Becoming a solopreneur and building your business can be an exciting journey. It’s an opportunity to fashion the lifestyle you want in the way you want. And due to new technologies that support flexible work, starting and running a business from anywhere in the world is easier.
If you’re interested in creating personal and financial freedom in an uncertain economy, being a solopreneur can help. But who is a solopreneur? What do they do? And can you become one? You’ll find all the answers you need here.
This article explains everything about solopreneurship. You’ll learn how to successfully start and run a solo business and ways to become a successful solopreneur.
Table of Contents
A solopreneur is a person who builds and runs their business individually. They’re responsible for all decisions in the business and rarely have employees. The word solopreneur is an amalgamation of “solo” and “entrepreneur” – meaning an entrepreneur who works solo.
While many think of solopreneurs as people who start a business as a hobby or side gig, that’s not always true. Solopreneurs, just like any other business owner, run real businesses to create commercial value and earn profit. They just decide to do it alone and outsource any work they can’t or won’t personally handle, enabling scalable growth.
Solopreneurs run businesses of all types, from e-commerce to digital marketing, affiliate marketing, and freelancing.
We’ve mentioned that a solopreneur is an entrepreneur, but is there any difference between them? The answer is yes – there are several. Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs differ materially in terms of their business goals, the size of their business, and entrepreneurial outlook.
Ultimately, while solopreneurs are a brand of entrepreneurs, there are key differences between them. You don’t have to be a solopreneur to be an entrepreneur. You can run as many businesses as you like, take on employees, and grow your company as large as possible.
But if you’d like to create a small, profitable, hands-on enterprise, you’re likely considering solopreneurship.
There are numerous benefits to becoming a solopreneur. For instance, as a solo business owner, you’re in control of your hours and can work from anywhere in the world – whether that’s your sofa, a coffee shop, or an island beachfront.
Other reasons why being a solopreneur is so appealing include:
You’re now familiar with what a solopreneur does and the benefits of being one. But how do you become a solopreneur? That’s up next. Here are eleven core areas to focus on as a new or aspiring lone business owner.
As with all business ventures, your solopreneurship journey should begin with a marketable business idea. And not just any idea, but one that’s specific, achievable, and grounded in a niche you’re comfortable with.
A good place to start is with your current skill set. Do you have any skills that lean towards a particular business? For instance, if you’re great at marketing and selling stuff, you could start a career in e-commerce. Or you could consider if you can apply those skills elsewhere. Here’s a handy list of 21 small business ideas to get you started.
Also, determine if you have or can obtain the resources you’d need to start a business in that niche. It’s alright if things feel a bit unclear right now. As you go through the next steps, you’ll gain better clarity on your idea and how it might work out.
Every successful business starts with a plan. A business plan helps you answer the most critical questions that determine if your company will succeed. It’s a practical document that converts your idea into a roadmap with clearly defined objectives.
Some of the questions you’d be answering in a business plan, which are vital to your enterprise, include:
While you might not like some of the answers you get, it’s important to be honest. Laying a good plan early can save substantial work later on and place your business on a path to success.
Want to figure out if you have a good business idea and plan? There’s no better way than to test things out. Even if it feels like you’ve hit on the perfect business scheme, testing can help solidify your proposition.
A couple of ways to test out your idea are:
You could also administer polls and questionnaires amongst your friends and family to learn what they think about your business and if they would be willing to buy from you.
With your business idea and plan sorted, it’s time to start building your company. In doing this, think about the kind of impression you want to create with customers and work towards that.
This impression should permeate every aspect of your brand, from your business name to logo, website, social media pages, emails, etc. For more advice, please read our guide on how to build a powerful brand for your business.
Keep in mind that even great first impressions are wasted without follow-through. So, committing to delivering quality to customers at every turn is critical.
It’s unavoidable, really. As you set up, organize, and manage your small business, you’ll find yourself taking on tasks and doing things you probably aren’t familiar with. That’s alright. It’s part of the personal growth that comes with running your own business. So, be prepared to embrace those challenges and learn the skills you’ll need to cope.
And it’s not just tasks like product sourcing, marketing, sales, or bookkeeping you’ll need to skill up for. There’s an interpersonal aspect to being a business owner that most find they need to learn.
For instance, negotiating and communicating effectively with clients can be crucial to business success.
Between sourcing products, organizing your business, marketing to customers, concluding sales, and managing finances, there’s a lot to being an entrepreneur. With so many tasks requiring your attention, you’ll need to learn how to prioritize.
You can manage your time by using daily task planners and a priority checklist. While tens of chores may be fighting for your attention daily, you may achieve more by focusing on the top 4-5 tasks at any point.
Another great way to manage your time is by blocking each task into specific periods. For example, you can allocate a specific time frame to complete a task. Once that time is up, you’ll move on to another task.
Yes, you’re a solopreneur. But that doesn’t mean you have to do absolutely everything by yourself. On the contrary, you can and should get help when you need it. Plus, by outsourcing tasks when necessary or possible, you can manage your time more effectively and devote more attention to core business assignments.
How do you decide what to outsource? Pareto’s Law, which says that 80% of results happen from 20% of efforts, can lend some help here. So, consider which tasks provide 80% of the results. These could be sales meetings, content marketing, or cold-calling leads.
Once you’ve determined those tasks, begin to outsource whatever’s not directly contributing to the 80%. Or better yet, you could simply outsource tasks you’re uncomfortable with or don’t have the time or skills for.
Technology can be incredibly helpful in helping you organize your business, especially if your company is primarily digital. Numerous free and paid tools can help with your work, including the following:
Financial discipline is the bedrock on which every successful business is built. If you’re not mindful about your money, you may soon run out. So, it’s critical to monitor all of your expenses and income closely.
One of the best ways to do this is by creating and sticking to a budget. As a projection of your expected expenses and income over a set period, a budget not only helps you stay financially disciplined it’s also a helpful planning tool.
Another important aspect of financial discipline is maintaining a rigorous bookkeeping habit. Keep receipts, track expenses, maintain your balance sheets, and ensure every penny is accounted for. If you cannot do this alone, a freelance accountant can help.
Being a solopreneur can sometimes feel lonely. Without the presence of other employees who can sometimes share the work (and emotional) burden, it’s easy to feel strained. Joining a community with other solopreneurs is a great way to help relieve the stress and gain a listening ear.
Make an effort to connect with other solo business owners. They can relate to the ups and downs of running a solo business, and the valuable connections you make can also help grow your business.
Lastly, it’s key to realize that even though solopreneurs run solo by nature, it’s okay to receive help when you need it. For example, sometimes, you need a fresh pair of eyes to think through a plan. Or you need a second brain to consider business issues in an objective manner. These needs commonly crop up, so you should prepare for them.
One way to receive the help you need is through a business coach. They are professionals whose job is to help you work through business issues. Another option is to find a business mentor – preferably someone who also experienced solopreneurship – and seek their input.
Business support can also come from a platform like Alibaba.com that helps you find e-commerce clients, simplify logistics, and provide client-worth fulfillment.
If you’re starting a B2B e-commerce store, Alibaba.com can provide the marketing, logistics, and fulfillment support you need. Partnering with online marketplaces like Alibaba.com is proven to help small businesses reduce costs and boost income. But success on the platform doesn’t happen all at once. Here are a few tips that can help.
Your digital storefront on Alibaba.com revolves around your company profile. This is where potential customers come to evaluate your business and determine if you’re what they’re looking for. So, be deliberate about completing your profile and giving customers the info they need to convert.
While your company profile shows clients that you’re a professional business with a solid track record, your product pages are what ultimately sell goods. So, make an effort to create product pages with compelling descriptions, eye-catching pictures, and valuable product information.
Buyers will seek out your company for specific reasons and to meet defined needs. It’s up to you to ascertain that you can meet those needs satisfactorily. You may encounter potential clients through requests for quotation (RFQs), or the buyer may start a conversation via chat. Take the time to clarify their requirements and elaborate on how you can meet those needs.
B2B sales journeys are typically long and often include lengthy negotiations. Sometimes, buyers may have requirements (such as payment terms or product specs) different from your usual business. Being patient and flexible can be vital to closing a deal in these situations.
A well-written profile and compelling product pages are great for attracting buyers. But the only way to keep them coming back is with excellent and reliable service. A reputation for dependable service will not only gain you loyal fans, but it’ll also help unlock more business for your company.
Ultimately, being a solopreneur can be your ticket to a flexible lifestyle, higher earning potential, and greater job satisfaction. And that’s why it’s so appealing for new and aspiring business owners.
So, if you’ve also been considering starting a solopreneur business, you have a few more reasons to begin. Open a seller account on Alibaba.com to start building your solo business and enjoying your desired work lifestyle.