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The Rise of the Solopreneur – Is Going it Alone The Key to Success?

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The “solopreneur” may sound like a buzzy marketing term, but it’s actually been around for some time. Contrary to popular belief, there is an difference between a solopreneur and an entrepreneur, even if an entrepreneur has chosen to go into business alone. So what exactly is the difference, and which one has a better chance of success?

For a start, a solopreneur never waits for a buyout. The idea of building up a business in order to make a sale and a large lump sum isn’t on the agenda, like it may well be for some entrepreneurs. Going solo means for good, keeping on the same path with your business path, whether that path leads to long term success success or not.

It has been said that one major difference between the solopreneur and the entrepreneur is state of mind, and with one going it fully alone with no support whatsoever, perhaps it’s easy to see where the line falls.

The entrepreneur will be eager to build a team of talented professionals who can each fulfill certain needs and roles. The bigger picture is a combination of skills and personalities which will make up a powerhouse business design. With a solopreneur things are built in a different way – although they may network with talent, they’re likely to use it as their own research and take on most major challenges onto their own shoulders.

The choice to go it alone

The big question is, why has going solo become a popular choice, when entrepreneurial structures are proven to work? Being wholly responsible for your success is kind to the ego, but perhaps not so much the bank balance, certainly in the beginning.

Solopreneurs do the work themselves

There’s an old saying: “if you want something doing in your vision, then do it yourself” – and this seems to be the mindset of those taking on business challenges alone. Unlike an entrepreneur who will build a team, outsource work to experts, and hire people to do specific jobs, the solopreneur tends to be a multitalented, extraordinarily hard working individual who will learn an array of skills as they go.

What sort of business is best for a solo project?

Starting a business doesn’t have to  involve other people (though it helps in some cases). There are some types of businesses which can easily be set up by a stand alone founder and manager. For example, if you look at digital marketing which is currently taking over the globe, there are many ways to make this work as a one man band. Many people have built up their own business from the comfort of their own homes, becoming social media managers, bloggers, influencers, and SEO marketers, without the need for any other member of staff. You’d be surprised at some of the methods used to grow a business.

Other popular areas for solopreneurs are:

  • Web designers
  • Copywriter
  • Life coaches
  • Stock photographers
  • Personal trainers
  • Language translators

How to thrive as a solopreneur

There are countless tips and tricks floating around on the internet when it comes to being successful in business. But what does it really take to make it through? It’s a tough market, and unless you thoroughly plan your first year, you’re likely to become part of the statistics which start and fail. The key to avoiding this is organisation. Get yourself an accountant, for a start, there are actually accountants for entrepreneurs which will specialise in solo business setup and can help you through those early stages. Alexander & Co in Manchester, UK are particularly known for this.

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Sean Jacobson

I'm Sean, a former HR and business consultant providing you insights into the business world for Leader to Leader.

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