In recent years, solopreneurship has become an increasingly popular path for people who want to start and run their own businesses. Unlike traditional entrepreneurs who often have teams of employees, solopreneurs are independent business owners who handle everything—from product development and marketing to customer service and accounting—on their own.
These self-sufficient individuals have the freedom to pursue their passions and work on their own terms. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what a solopreneur is, how it differs from entrepreneurship, and explore the pros and cons of being an independent worker. We'll also provide tips on how to succeed as a solopreneur and share some exciting business ideas that you can use to get started.
What is a solopreneur?
A solopreneur is a person who starts and runs a business on their own, without any employees or partners. Solopreneurs handle everything from the creation of their products or services to marketing, sales, and customer support. Whether full-time or part-time, they are self-employed business owners who work for themselves and make all of the important decisions related to their business. Solopreneurship is a popular path for people who want to pursue their passions, have control over their schedule and work environment, and have the freedom to drive all the decision-making about how their business is run.
Who makes for a good solopreneur? Successful independent workers have a passion for their work, and a steady supply of self-motivation. Solopreneurs are often experts in their field and have a deep understanding of a specific industry. With a clear vision for their new business, the capacity to juggle a lot of different tasks at once—and often, a strong opinion about how that business should be operated—they are willing to take calculated risks to achieve their business goals. While solopreneurship can be a challenging and lonely journey, many individuals find it rewarding to be their own boss and have control over their own success.
Solopreneur vs. entrepreneur: main differences
While solopreneurship and entrepreneurship certainly share some similarities, there are some key differences between the two as well.
1. Solopreneurs do everything by themselves.
While entrepreneurs typically start and run businesses with the help of investors, co-founders, or a team of employees, solopreneurs are a one-person show, handling all of the aspects of running a business on their own. Because they work alone, solopreneurs often use automation tools, digital marketing strategies, and social media to streamline their operations and reach a wider audience.
2. Solopreneurs focus on one business.
Entrepreneurs often use a business model that involves scaling multiple businesses with the primary goal of generating profits for themselves and their stakeholders, or even seeking a buyout as the business grows. Solopreneuers, on the other hand, keep their efforts focused on one business, aiming to create a sustainable, solo business model that allows them to do what they love while supporting their lifestyle.
3. Solopreneurs tend to prefer remote working opportunities.
Entrepreneurs tend to be open to whatever business opportunity offers the highest profit margin. Solopreneurs tend to prize freedom and flexibility to do what they are passionate about just as much as profit, so they are more likely to focus on business ventures that allow for a 100% remote work environment.
4. Time management differences.
Solopreneurs often have other “regular” jobs and operate their own business “on the side,” especially at first. This often means the time dedicated toward their solopreneurship venture is as much about doing something they truly enjoy as it is about generating income (again: especially at first). This provides more flexibility to explore a business idea—without the added pressure to earn a livable income from it right away. Many entrepreneurs, on the other hand, view their business as their main job, accepting the added pressure and time constraints this requires.
5. Solopreneurs have less complex financial requirements
The bigger the company, the more financial responsibility the owner has. Unlike entrepreneurs who are responsible for making sure things like payroll, benefits, and taxes are accounted for across a team of employees, solopreneurs enjoy more simplicity when managing finances. As an independent worker, you’re only responsible for yourself, making financial management much simpler while granting you full decision-making authority as the owner.
In the end, while both paths have their own challenges and rewards, solopreneurship can be an excellent choice for individuals who are excited about utilizing multiple skill sets to build a successful business, and those who value independence and self-sufficiency.
Advantages and disadvantages of solopreneurship
While solopreneurship can provide individuals with greater independence and control over their work, it's important to weigh the pros and cons before making the leap. Understanding the unique challenges and rewards of solopreneurship can help individuals make informed decisions about their career paths.
Since most solopreneurs value the ability to work remotely, they have the flexibility to work from anywhere with an internet connection—whether that’s home, a coffee shop, or even while traveling. This flexibility also means that solopreneurs can have a better work-life balance, and can often fit work around other commitments.
Solopreneurs have complete control over their schedule, which allows them to work when they're most productive and take time off when they need it. This flexibility can help reduce stress and increase creativity, as solopreneurs can tailor their work to their own rhythms and preferences.
Solopreneurs can start their business as a side-hustle while keeping their day job, which can help them test the waters and grow their business gradually without taking on too much financial risk. It also creates space to build strong, fulfilling connections with clients or customers because you’re free to operate according to your values, which for many solopreneurs, means putting people before (or at least equal to) profit.
Lack of employee benefits
Solopreneurs don't have access to employee benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and retirement savings plans. This means they need to cover these expenses themselves, which can add to their overall costs.
Solopreneurs are solely responsible for the financial health of their business. This means they need to manage their cash flow, pay their own taxes, and make sure they have enough revenue to cover their expenses. This financial risk can be daunting and stressful for some individuals.
Working over hours
Solopreneurs often work long hours, especially when they're starting out, which can impact their well-being and relationships. It can also be challenging to disconnect from work, as solopreneurs are responsible for everything related to their business.
How to become a successful solopreneur?
By following these tips, solopreneurs can set themselves up for success and build sustainable businesses that allow them to thrive.
- Use productivity tools: Solopreneurs need to stay organized and efficient in order to manage their workload effectively. Using productivity tools like Practice’s customer relationship management, task management apps, and other automation tools can help independent workers optimize their workflow and focus on the tasks that matter most.
- Network regularly: Solopreneurs need to build relationships with others in their industry in order to find new clients and collaborators. Networking can help solopreneurs stay up-to-date on industry trends, connect with potential partners, and learn from others who have been successful in their field.
- Stay motivated by setting goals: Solopreneurs need to be self-motivated in order to succeed. Setting goals and tracking progress can help independent workers stay on track and focused on their long-term objectives. Goals can also provide solopreneurs with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as they achieve milestones along the way.
- Continuously learn and improve: Solopreneurs need to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices in order to stay competitive. They should make time to attend conferences, read industry publications, and take courses to continue learning and improving their skills.
Solopreneurship examples: 8 business ideas
- Coaching: If you love helping others achieve their goals and have a passion for self-improvement, offering coaching services in areas like life, career, nutrition, fitness, or business could be a great way to experience fulfilling work and earn extra money.
- Freelancing: Do you have a skill set like writing, graphic design, writing or social media management? Offering freelance services is a great way to turn these skills into a flexible side income that provides a creative outlet.
- Pet care: Calling all animal lovers! If providing pet care services like dog walking, pet sitting, or grooming sounds enjoyable to you, plenty of folks are looking for help taking care of their furry friends.
- Photography: There’s no shortage of special moments to capture. From offering photography services for events, weddings, or portraits, positioning yourself as a passionate professional ready to help is a great way to build your own business.
- Tutoring/Teaching: As more and more parents and caregivers recognize the power of 1:1 instruction, they’re looking for tutors to help their kids get ahead in areas like math, science, or music. This is an opportunity to make some extra money by investing in the growth of our youth.
- Content creation: Not all companies see the need to keep in-house creatives or writers on staff, which means you have the opportunity to pitch your skills for crafting unique, engaging content for social media, blogs, or YouTube as a convenient way to help them achieve their business goals without taking on the expense of a full time employee. Making it a win-win for you both.
- Web design: Are you the creative type? Do you love building things from scratch? If so, then web design could be the perfect solopreneur gig for you. With the rise of e-commerce and online businesses, there's a huge demand for websites and online storefronts.
- Podcasting: Do you have a knack for telling engaging stories, or a passion for collaborating with others to disrupt an industry? Creating a podcast around a niche topic and monetizing it through sponsorships and merchandise is a fun solopreneur business idea.
These are just a few examples of the many solopreneur business ideas out there. With some creativity, hard work, and dedication, solopreneurs can turn their passions into profitable businesses.
Solopreneurship offers a world of exciting opportunities for those who are willing to take the leap. Yes, it takes hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn and grow, but for the right person, solopreneurship can be a fulfilling and financially rewarding way to earn some extra money on the side—or explore how you can turn your passion into a full time gig. So why not explore the world of solopreneurship today and discover the possibilities for yourself? Who knows, you might just find your dream job and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being your own boss.
At Practice, we understand the challenges of running a small business. That’s why we created a customer-relationship-management (CRM) platform to help coaches and solopreneurs streamline their day-to-day tasks. You can securely store client data, send messages and documents, schedule meetings, receive payment, and more. Start your free trial today.