

The Differences

Solopreneurs place a high value on control. By definition, a solopreneur is a one person operation.

By contrast, an entrepreneur is building a team of people who specialize in specific areas of the business. Think sales, accounting, customer service etc.

A solopreneur, on the other hand, is responsible for every aspect of the business. Now, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have help, but more on that later.

Because solopreneurs by nature work alone, most tend to be introverts. If you need a group dynamic in order to get your creative juices flowing or to stay productive, solopreneurship might not be for you.

And because solopreneurs don’t have employees that work specified hours, they can generally set their own schedule. This can be a double edged sword. It gives the solopreneur the flexibility to take time off as needed, but without self motivation, the business won’t survive.

The Similarities

Both solopreneurs and entrepreneurs build real businesses. Sometimes people think of the solopreneur as someone with a lucrative hobby or someone who has “created a job for themselves”. And while this may be true for some, the vast majority of solopreneurs are building real businesses that provide a continuous flow of recurring income that builds wealth.

Both strive to build businesses that can be sustained on their own and require minimal oversight to maintain. Both solopreneurs and entrepreneurs are building businesses that can be sustainable with minimal oversight. The entrepreneur does this by putting a management team in place so that the company runs efficiently in their absence. The solopreneur uses systems of automation to achieve the same result.

All successful businesses must start with a founder who has a clear vision of what they want to accomplish. So both solopreneurs and entrepreneurs set long term goals and short term goals that are clearly defined and measurable in order to track their success.

Both are also self-determined. Self determination is the concept that your reward (or income) is directly proportional to the effort you put in. In other words, as an employee, if you make a sale that generates $1,000,000 for the company, you only get a small percentage of that as a commission. But as a solopreneur you get the entire amount.

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The Benefits of Solopreneurship

There are a myriad reasons that people become solopreneurs. The desire to become your own boss, dissatisfaction with current employment, flexible work schedule, more family/vacation time and of course a much higher income potential. But there are some other, not so obvious benefits to becoming a solopreneur that include:

Expand Your Skill Sets

Because you are responsible for all aspects of your business, it forces you to tackle all the problems that will inevitably arise in every area.

Not so good at maintaining a website? Don’t worry, it will eventually go down forcing you to figure out how to fix it.

Not good at sales or public speaking? You will be as soon as your income depends on it.

But don’t worry, after a while, all solopreneurs get used to these things and pretty soon you’ll be taking them as they come.

Can Work on the Most Important Parts of Your Business

As an employee, you are forced to endure a lot of things that are completely (un) or even counterproductive to the mission of the company. Think about how many useless meetings you’ve had to sit through, or how many reports you had to make or paperwork you had to fill out that was completely unproductive. That is a ton of non productive activities that you are required to perform.

As a solopreneur, you are freed from all that frivolous CYA paperwork and you can concentrate on the most productive parts of your business.

Can “Turn on a Dime”

In today’s fast paced world, being able to adapt to changing market conditions is the key to building a successful business. As a solopreneur, you have the ultimate flexibility in this area. With no investors, shareholders, board members or even employees, you can adjust your strategies and implement them very quickly.

Control the Brand

As a solopreneur, you are the brand. You are the one responsible for your public identity. This also means that it’s up to you to promote your brand identity to the public.

Make What You’re Worth

Few people in corporate America think that they are actually getting paid what they are worth, while this may or may not be true.

As a solopreneur, your compensation is directly related to your efforts. There are truly no limits on the income of a solopreneur.

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More Job Satisfaction Than the Average Worker

In a recent survey, just barely over half of the U.S. population (51%) reported that they were satisfied with their jobs.[1] Conversely, over 80% of solopreneurs reported job satisfaction with 76% planning on remaining in their careers in the future.[2]

A Sense of Accomplishment You Can’t Get Anywhere Else

Have you ever taken on a big project that made you feel overwhelmed at times? That made you think that you bit off a little more than you could chew?

Maybe it was that hike in the Grand Canyon that turned out to be more than you bargained for. Or maybe it was deciding that you were going to paint your house instead of paying someone else to do it? Whatever it was, think about the pride of accomplishment you felt when you pushed through and finished the project. That feeling is what motivates the solopreneur to succeed.

Able to Work from Anywhere

Because of the internet, you no longer have to rent, stock and maintain a physical storefront. Literally everything you need to do in order to sell a product or service can be done over the internet. And if you are selling information or software products, those can be delivered immediately via download.

Types of Businesses That Are Best for the Solopreneur

Obviously not all types of businesses are suited for a solopreneur. If you want to actually manufacture a product, you still need to have a physical building with machines and employees in order to produce that product. But there are a lot of internet based businesses that are perfect for the solopreneur.

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is someone who helps others with (mostly) mundane tasks like sorting and answering email, scheduling appointments and social media management. These are all activities that take a significant amount of time and people will gladly pay others to do.

Blogger

This is one of the most popular ways people become solopreneurs. Start by picking a subject (or niche) that you already have an interest in and start creating content around that subject. Then, become involved in groups that share a similar interest and contribute.

This combination of creating quality content and networking with others will grow the audience for your blog. Once you develop an audience, you can monetize it by selling ads and or using affiliate marketing.

Ebook Author

If writing is your thing, becoming an Ebook author may be right up your alley. We all know how hard it is for a first time writer to get published. Lucky for you the internet has made it possible for almost anyone to get published.

By writing books in electronic form, you’ll have no publishing costs. And since you are selling the book yourself, you get to keep 100% of the profits. And yes, you can even sell your book on Amazon (although they will take a percentage of the sales price).

Graphic Designer

If the visual arts are more your thing, becoming a freelance graphic designer may be for you. Graphic designers help companies design logos and other visual content to help promote a company’s identity and brand.

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Life Coach

Are you a people person? Then becoming a life coach is something to consider. You will work with individuals helping them with things like budgeting and finance, organization and even family and personal relationships. This can all be done using email, Skype or even over the phone.

We’ve only gone over a very few of the businesses that are suited for the solopreneur. There are a lot more you could choose from. Things like podcaster, event planner, tutor, handyman, travel consultant and many more. Your possibilities are almost limitless.

How to Succeed as a Solopreneur

Becoming a solopreneur can be exciting, rewarding and lucrative. But it’s also a lot of work. Sometimes, people become overwhelmed at the thought of doing everything themselves. So here are some tips you can use to lessen the burden and become a successful solopreneur.

1. Have a Solid Plan

Just like any business, it’s important that you set goals both long and short term so that you can measure your progress. To that end, you should develop a mission statement and a vision statement that you can refer to down the road.

Your plan should include four components

  • How will you grow your business?
  • How are you planning for that growth?
  • How do you plan to create passive income?
  • Will you be expanding by adding additional products or services?

If you can map out where you want to be, you’ll have a much easier time getting there.

2. You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

One of the most intimidating things about becoming a solopreneur is the amount of work involved. After all, if you’re in charge of sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, advertizing, branding, social media and more, it quickly becomes overwhelming.

But here’s the good news, you don’t have to go it alone. There are a ton of other solopreneurs out there willing to take on the tasks that you can’t or just don’t want to do. These people specialize in services like website development, email marketing, copywriting, accounting, graphic design, social media management, and a lot more. By using these other solopreneurs, it will free you up concentrate on the most productive areas of your business.

Remember in the beginning when I said that, just because a solopreneur doesn’t have employees, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have help? This is what I mean. You can get all the benefits of an employee without all of the headaches by using freelancers and only paying for the work you need.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to “Pivot”

All too often we get a vision in our head of how things need to go or what they should be like. But the world doesn’t really work that way. Circumstances change, markets change and customer’s taste’s change.

Be willing to adjust your priorities, goals and even your vision of the company to correspond with these changes. After all, this is one area where you, as a solopreneur have a huge advantage over your larger competitors.

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4. Don’t Be in Competition With Anyone but Yourself

Trying to compare yourself to others is always a losing game.

First of all, you will always be behind someone, and ahead of others. We tend to always focus on who’s in front of us, and not who’s behind us. This is a mistake on two counts. By only focusing on who is ahead of us, we may miss that person behind us that came up with a new strategy and is about to leave everyone in the dust.

Secondly and more importantly, it’s too easy to get discouraged and give up if you are constantly seeing your progress as not measuring up to others. Plus, remember that you are only comparing yourself to what others want you to see. We all put our best foot forward in public situations but, no one really knows what it’s really like for other people.

In short, the best way to progress is to celebrate all your successes, both large and small and stay motivated.

5. Automation

This is the best friend of the solopreneur. You should always try to automate as much of the work as possible.

Use email autoresponders to market to customers. Use Sales funnels to acquire customers and sell products. Use social media scheduling software to make regular posts.

There is a lot of automation software available today, take advantage of it!

Conclusion

There are an estimated 18 million full time solopreneurs in the U.S. with and additional 12 million part time or so called “side gig” solopreneurs.[3] And the numbers keep rising every year.

The appeal is easy to understand — more control over your business, a flexible schedule, higher income potential, more time with friends and family, and virtually unlimited vacation time. The solopreneur also has the luxury of outsourcing duties that an employee would normally handle, thus eliminating the need for employee training, paid sick leave, benefits and payroll as well as employee turnover.

In short, the solopreneur gets to be the boss without all the headaches of employees. The world of the solopreneur keeps growing with no end in sight. In short, there’s never been a better time to go “Solo”.

More About Solopreneurship

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

David Carpenter

Lifelong entrepreneur and business owner helping others to realize the American Dream of business ownership

How to Become a Successful Solopreneur and Thrive The Secrets of High Performing Teams: 9 Tips from Top Business Leaders 10 Essential Skills to Become a Successful Team Leader and Manager 10 Simple Yet Powerful Business Goals to Set This Year How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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