Do you love working independently? Have a great business idea and want to see it through from concept to execution? Does the idea of managing a team of employees make you cringe?
If you answered yes to these questions and dream of being your own boss, you may enjoy working as a solopreneur.
What is a solopreneur?
An individual who starts and runs their business independently, without the support of a co-founder or W-2 employees. In other words, a solopreneur is an entrepreneur who performs all duties related to their business alone.
Career opportunities for solopreneurs are on the rise, with an annual projected growth of 3.6% for independent workers. To be exact, 82% of independent workers report feeling happier working alone than they did for traditional companies.
With high satisfaction and increasing opportunity for independent workers, embarking on a career as a solopreneur can offer sought-after flexibility for those who want to create and operate a business around their lifestyle.
Now you may be thinking — what’s the difference between your average entrepreneur and solopreneur? We’ll break down each career in the next section.
Solopreneur vs. Entrepreneur
Wondering how being a solopreneur differs from traditional entrepreneurship? It’s important to note, while all solopreneurs are entrepreneurs, all entrepreneurs are not solopreneurs.
By definition, an entrepreneur is an individual who starts and runs their own business. However, they do not necessarily manage all aspects of their business independently as a solopreneur does. Let’s break down some of the key differences between these two roles.
1. Solopreneurs are both founders and employees.
An individual who works as a solopreneur manages every aspect of their business and does not heavily rely on delegating tasks to others to get things done. Not only are they the founder and creator of their business, but they are solely responsible for producing and delivering the products or services offered to keep their business afloat.
In some situations, a solopreneur may hire a contractor or freelancer to perform necessary tasks, however, this is typically not a part of the daily operation of a solopreneur-run business.
2. Entrepreneurs often hire and manage a team.
Many entrepreneurs start off running their businesses solo and eventually hire others to carry out their day-to-day tasks. Unlike a solopreneur who runs the operations of the business and fulfills tasks needed to deliver their products and services, entrepreneurs often outsource the fulfillment of products and services to their employees so they can focus on managing the business itself.
Once an entrepreneur has built a team, they often step into a managerial role in overseeing the work of their employees.
3. Solopreneurs have a single business focus.
Those who choose to pursue a career as a solopreneur are often not pursuing serial entrepreneurship. Solopreneurs tend to start their businesses to offer a specific niche offering and are focused on building a steady customer base to keep their business profitable but are not looking to expand. This keeps the business manageable for one person who intends to continue running things solo.
For example, a solopreneur who offers social media management services to small businesses is more likely to be focused on delivering a set of packaged services to their clients that they know they can fulfill.
On the other hand, an entrepreneur who runs a marketing agency and employs a team of 10 people may also offer social media management, brand consulting, and content creation services because they have a larger team. They can provide a broader range of options and may look to add on more services as their team grows.
4. Solopreneurs are not building a business to scale.
For many entrepreneurs, their goal in building their business is to grow and scale their company to sell it for a profit down the road. While this is not the case for all entrepreneurs, this effort is more common among those who manage companies than those who run their businesses solo.
Many independent workers are looking to create a profitable business they can continue to run, work in, and live off of themselves, and are not looking to grow an empire or sell to another entity.
5. Differences in financial management.
The bigger a company gets, the more financial responsibility the owner has. Not only are entrepreneurs with employees responsible for managing a business that is profitable enough to operate and pay their team, but they are also responsible for making sure factors such as payroll, benefits, and taxes are accounted for in their business structure.
Those who work as solopreneurs often manage their businesses as a single-member LLC or sole proprietorship, which are simpler to manage and grant full decision-making authority to the owner.
6. Solopreneurs often have minimal workplace requirements.
Because many solopreneurs offer a specific set of services that can be performed remotely, their workspace requirements tend to be minimal, often only requiring a computer and internet connection depending on their scope of work. In fact, 15 million small businesses are home-based.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, may have more complex workplace requirements depending on the nature of their business. For business owners whose companies create physical products, they will often need space to create, store their products, and provide work accommodations for their employees.
Now that we know what makes these two professions so different, let’s take a look at a few successful solopreneurs in unique fields.
There are so many ways to begin a self-led business, you just need the drive to see your idea through to completion. Some examples of successful solopreneurs would be:
1. Jackie Aina
This solopreneur began making YouTube makeup videos from her home in 2008 and has risen to be one of the most prominent beauty gurus on the website. She offers insight on how to apply makeup on deep complexions, provides skincare tutorials, and preaches the importance of self-confidence to over three million subscribers.
2. Alex Trochut
Trochut studied design and focused on typography and how language could be translated into a visual medium. He’s created immersive and colorful designs for companies like Pepsi, Audi, Fila, and other companies from all over the world.
Farnoosh Torabi is an award-winning personal finance expert, podcaster, and book author. With a degree in journalism and work experience as an editor for Money Magazine and Oprah Magazine, this solopreneur created her own podcast, So Money, to give financial advice to her subscribers’ personal needs and goals.
Enough inspiration for you? There’s countless avenues to explore when you want to become a solopreneur, here’s a list of ideas to help you brainstorm.
Solopreneur Business Ideas
1. Airbnb Host
Listing part of your home or a separate space on Airbnb is a great way to generate income while you pursue other passions. In this avenue of solopreneurship, you need to keep up with routine maintenance, house cleaning, and making happy customers boost your credentials on the app against your competitors.
2. Personal Trainer
Do you have a passion for fitness like CrossFit, boxing, or more? Use social media to show off your expertise and attract clients looking for personal trainers that can teach them with one-on-one guidance.
3. Graphic Designer
If you have an artistic eye and digital artwork, being a freelance graphic designer could be a fun avenue for solopreneurship. Share your portfolio and help businesses or entrepreneurs improve their social media channels with your inventive logos, banners, and more.
From abstract paintings to realistic sculptures, selling one-of-a-kind artwork is a special way to generate income. If your art has a distinct style, tag it as such on social media and you’ll find plenty of connoisseurs on the lookout for your next masterpiece.
Wedding photographers, graduation portraits, and other occasions are a great way to run your own business. People want to capture special moments with a passionate photographer that’s willing to do it, put yourself out there and build your portfolio.
6. Furniture Refinishing
Home-owners will pay top dollar for vintage furniture pieces that can’t be found in your average furniture store. If you are handy with woodwork or reupholstering pre-loved furniture, there’s a wide market for your services to explore.
7. Event Planner
Dealing with event planning logistics can be a headache for anybody, and plenty of people don’t mind reaching out for a helping hand. If you’re good with problem-solving, organization, and communication — then event planning could be a great avenue to work in.
8. Freelance Writer
Some small business owners may not have the bandwidth to write blogs or product descriptions. By offering freelance writing services, you can establish a relationship with a business and become more credible as you grow in your field.
9. Web Designer
Not everyone is tech-savvy, and many businesses could benefit from having a seasoned web designer to show off their product or service. This avenue of solopreneurship will always be in need for business development, especially older ones looking to revamp their existing web pages.
Baking is not an easy skill — and plenty of people would pay for desserts they can’t make on their own. You don’t have to own a bakery to become one either, you can create special cakes and other pastries from your own home and deliver them directly to the customer.
11. Child Carer
Traditional daycares are extremely expensive, and nerve-wracking for parents leaving their children in a building they’re unfamiliar with. By offering services as a child-carer, you can take care of children in their own family home, where you’ll devote your full attention to them individually versus in a group.
12. Farmer’s Market Vendor
If you have a green thumb for growing herbs and vegetables or have other homely items you’d like to sell to your community, look to become a farmer’s market vendor. People are trying to support local businesses currently, and selling to people in your community can make you money, and build relationships.
13. Language Teacher
Being bilingual is an impressive skill that many people would pay to gain. Language teachers can charge clients by the hour to learn a foreign language, and even more if taught in a one-on-one setting.
You don’t need to be signed to a record label in order to sell your music. If you enjoy recording songs or performing live, you can book gigs at local venues and share your work on streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify for profit.
15. Cleaning Service
Offering a cleaning service can help businesses maintain their space on a routine basis or even someone’s own home. Some people may not have the time or energy to keep up with cleaning, so offering this service can be a consistent and rewarding business.
16. Personal Accountant
Bookkeeping is not everyone’s strong suit, and many small businesses will reach out to professional personal accountants for a helping hand. If you uphold your customer’s trust and demonstrate transparent budget-keeping, you can have a long-term business relationship.
17. Content Creator
YouTube, Tik Tok, or whatever social media you know best, is full of content for every interest. Create visual tutorials, act out comedy sketches, or record yourself doing what you love for viewers around the globe to enjoy. If you gain enough traction, you can become a paid ambassador for various brands, the social media channel itself, or even sell your own merchandise.
18. Podcaster56% of all Americans, from ages 12-34, listen to at least one podcast per month in 2021. Take advantage of its rising popularity to explore topics you love, and turn it into a stream of revenue.
Start Your Career on Your Terms
Whether you choose to be a solopreneur who fulfills all tasks related to your business, or an entrepreneur who manages a team and grows a company to scale, working for yourself can be a rewarding experience. The best route to take will depend on the nature of your business and your personal preferences.