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The Solopreneur Business Model Explained

 

When starting a business, it’s important to choose a business model that will prove effective for you and your company in the long run. This may surprise you, but a staggering amount of small business owners are solopreneurs. 80% of small businesses in the U.S. are operated by just one individual: the owner. 

The solopreneur business model can be a quick and easy way to get a business up and running. It also offers many operational and financial advantages. However, it is not without its challenges and drawbacks. In this article, you’ll learn all about what it means to be a solopreneur and how to know if it’s right for you.

What is a “Solopreneur”?

As you can probably guess, the term “solopreneur” refers to an entrepreneur who works for themselves without the help of a team. While many entrepreneurs choose to build a team or hire employees, many also opt to work alone instead. Working as a solopreneur has its unique benefits and drawbacks which make it a viable option for those looking to work independently.

A solopreneur can work alone with no help or can utilize contract employees to help run the business. The flexibility gives the business owner convenient options for operating their business. 

Here are some examples of solopreneur businesses:

  • Freelancer-Some of the most popular freelancer businesses includes freelance writing, graphic design, virtual assistants, as well as video editors. Freelance web developers and social media managers are also in high demand
  • Consultant/Coach-Being a consultant or coach doesn’t require a team due to its nature. That is why many consultants and coaches run solopreneur businesses
  • Ecommerce website owner-Many Ecommerce website owners can build and grow their business without hiring employees. Most technical work can be outsourced to contractors.
  • Photographer-A photography business is another business that can be done alone. Although there are benefits to having multiple people as a part of a photography business, it is not necessary to do so.

Benefits of Being a Solopreneur

A large part of the appeal of solopreneurship is the independence associated with working for yourself. You’ll never have to answer to anyone else, and you can freely set the tone of your business practices. You can also set your hours and work wherever you want since you’re not expected to clock in at someone else’s building. Here are some other perks of working as a solopreneur.

Creative Control

Working as a solopreneur means you have undisputed creative control. When you hear the word “creative”, you might think of arts and crafts – but there are actually many ways you can exercise creativity when running a business, and it’s fundamental to your business’s success.

When team-operated businesses create marketing campaigns and social media advertisements, often several graphic designers and professionals are hired to double-check everything and cultivate the best ad possible. However, working alone means you get to decide every detail of your brand’s identity and your company’s online presence. Other creative business decisions such as logo creation, business card design, and product styles are all under your control.

Executive Decisions

Solopreneurship can work particularly well for business owners who prefer to forego democratic decision-making processes. Some of us are headstrong and stubborn and want to commit ourselves to a certain vision. If this sounds like you, solopreneurship might just be perfect for you.

When you don’t have to consult a board of colleagues before every business decision, naturally things happen a lot faster. You can also decide on your own what areas of business you’d like to focus on and improve. This business model can be a huge time and trouble saver for those of us who aren’t socially inclined.

Your Business, Your Money

Arguably one of the biggest perks of being a solopreneur is being able to pocket 100% of your business’s profits. The stream of revenue is pretty simple – you do the work, and you make the money. You don’t have to worry about paying employees or renting out a fancy office building, which can save you a lot of money in the long run. When business is slow, you can dial things back and focus on your personal life.

Potential Challenges

Taking the “lone wolf” approach to business can provide you with an unrivaled level of freedom and control over what your company does, but it also comes with its unique responsibilities and obstacles. 

Lack of Support

Working alone can be freeing, but it can also get lonely. Without a team of trusted colleagues with whom you can discuss ideas, all the business decisions rest on your shoulders alone. This means those major decisions like budget cuts, advertisement design, marketing techniques, and sales all fall under your jurisdiction. 

You’ll have to become your own CEO, customer service agent, sales representative, accountant, and more – which can get overwhelming for even the most flexible entrepreneurs. This lack of support can also lead to a lack of perspective. Solopreneurs will have to find a ways to stay motivated in order to continue moving forward.

Limited Perspective

Working as a solopreneur limits you to your own input and point of view. Working with a team offers the advantage of being able to bounce ideas off of trusted colleagues with experience in the industry. If you’re new to the field, you’ll only be as successful as what you can do with that knowledge.

Liability

As a solopreneur, you’re the sole individual responsible for the overall success of your company, as well as every single exchange between your company and customers. Your company’s reputation is in your hands, and there’s no dodging accountability if things don’t work out.

Isolation

Another downside to working as a solopreneur is isolation. Even if your solopreneur business is people-focused, such as a consultant or coach, many of the hours spent on administration, marketing, and management will be done alone. 

Many solopreneurs work alone from their homes which can sometimes create a feeling of isolation when working. To combat this, many solopreneurs choose to rent office space or a dedicated desk at a co-working office.

Overcoming challenges as a solopreneur is often difficult but not impossible. Solopreneurs will need to be patient and resilient in order to push past these obstacles. 

Is Solopreneurship for You?

Although it’s not a complete cakewalk, the solopreneur business model comes with unquestionable benefits and unique opportunities for business owners everywhere. If you find yourself drawn to the idea of working alone on a passion project and you have the tenacity to see it through, solopreneurship might be the perfect fit.

Ari Bratsis
Team Writer: Ari is a writer, blogger and small business owner based in Washington state.

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Team Writer: Ari is a writer, blogger and small business owner based in Washington state.

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