What Is a Solopreneur? A Guide for Creators

what is a solopreneur Business woman recording herself packing order
What is a solopreneur? Chay_Tee/Shutterstock

If you’ve been thinking about striking out on your own as a content creator, you may have heard the word “solopreneur.” It’s a buzzy term that’s gained traction in the last few years. But what exactly is a solopreneur, and how do you become one?

What Is a Solopreneur?

A solopreneur is a combination of the words “solo” and “entrepreneur.” It describes a person who is setting up and running their business on their own.

Do Solopreneurs Have Employees?

One of the defining characteristics of solopreneurs is that they are the only person employed by their business. So no, they do not have employees. Once you hire employees to help, you’ve crossed the line into entrepreneurship.

Solopreneurs do, however, hire contractors on occasion. You may need work done for your business that falls outside of your skill set. This includes things like building a website or editing video.

If you get to a point where you are regularly outsourcing a particular type of work, just double-check your local laws. Make sure you aren’t running afoul of the requirements to classify someone as a contractor rather than an employee.

Solopreneur vs. Entrepreneur

The major difference between solopreneurs and entrepreneurs is right there in the respective names. Solopreneurs work by themselves, while entrepreneurs generally have business partners, teams, and/or employees.

However, their differences go beyond that. Understanding them can be helpful when considering the type of business you want to build.

Because entrepreneurs work with others, their focus is often on the bigger picture of the business. If you go this route, you’ll spend a good chunk of your time managing employees and dealing with the logistics of being an employer.

Solopreneurs don’t have all those additional responsibilities, as they work alone. But it also means you are responsible for even the most tedious tasks, as there isn’t anyone to delegate to.

Another difference between the two is that entrepreneurs are more likely to create businesses with plans for expansion or an eventual sale to a larger company from the start.

Solopreneurs, on the other hand, are people who create a business with the intention of maintaining and running it by and for themselves indefinitely.

what is a solopreneur

What Are the Pros of Being a Solopreneur?

1) As a Solopreneur, You Create Your Own Schedule

The traditional 9 to 5 work day just isn’t for everyone. Maybe you have other responsibilities that clash with it, or maybe you just know you’re more productive during different hours. Being your own boss means setting your own schedule, which may even allow you to work fewer days or hours per week as your business grows.

2. Choosing Your Work Environment.

Your immediate thought here may be that solopreneurs can work from home. That’s true, but your options don’t stop there. If you still prefer to be in the company of others, there are coffee shops and coworking spaces. You can also work on the go, allowing for expanded opportunities to travel.

3. Expanded Earning Potential

At a standard job, you might get a small raise every year or with a promotion. Here, your income potential has much more room to grow.

What Are the Cons of Being a Solopreneur?

1. It’s a Risk

There’s no guarantee that your business will succeed. You may pour time and even money into it and ultimately fail to grow or even get off the ground. Make sure this is the kind of risk you’re both willing and able to take before jumping in.

2. Inconsistent Income

With a salaried job, you have a steady check coming in every two weeks. Being a solopreneur means being extremely on top of your finances so you can keep your head above water if some months bring in less money than others. 

3. You Are Responsible for Every Aspect of Your Business

As previously mentioned, solopreneurs don’t get to delegate tasks. As long as you’re working by yourself, that means your growth is limited by how much you can take on by yourself. It also means you’ll get stuck doing some things you probably don’t want to do—just like in a traditional job.

what is a solopreneur - man sitting alone in an ocean of chairs

How Do I Become a Solopreneur?

Technically, anyone can become a solopreneur. However, not everyone is cut out to take on that kind of risk and responsibility. But if it sounds like it’s the right path for you, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Find Something You Love Doing

If you don’t enjoy your work, it will be more difficult to hang in there when the times get tough. Find something you enjoy or that at least has aspects you enjoy so you stay motivated to succeed. 

2. Figure Out an Unfilled Need or Niche in the Market

The more people who are already doing what you’re doing, the more difficult it is to break through. That doesn’t mean you have to do something wholly unique. However, find a way to put a unique spin on whatever services or content you offer.

3. Research!

Go look at how other people have succeeded in the field you’re exploring. For example, if you want to be a YouTube creator, study other creators. Look at their career over the years. Then pay attention to the different avenues they may have branched into.

No solopreneur’s path is identical. Learning from a variety of sources will help you be prepared for any challenges that come your way.

4. Put together a Business Plan

This will be different for every creator. Build a client list to reach out to. Make a one-year plan and set goals. Then, make a five-year plan. The most important thing is to make a plain. You don’t want to search in the dark. Set goals and hold yourself to them.

5. Mitigate Your Risks

Ask questions. Can you start your business without quitting your current job? Do you plan on moving in with a family member or do you have a spouse who will help with bills while things get off the ground? Hope for the best, but know how you’re going to fill in the gaps as life happens..

No matter what kind of work you’re pursuing, be prepared while also realizing that you cannot anticipate every challenge. Staying flexible, adapting to the times, and coming up with creative ways to solve problems or expand your business will help you stay in the game and build a career that works for you.

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