Solopreneur—the word that’s taken the internet by storm. Influencers, online courses, books, podcasts, and more have all popped up overnight to cover this growing phenomenon.
And it’s not going anywhere. I know this because I’m a solopreneur running this blog as one of my one-person enterprises.
But let’s talk about you. You found this article because you want to create your own solo enterprise and achieve financial and employment freedom for yourself.
And lucky you, I’m going to answer every question you have about becoming a successful solopreneur. By the end, you’ll know everything you need to hit the ground running as a self-starter.
Let’s dig in.
What is a “Solopreneur”?
Before we go further, let’s make sure we’ve got our definitions straight.
A “solopreneur” is an entrepreneur who is the sole owner, operator, and employee of a business. This means that the solopreneur is in charge of everything from marketing and customer service to bookkeeping and filing taxes.
It’s a lot of work, but it comes with the reward of having complete control and autonomy over your success. Plus, if you’re successful, you don’t have to split the profits with anyone else.
What Is the Difference Between “Solopreneur” and “Entrepreneur?”
An entrepreneur is someone who starts and runs a business, possibly with employees and partners. But a solopreneur is a special type of entrepreneur who is running a solo business.
Think of it this way: all solopreneurs are entrepreneurs, but not all entrepreneurs are solopreneurs. Got it?
What Does it Take to Be a Solopreneur?
If you’re looking to become a successful solopreneur, there are a few key characteristics you’ll need.
The most important feature for any solopreneur is a drive to push themselves and keep going. There is no one to pick up the slack or pat you on the back when things get tough, so you have to be able to self-motivate and persevere.
As a sole proprietor, you will face plenty of obstacles and problems. You must be able to tackle these issues without the help of others effectively.
Solopreneurs often have a lot of responsibilities, so you must be able to manage your time effectively. Knowing how to juggle tasks and prioritize will be essential to your success.
You’ll need to know basic financial skills, from budgeting and invoicing to taxes and record-keeping. A good understanding of financial management will be crucial to keeping your business afloat.
In order to bring in customers and sales, you need to have a good grasp of marketing.
This can mean anything from SEO to social media to PPC advertising.
How to Succeed in Business as a Solopreneur
Now that you understand the basics of solopreneurship, let’s get into the specifics of becoming a successful one.
1. Find Your Niche
As a solopreneur, focusing on a distinct niche will be essential to your success. You need to create a specific and desirable product or service that can be easily identified and marketed.
Once you’ve honed in on your niche, it’s time to develop a plan to market it. You’ll need to research your competition and create a strategy to set you apart from the rest.
Keep in mind that this isn’t one-and-done You’ll need to start in on a niche, then hone done on the skills your clients value you most for.
You’ll then become a “specialist” in solving that issue, like an interior designer who specializes in modern decor.
2. Develop an Informal Business Plan
Business plans are like roadmaps. They help you know where you are and where you want to go.
Start by jotting down your mission, vision, and core values. Your mission should state the purpose of your business, such as “helping businesses become more efficient with their operations.”
How to Write a Mission Statement as a Solopreneur
A solopreneur’s mission statement should fit into a single line. For example, Richard Moore’s is, “I help consultants get clients on LinkedIn using sales and content.”
Next, you’ll need to create goals for your business and decide how you’re going to reach them. Once you’ve done that, you can track your progress over time and adjust your strategy as needed.
Finally, you’ll want to create an informal budget for yourself. This will help you keep track of your expenses and make sure you’re staying on top of your finances.
3. Create LinkedIn and Twitter Profiles
One of the most important things you can do as a solopreneur is to create a strong online presence. You’ll need to have a website, blog, and social media accounts to get the word out about your business.
Creating a LinkedIn profile will be especially important. It’s an invaluable resource for connecting with potential customers and staying connected with the industry.
Here’s mine, for example:
You’ll also want to join relevant groups and follow other solopreneurs for networking opportunities.
Similarly, Twitter is a great way to build a following and create relationships. And it’s also a great place to show off your skills and expertise.
This is mine if you need inspiration:
Be sure to post daily on both platforms. Discuss the subject you specialize in, and you’ll build leads organically (take it from me).
4. Create a Landing Page Website
Every solopreneur needs an online home. Even if your business consists of mostly word-of-mouth clients and meetings, it’s important to have a website.
At the very least, a website should have a landing page. The purpose of this page is to capture the attention of your visitors, keep them interested, and make them convert.
It should have a bio of you, a list of services you offer, and a contact form. You can also add a blog to build search traffic (this is how you found me!).
If You’re Not Techy, Use Carrd
If you’re not tech-savvy or don’t want to pay for a web developer, use Carrd. It’s a landing page platform made specifically for solopreneurs and non-coders.
Not to mention, it’s free and super easy to use.
5. Perform Cold Outreach to get your first clients.
Your first clients probably won’t come organically. You’ll need to cold email/message potential prospects and convince them you can help.
When cold emailing, you want to keep it short and to the point. Tell them who you are and why you’re reaching out, then offer a free consultation.
Make sure to read up on etiquette, and always personalize each email.
You can use an outreach tool like Hunter to make both finding prospects’ contact info and emailing them simple. Hunter even offers dozens of outreach templates to help you hit the ground running.
LinkedIn InMail is an excellent way to reach leaders and decision-makers from businesses you’d like to work with.
Be sure to research the recipient and mention something specific you like about them or their organization.
Don’t just add, “Congratulations on your recent promotion.” Mention something personal that shows you’ve done your homework.
Once you’ve connected, nurture the relationship by commenting on their posts. Then, simply ask if they have any needs you can help with.
6. Automate Whenever Possible
It’s essential to save time wherever you can as a solopreneur. Here’s where specialized tools can help you stay organized and efficient:
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a great way to keep track of leads, tasks, contacts, etc. You can also use it to automate follow-up emails and keep track of deals.
Accounting is another critical task for solopreneurs. You’ll need to track your income, expenses, and profits to reach your goals and pay taxes correctly.
A program like Quickbooks will make it easy to keep track of every dollar. Just make sure to review transactions every 2-3 weeks, or else you’ll become overwhelmed trying to do at all at once later.
Social media also offers a wide range of automation tools. Use them to help you schedule posts, create content, and measure analytics if available.
Buffer and Hootsuite are great for managing multiple accounts at once and offer free or inexpensive plans.
Invoicing is what moves money from your client’s pocket to your pocket. To do it, you need a reliable tool that clients trust.
I recommend Stripe—it’s what I use.
7. Network With Other Solopreneurs
Networking with other solopreneurs is essential, especially in the beginning. You can exchange knowledge, resources, and services to help each other out.
LinkedIn and Twitter are the best places to start.
You should join groups, follow local businesses in your field, and reach out to others networking in the same field as you.
Once you’ve connected with people, you can start inviting them to coffee, offering advice, and attending events (both online and offline).
These connections can help provide you with valuable feedback, resources, and even referrals. For better results, move your most valuable connections into Slack groups and trade industry tips (I do this for LinkedIn).
8. Sell Your Skills as Online Courses
Selling online courses is a great way to create a passive income stream and increase your reach. Once you’ve reached a certain level of expertise, you can use Gumroad to host an online course for free (minus their cut).
For example, once Justin Welsh become a big enough LinkedIn expert, he released the LinkedIn OS online course. It’s become his biggest product, to the extent he doesn’t offer his original consulting services anymore.
Now Get Out There!
Like most things worth having, solopreneurship takes trial and error. My first months were defined by figuring things out while getting rejected by the vast majority of people—now, people look to me for insight and advice.
Nothing beats the power of consistency. Make noise, hone in on the signal that bounces back, and relentlessly pursue your angle.
I believe in you—now get started.