10 min read

The Benefits of Being a Solopreneur: A Guide to Succeeding as a One-Person Business

Self-employment is not new. It is increasingly attractive though with modern tooling, automation, and remote work becoming more the norm since 2020. I've been a remote solopreneur since 2005. Whether you're a content marketer, lawyer, developer, fractional CFO, or other professional consulting expert, there are many advantages to becoming a solopreneur.

In this article, I'll share more about my experience scaling a one-person business without using paid ads, having millions of followers, or using VAs. My philosophy is powered by remote work, having an expert community of peers, scalable offers, fractional talent, and systems across marketing, sales, and client delivery. Let's dive in now.

The Advantages of Being Your Own Boss

The primary benefit of working as a solopreneur is that you control your own destiny. You create your schedule, pick your niche or industry focus, and your income is not capped. You won't have an annual review where you beg for a 1-2% raise or deal with red tape in a corporate structure. Instead of carrying the weight of others, if you put in extra work, you get the reward. You can also deduct many of your hobbies as business expenses as an independent business owner. That may include computer equipment, tools, or comparable investments that help you as a remote solopreneur.

Understanding the Challenges of Working Alone

When you're a solopreneur, you get independence but trade out traditional coworkers. Historically, that would have been extremely difficult on two fronts. The first is from a workload standpoint. Today, however, there are incredible tools that make it easy to grow and scale a one-person business. For example, I use Fathom, an AI meeting notetaker instead of having a project manager to take notes. Fathom highlights key points during the call in real-time and generates accurate summaries afterwards.

Tools, however, don't offer social connectivity or give you another set of eyes for feedback on your work. That's why having a global community of expert peers is so critical. Tools, high-speed bandwidth, and remote work make it possible. Unlike low-cost talent on directories, you can now work with peers around the world, whether building your own network on places like LinkedIn or Twitter or being part of a highly-vetted solopreneur community. When you have these foundations in place, they’ll set you up with a business plan and strategies for success.

Establishing a Solid Business Plan

Business plans for solopreneurs look very different from what business schools teach. You do not need a mission or vision statement as a one-person business. Your “why” is to be self-sufficient as a solopreneur. Focus on your goals each month, quarter, and year, as well as a diversified set of revenue streams for your business model.

To start, do not focus on passive income such as selling courses, apps, or other digital products. Similarly, real estate, stocks, and affiliate programs are highly capital intensive. Instead, start by focusing on your “active” income, such as providing a service where you have deep expertise. For example, if you did content marketing for an agency, as a solopreneur, you could be a content strategist and have your own direct clients. Do market research to figure out the most valuable audience and clients. I call these “Lighthouse Clients” when building out enticing, scalable offers while others focus on more shallow “ideal customer profiles” (ICPs) or personas. To get premium clients, you need deeper targeting.

Your goals and this data will help you as you grow and scale as a remote solopreneur running a one-person business.

Setting Up an Efficient Work Environment

I find that many of my solopreneur clients have a challenge creating a work environment that allows for 10x maximum productivity. Since I was remote all the way back in 2005, you want to ensure you take care of yourself with a great setup: ergonomic office furniture such as your desk and chair, a large, widescreen monitor, wrists rests for your keyboard and mouse, and a top of the line computer (obviously, you need a Mac!).

If possible, create dedicated physical and virtual spaces for work. Physically, try to have a separate area in your home where you do work. Even if you have a small or tight space, do not use your bedroom whenever possible. There are ample co-working options available today but you can even head to your local coffee shop. Your bedroom should be a place of rest. Look for a physical space that is quiet, helps you maintain focus, and is professional. The last part is especially significant since you will likely be doing video calls with clients on Zoom, Teams, Google Meet or comparable.

Where many stop is not realizing you need the same kind of setup virtually. Don’t use your personal computer setup for your solopreneur business. In the same way you need a dedicated business bank account, your work and personal computers should be separated. If you cannot afford a separate work computer, set up a separate profile or user account. Keeping an organized virtual workspace is just as critical as your physical space to run a successful one-person business as a solopreneur.

Utilizing Technology to Streamline Workload

As mentioned earlier, advancements in tooling and modern automation will streamline processes and help you better manage your workload. Use specific technology solutions that are best-in-class for their specific jobs rather than all-in-one options. I recommend Trello for project management, Notion for knowledge management plus notes, Zapier for automation, and Xero for accounting software. Tools are not strategy but when you put the right strategy into these tools, you will be able to scale as a remote solopreneur. If you find a solopreneur community like mine, there are often experts in each of these that can help you use them better.

Developing Effective Time Management Skills

When it comes to managing your time effectively, you won't have a boss telling you what to do. Being able to get really effective at time management is key to your success as a solopreneur. Your business plan or productivity tools won’t matter without it.

I advise my solopreneurs and founders to use a concept called “Day Themes” to manage their weeks better. Instead of having to meticulously manage a specific amount of time each day, you can focus each day on a broader activity. An example might be Mondays for administrative work, Tuesdays for networking, Wednesdays and Thursdays for client calls, and Fridays as a no-meeting day.

Beyond your Day Themes, build in times to reset yourself throughout the day. I recommend at least a “mini break” every hour. Remember, you’re your own boss. So be kind to yourself so you can stay mentally and physically refreshed. Also, when it’s the end of the work day, stop working. There will always be more to do tomorrow.

Networking to Generate New Opportunities

Being a remote solopreneur doesn’t mean working just from your house or being solo. Networking and building an expert community of peers is integral to any solopreneur’s business plan and growth. In the past, you would have to hire to grow. You can now rely on relationships with other solopreneurs who are experts. They’ll work as hard as you without sitting on your payroll. Don’t try to be an expert at everything and rely on this trusted group of peers.

The byproduct of networking is that it will lead to new clients, work, and partnerships. Much like the days of the cottage industry, you can barter services equal in value where you trade each other’s expertise. More traditionally though, you’ll find work opportunities, especially if you attend physical or virtual conferences, go to local meetups, join LinkedIn groups, masterminds, or other soloprepreneur communities. There’s no excuse not to do this. Even if you’re shy or don’t like to be social, virtual technologies make networking this way more accessible now.

Maximizing Productivity and Efficiency

Solopreneurs need systems for productivity. I call it scaling…you. Imagine having multiple versions of you working for you. That’s what processes and systems do for you. Now, you’re not competing against another solopreneur, freelancer, or consultant. They’re competing against a fleet of you. Frameworks like my Document → Template → Automate will also get you out of tasks that offer little value or leverage in advancing your business as a solopreneur.

"DTA" is the framework to scale...you.

Leveraging Online Resources

Build your ultimate tech stack of online resources from Google Workspace or Dropbox to next-gen browsers like Arc or solopreneur CRMs like Pipedrive. I cover these in detail with my community, including strategies for sales, marketing, and operations.

As mentioned earlier, you absolutely want to participate on social media sites like LinkedIn or Twitter, even if you simply consume information or add comments only. Those who continue to learn through webinars, courses, or other continuing education will keep doing better as a solopreneur. The more niche-specific the blogs, newsletters, videos or market insights are to your industry, the more you’ll be equipped to grow. Don’t try to do everything by yourself or all at once but these resources and communities will push you forward as a solopreneur.

Building a Sustainable Business Model

Okay, so you land a client or two. Then what? You need to keep expanding and growing through a sustainable business model. As a solopreneur, you can achieve growth without hiring as an independent business owner. It’s not all about revenue either. It’s about your goals and values. Do you have kids? Do you have hobbies? Are you regularly caring for aging family members? These tie into your time and energy as much as they do your revenue and opportunity to scale.

Once you max your active income, you can look into other business models such as one to many cohort groups, communities, and courses. These diversified revenue streams as a solopreneur will ensure you’re not just locked into making money for each hour that you work. If customer demand changes, this income will help to buffer the loss of savings. They also let you build more leverage into your business by focusing your time on new initiatives or staying competitive in a changing market.

Staying Competitive in a Changing Market

Solopreneurs need to stay competitive in a highly saturated market. But if you target the right customers, differentiate your services, build a scalable Offer Portfolio, and create systems, you can compete even against larger companies. Smaller companies often subcontract work and have high overheads. As the expert, you can deliver results faster, have no middleman, and still charge a premium at a more competitive cost with no markup.

Invest some time in fundamentals such as your brand identity and messaging. Then use these consistently across your online presence such as your website and social media profiles. I call this Channel Optimization in my Scalable Service Offers framework. Through every touchpoint in your buyer journey, your potential buyers will encounter your unique selling proposition and business values. Regularly re-evaluate them, at least yearly, to ensure that you’re listening to customer needs, trends, and can adjust your services accordingly.

Devising Creative Solutions to Problems

Even with this hard work in business and as a solopreneur, you’ll encounter problems that need creative solutions. A client may cancel. A system may not be working to your liking. You may be sick for an extended period of time. Don’t try to solve everything at once. Break problems into smaller, more manageable tasks. Track them in your project management tool. Apply the same methods you use with clients to yourself.

Don’t forget, these times are also why you’ve invested in a global community of peers. I built my remote solopreneur community called The Club as much for others as I did for myself. If I have a question about my business, I ask my group of solopreneurs first. They are experts in content, marketing, sales, software, automation, accounting, and more. Now I don’t have to brainstorm potential solutions by myself or with those in my personal life who don’t have the context or understanding of building a one-person business to scale. It becomes an opportunity for growth for all of us.

In The Club, we help creatively solve problems together as solopreneurs.

Creating Financial Stability and Security

The most effective way to create financial stability is to have a pipeline of regular opportunities while retaining your current clients and customers. When you move away from being a freelancer or new business owner, you can get premium retainers with clients on autopay billing. If you set up your contracts the right way, clients will be automatically billed by your payment processing or invoicing software. I also am a big fan of letting your customers or clients use credit cards for convenience. They love the points and you love getting paid. As an independent business owner, this approach will prevent cash flow issues and keep your bank account in good shape.

Overcoming Common Mistakes as a Solopreneur

The fastest way to avoid mistakes as a business owner is to learn from those ahead of you. I grew my business well into seven figures but did it the hard way. I lacked mentors or business coaches who built a business like mine. Remote with low overhead and the ability to grow without hiring. You want to develop strategies and learn from others who have built a business like yours as a solopreneur to avoid common mistakes like projects missing timelines, misaligned budget expectations, not creating systems and process processese, working too many hours, and being overinvested in 1-2 clients instead of diversifying your income streams. You can ask for help whether in a community, mastermind or a business coach who actually has done what you are doing (i.e., not a career coach).

With more than a decade of experience, I can share that becoming a solopreneur is a rewarding experience. It’s not just about being your own boss. It’s not always going to be easy. But you’ll have the potential for immense growth in your creativity and finances. Build a business that you love with systems that scale you, leveraging online resources specific to solopreneurs, networking to build a community of expert peers, finding creative solutions, and building financial stability. You then have the components to grow without hiring in a remote, online business as a successful solopreneur.