Solopreneurs are a powerful and growing force in today’s career landscape. A solopreneur is “a business owner who works and runs his or her business alone.”
A solopreneur is also the proverbial chief cook and bottle washer, who started the business, owns the business, runs the business and is responsible for the business’ failure or success.
A solopreneur is not the same as an entrepreneur, however. Both assume risk and build a business, but a solopreneur does it alone.
The entrepreneur engages traditional forms of business-building, including the hiring of employees. But the solopreneur chooses whether to grow the business with contract agreements or outsourced providers rather than the standard model of employer/employee.
The benefits of solopreneurship are better experienced than reported, yet if you’re curious about the lives of these disentangled, high-risk, high-reward captains of their own fate and are considering taking the same plunge, here’s what you can expect.
1. You can be a workaholic if you want to.
Workaholics get a bad rap for all the wrong reasons. If working relentlessly is your thing, then you get to do it, no holds barred. No boss to please. No employees to harass. Just you doing what you love, burnout or not.
2. You get to keep what you make.
Yes, you have to pay taxes. Quite a bit, actually. On the other hand, your business profits are yours alone. You can choose to incorporate as an LLC or an S-corp, but either way, the money your business makes is the money that you make. Invest wisely.
3. You get to hire creatively.
Solopreneurs have help. They hire. They manage. They even get to boss people around, sort of. The process, however, is different. Instead of employing a CFO, the solopreneur might engage the services of an advisor, or purchase accounting SaaS or work with a contractor.
4. You discover the power of automation and outsourcing.
The solopreneur must automate processes and outsource tasks. In the absence of minions to do his or her bidding, a successful solopreneur learns to create streamlined systems that accomplish crucial business tasks.
5. You live to work.
Solopreneurs don’t have to go it alone. They can just as easily shutter their shops and start papering the town with their resumes. They can go right back to the corporate grind. But, why? Work is an adventure — a passionate engagement in the excitement of life. That’s worth living for!
6. You can turn on a dime.
Startups love to pivot. Pivots are a survival tactic. Solopreneurs pivot, too, and they can do so without any accountability to shareholders, stakeholders, board members, employees, investors or even a pet cat. They can pivot like nobody’s business.
7. You choose everything about your business.
It takes a lot of decision-making to run the business. From the carpet’s hue to the company’s slogan, you decide everything. If you’re a sucker for control, you’ve chosen the right line of work.
8. You can create your own schedule.
A 9-to-5, a 5-to-9, or a 9-to-9? What gives? You’re the one in charge. Deciding how, when, where and how long to work is completely up to you. Most solopreneurs, though, don’t choose to binge-watch Netflix, sleep in or loll, poolside. And “creating your own schedule” is just another way to describe the inflexibility and demands of working all the time.
9. You are responsible for your own success.
You have to take big risks if you want big rewards. Solopreneurs internalize this truth. Rather than leave their success to the whimsy of an employer, they choose to take their success firmly in hand.
10. You develop your own vision.
Whose vision do you want to follow? Your own or your employer’s? A solopreneur makes this decision with fierce independence and experiences true fulfillment as a result.
11. You embody your own brand.
Personal branding is the practice of creating and curating your public identity. Since a solopreneur is a business, he or she will find it more important than ever to engage and achieve personal branding.
12. You experience adventure every day.
An adventure is defined as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” That basically sums up solopreneurship. Job security? Not a chance. Steady paycheck? Nope. Benefits? You’re kidding. You live a life of adrenalin-pumping adventure, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you notice a common thread running through these 12 awesome things? Each can be tweaked ever so slightly, and ultimately turn into a terror.
In short, your passion for work may morph into a soul-sucking monster. Your high-earning potential may push you into a miserable tax morass. The necessity of making every decision yourself may burden you with a relentless mental strain.
So, the life of a solopreneur is not for anyone. It takes an iron stomach and a clear head to pull off this kind of self-brutalization and insane risk.
What’s more, these risks of soloentrepreneurship are high, and you can completely dispense with any level of normalcy
You hear people complain of their “healthcare,” and you think what health care? Others brag about their four weeks of accrued vacation time, and you smirk about your unlimited vacation time. Conventional cubicle dwellers moan about their mean boss, but you know the meanest boss that ever walked the planet — yourself.
The risks are high. The burdens are great. Yet the experience is transformative.
The few who have tried and succeeded at solopreneurship invariably achieve great things. Whether they continue as solopreneurs, metamorphize into entrepreneurs or leave it all behind them, they know what the solopreneur life is about, and they have the glory stories to tell about it.
What is your experience as a solopreneur?