There’s been a growing trend of solopreneurs, or a one-man band, making a Business work and scaling it alone to hit $1M in revenue before hiring a team. It has been a growing trend, and a confluence of factors will make it truly explode in the next decade. Let’s explore the idea around being a solopreneur, and look at some examples of solopreneur success stories.
What is a Solopreneur?
A solopreneur, as the name suggests, is an entrepreneur who chooses to set up and run their own business all on their own, without hiring employees. They can manage this with a combination of using technology to automate certain aspects of their work, and perhaps hiring of freelancers to help with other tasks pertaining to the business.
The million dollar, one person business
How big can a solopreneur business get? Well, in 2018, Elaine Pofeldt published her Book, called the “million dollar, one person business” and profiled solopreneurs who did just that. Scaled their business to $1M in revenue with their own two hands!
We all know that technology only moves forward, and that means that as the tech scales, reaching more customers and getting more data back about your business trends will get quicker, easier and more affordable, which will in turn accelerate the rate at which more million dollar solopreneurs will be created.
With the global pandemic still in full swing, and a certifiable idiot helming the world’s most productive nation, it seems more and more likely that big corporations are going to have to call it quits due to rent and high overheads.
Pizzahut’s largest franchisee just declared bankruptcy, and that’s not the last of it.
Employees are just not financially secure in this economic situation. At the very least, employees will have to start thinking about sidehustles to help buffer up savings, or even better, to develop a sidehustle that can one day be their main hustle.
Solopreneur companies you can start
So what are some solopreneur type businesses you can start? Remember, the aim is to be as lean as you can, and you’ll have to be able to multi-task and work across multiple platforms as you juggle with different requirements of your business. So always look to tackle challenges with automation in mind.
Caveat: I will be specifically looking at lean business ideas that you can start with little upfront capital.
Starting an online shop now, is easier than ever before. The great thing is, there are multiple platforms and channels you can choose from, and you don’t even need to be exclusively tied to them.
You can have a presence on Shopify, and still sell on Amazon, Etsy and any other channel that has an audience for you to tap into. Selling on Facebook and Instagram is also slated to be getting easier.
This too, means that competition will be stiff. But if you know what you’re doing, and your product or proposition is a good enough one, the world is your oyster.
I’ve always wanted to be an author, and platforms like gumroad makes it easy for anyone to publish a book, or a course and start selling. There are many options to self publish and put your books up on Amazon or Google Play Books. The best thing about this is the passive nature. The effort to write the book is one time. Of course, there is the constant marketing effort, but once it picks up steam, you’re essentially getting paid for a job done earlier, and can pay you in perpetuity.
Do you have a skill that is desirable, and do you have a unique way of approaching how you can impart this skill? If so, you can think about creating online courses on Teachable, Udemy, Coursera and put them up for sale.
Newsletters as a business model has become super popular of late, and it is extremely lucrative with high margins. It’s kind of like maintaining a blog, but exclusively to your audience of subscribers who get weekly emails from you pertaining to a certain subject, for a monthly subscription fee.
Imagine sending out emails to 2,000 subscribers paying you $7 a month each. That’s an incredible $14,000 per month, and still scalable!
Anthony Pompliano runs a newsletter called The Pomp Letter, and writes about Bitcoin and the blockchain community. $10 a month gives you access to 5 letters per week, and special access to subscriber only podcast episodes.
He also has a free subscription tier where you get one letter a week as a taster of his work. He has about 35,000 community members, but I’m not sure what percentage is paid.
Ben Thompson’s Stratechery is a one-man newsletter business that theHustle (yet another newsletter business) estimates is raking in more than $2M a year in gross profit.
Speaking of newsletter, sign up for mine below! It’s free and what I’m trying to do, is to research and write about how to improve yourself over time by acquiring new skills for personal development.
Platforms to lead the solopreneur charge
Platforms like Kickstarter, Fivver, and those I mentioned above have definitely helped usher in the generation of solopreneurs. Combined with the unfavourable conditions to employees with major corporations, it will push the next generation of solopreneurs into the market.
If you’re able to generate a business that can replace your day job income, which will you choose to focus on?