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What makes a good solo-entrepreneur?

Anything related to matters of the mind

srodrigo

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We talk a lot about what makes a good entrepreneur in general. But what about solopreneurs in particular? Do they have any special traits that set them apart from entrepreneurs who team up? I'm talking about entrepreneurs who don't have a business partner and (usually) don't have employees (they can have freelancers to help out though).

In my experience, solopreneurs need to have a special drive to avoid failing even before starting. Some people either are in their comfort zone (e.g. the solopreneur/contractor who makes $100-150k/year and doesn't really need that much, so they don't have the drive to grow or go for a scalable product) or get distracted by shinny objects (that never get shipped), Netflix & the likes. Partnering helps a lot to commit and have accountability, but some people avoid this for different reasons.

What are your thoughts? How can solopreneurs succeed and take their business to the next level or create one that doesn't depend as much on selling their time as opposed to freelancers/contractors?
 
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Ironically… the easiest way is to build a team. Scale through labour. Even if it’s all remote and contract based (as opposed to real office space with desks etc).

I’ll tag @MTF @Lex DeVille @Simon Angel as they seem to be doing way better than most. They know how to do it right.
 

Black_Dragon43

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How can solopreneurs succeed and take their business to the next level or create one that doesn't depend as much on selling their time as opposed to freelancers/contractors?
This is actually easy if you have processes that work. What are the steps you take to get a customer? If those steps are waiting with a finger up your a$$ and praying, then you can’t take your business to the next level, sorry pal.

If, however, you have a process, you just get someone else and tell them to do that same process. Then you’ll have double the volume of work.

This is literarily how I grew both my agency and my current consulting business. It’s very easy. The hard part is figuring out the processes.

And btw, I started out as a freelancer. One of my clients actually got me to start my agency, because they couldn’t handle some of the development work internally at the time.
 
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steve schweitzer

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We talk a lot about what makes a good entrepreneur in general. But what about solopreneurs in particular? Do they have any special traits that set them apart from entrepreneurs who team up? I'm talking about entrepreneurs who don't have a business partner and (usually) don't have employees (they can have freelancers to help out though).

In my experience, solopreneurs need to have a special drive to avoid failing even before starting. Some people either are in their comfort zone (e.g. the solopreneur/contractor who makes $100-150k/year and doesn't really need that much, so they don't have the drive to grow or go for a scalable product) or get distracted by shinny objects (that never get shipped), Netflix & the likes. Partnering helps a lot to commit and have accountability, but some people avoid this for different reasons.

What are your thoughts? How can solopreneurs succeed and take their business to the next level or create one that doesn't depend as much on selling their time as opposed to freelancers/contractors?
Hello, I have been self empolyed with me as the only worker and I have also owned businesses with multiple employees, general manager in place, etc.

I can tell you with that the solopreneur thing just caused me to hate life and feel constantly burnt out and stressed. I was working ALL THE TIME (like 80 - 90 hours a week for YEARS!) to make what I could have made at a job (about 120K per year).

If you want to grow your business and actually have a LIFE you will need GOOD employees you can count on. This means you will probably have to go through several to get the ones you want. At least that has been my experience.

Without employees you do not have a business, you have a JOB!
 

MTF

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The title of this thread should be "What makes a good solopreneur" as the current one doesn't fit the question.

I'd say that being a solopreneur starts with being a weirdo and an outsider who doesn't do well when working with other people. If you loved group activities in school or were the cool guy, chances are you won't be a good solopreneur because you've never learned how to rely only on yourself. Your default is to work with other people and be a part of the larger machine.

I'm not saying that being an awkward loner is necessary for success as a solopreneur but such experience helps a lot. If you believe that teamwork is necessary for success, you'll struggle as a solo operator.

You need to have a firm belief that what you can achieve on your own will be better than what an average team can do. This is the kind of a belief that the most successful artists, inventors, and other misfits have. If you don't have this level of self-trust and dedication (and perhaps a dose of arrogance), you'll fail.

That audacity is key to scale. If you aren't at least a bit arrogant about your superiority in your chosen field, then you won't ever deliver stuff above what the "regular" teamwork can generate. You need to be extremely authentic and refuse to conform.

Per Naval:

The internet enables any niche interest, as long as you’re the best person at it to scale out. And the great news is because every human is different, everyone is the best at something—being themselves.

Another tweet I had that is worth weaving in, but didn’t go into the “How to Get Rich” tweetstorm, was very simple: “Escape competition through authenticity.” Basically, when you’re competing with people, it’s because you’re copying them. It’s because you’re trying to do the same thing. But every human is different. Don’t copy. [78

If you are fundamentally building and marketing something that is an extension of who you are, no one can compete with you on that. Who’s going to compete with Joe Rogan or Scott Adams? It’s impossible. Is somebody else going to come along and write a better Dilbert? No. Is someone going to compete with Bill Watterson and create a better Calvin and Hobbes? No. They’re being authentic.

How can a solopreneur scale?

Again per Naval:

The final form of leverage is brand new—the most democratic form. It is: “products with no marginal cost of replication.” This includes books, media, movies, and code. Code is probably the most powerful form of permissionless leverage. All you need is a computer—you don’t need anyone’s permission.

I'd also add that this form of leverage works best if you tap into existing platforms. For a filmmaker, it's way better to tap into YouTube's audience than try to build one from scratch. For an author, it's way better to sell their books on Amazon than sell them in some random bookstores. For coders, it's way better to develop apps for existing Google/Apple marketplaces than sell them by themselves.

The platforms can largely take care of your marketing (and often also customer support). Then you're mostly responsible for the actual product alone (this is how you cut a lot of work hours).

For me, content is the easiest way to scale. You can literally be a single guy and be worth more than large corporations while working very little. I recently started a thread on Fastlane for artists (CHAT - Fastlane Artist Chat - Opportunities, Case Studies, Examples) where I gave some examples.

Choosing the right business model is CRUCIAL to success as a solopreneur. If you can't divorce your time from income, there's no way to scale as a solopreneur.

Those who are complaining that being a solopreneur is a job and not a business are those who are trying to run a conventional business as a solopreneur. It doesn't work this way. If there's no leverage in your business model from the get go, you'll burn out for sure.

Then there are two main models to become a successful solopreneur:
  • Build one big business (probably a personal brand). Again, it ABSOLUTELY has to be a business that can scale without you and without employees. If you're selling services you're performing yourself, that's not a scalable solopreneurial venture. It has to be content or code based.
  • Build unrelated multiple income streams. Perhaps have a Udemy course, a YouTube channel, an automated e-commerce store, etc. This requires less of that aforementioned arrogance and more work ethic.
Books that you can read on the topic of successful solopreneurs:
I'm sorry if this is a little convoluted. I'm a little sick and can't get my brain to function properly.
 
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Simon Angel

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I wrote a long-winded reply in an effort to provide context for WHY I'm a solopreneur but realized it was basically my life story — at depths people would likely not be interested in.

Anyway, I'm not excited or drawn by the materialistic, so I get by with rather modest amounts of money.

My subjective success comes from the fact that I go all in or don't go in at all. And leveraging past results to negotiate beefy commissions and deals. Automation is also important as a big chunk of my earnings comes from automated systems I've created and put to work for my clients (which generate money for both them and myself while we sleep).

I've considered hiring people many, many times. Scaling further and making more money.

But I'd rather retain my peace of mind and quality control by doing it myself. Because if I were to hire other people, I'd definitely be more stressed.

My primary goal is to maximize my life expectancy and understand myself, life, and other people better. I'm also drawn to the arts and appreciate being in the moment.

In my experience, being an entrepreneur doesn't bode well with the above. The stress can tear havoc on the body - it happened to me when I was 18 and working day and night on my semi-successful ecommerce store - and many of the people here who are obsessed with their businesses and stacking zeroes will likely understand where I'm coming from someday.

Because when you're looking death in the eye, none of that matters.

Perhaps once you fully automate your business i.e. hiring a CEO to run it all for you it's even less stressful than running solo. I don't know. But with my health risks in question, I don't intend on finding out anytime soon.

I used to feel trapped and cried about being hyper-ambitious and strong-willed in mind but fragile in health and body. It hurt me when friends, relatives, and even my own parents at the time thought I was lazy. No, I've always had a killer work ethic - I was just scared for my life.

To anyone who's a full-fledged entrepreneur and in great health - I say good for you. But don't take it for granted and perhaps take into consideration that the solopreneur, freelancer, or whatever might be one for reasons you aren't aware of.
 

srodrigo

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Ironically… the easiest way is to build a team. Scale through labour. Even if it’s all remote and contract based (as opposed to real office space with desks etc).

I’ll tag @MTF @Lex DeVille @Simon Angel as they seem to be doing way better than most. They know how to do it right.

Have other people do the work

Hmmmm
Yeah, I'm not opposed to hiring freelancers. I've seen folks making 1M this way. But even though, I can't even get past the comfy "I make enough" which is 1/10 of that.

Not very specfic. Give details why you are asking this.
I know, maybe I left it too open for discussion. I'm asking this out of curiosity, and also to apply the learnings to myself. I'm still working at a contractor and sometimes working on digital products that I either don't finish or ship. I think I just don't want it enough.

Hello, I have been self empolyed with me as the only worker and I have also owned businesses with multiple employees, general manager in place, etc.

I can tell you with that the solopreneur thing just caused me to hate life and feel constantly burnt out and stressed. I was working ALL THE TIME (like 80 - 90 hours a week for YEARS!) to make what I could have made at a job (about 120K per year).

If you want to grow your business and actually have a LIFE you will need GOOD employees you can count on. This means you will probably have to go through several to get the ones you want. At least that has been my experience.

Without employees you do not have a business, you have a JOB!
I guess it depends on the kind of business, but even for digital stuff it still applies and you need people for customer support or some development (unless you want to keep doing that). I'm still not sure whether I'd like to quit coding if I sold a product, but I'd definitely need to hire freelancers for some stuff, and probably some more for customer support. I think certain kinds of products that don't require maintenance are okay, but probably rare.

The title of this thread should be "What makes a good solopreneur" as the current one doesn't fit the question.
Sorry, I realised just now. I had to make the post again as I chose the wrong category, then typed the title (wrong) again.
 

steve schweitzer

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The title of this thread should be "What makes a good solopreneur" as the current one doesn't fit the question.

I'd say that being a solopreneur starts with being a weirdo and an outsider who doesn't do well when working with other people. If you loved group activities in school or were the cool guy, chances are you won't be a good solopreneur because you've never learned how to rely only on yourself. Your default is to work with other people and be a part of the larger machine.

I'm not saying that being an awkward loner is necessary for success as a solopreneur but such experience helps a lot. If you believe that teamwork is necessary for success, you'll struggle as a solo operator.

You need to have a firm belief that what you can achieve on your own will be better than what an average team can do. This is the kind of a belief that the most successful artists, inventors, and other misfits have. If you don't have this level of self-trust and dedication (and perhaps a dose of arrogance), you'll fail.

That audacity is key to scale. If you aren't at least a bit arrogant about your superiority in your chosen field, then you won't ever deliver stuff above what the "regular" teamwork can generate. You need to be extremely authentic and refuse to conform.

Per Naval:



How can a solopreneur scale?

Again per Naval:



I'd also add that this form of leverage works best if you tap into existing platforms. For a filmmaker, it's way better to tap into YouTube's audience than try to build one from scratch. For an author, it's way better to sell their books on Amazon than sell them in some random bookstores. For coders, it's way better to develop apps for existing Google/Apple marketplaces than sell them by themselves.

The platforms can largely take care of your marketing (and often also customer support). Then you're mostly responsible for the actual product alone (this is how you cut a lot of work hours).

For me, content is the easiest way to scale. You can literally be a single guy and be worth more than large corporations while working very little. I recently started a thread on Fastlane for artists (CHAT - Fastlane Artist Chat - Opportunities, Case Studies, Examples) where I gave some examples.

Choosing the right business model is CRUCIAL to success as a solopreneur. If you can't divorce your time from income, there's no way to scale as a solopreneur.

Those who are complaining that being a solopreneur is a job and not a business are those who are trying to run a conventional business as a solopreneur. It doesn't work this way. If there's no leverage in your business model from the get go, you'll burn out for sure.

Then there are two main models to become a successful solopreneur:
  • Build one big business (probably a personal brand). Again, it ABSOLUTELY has to be a business that can scale without you and without employees. If you're selling services you're performing yourself, that's not a scalable solopreneurial venture. It has to be content or code based.
  • Build unrelated multiple income streams. Perhaps have a Udemy course, a YouTube channel, an automated e-commerce store, etc. This requires less of that aforementioned arrogance and more work ethic.
Books that you can read on the topic of successful solopreneurs:
I'm sorry if this is a little convoluted. I'm a little sick and can't get my brain to function properly.
I completely agree about solopreneurship being possible with a digital product. I have always been in the physical product (vintage auto parts) or retail ( auto repair and body shop businesses)

You are correct it is pretty much impossible to make it in these industries working alone, as I found out early on.
 
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srodrigo

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I'd say that being a solopreneur starts with being a weirdo and an outsider who doesn't do well when working with other people. If you loved group activities in school or were the cool guy, chances are you won't be a good solopreneur because you've never learned how to rely only on yourself. Your default is to work with other people and be a part of the larger machine.
I'm not saying that being an awkward loner is necessary for success as a solopreneur but such experience helps a lot. If you believe that teamwork is necessary for success, you'll struggle as a solo operator.
I'm the weirdo type who was left last to team up at school, lol. Somehow, I'm a good team player at work though. I think team work can be good, but I have a hard time relying on others when I'm doing business. I like doing everything myself and have a hard time even looking for freelancers for stuff that I should really not touch. So I'm a bit mixed about this. I don't think teamwork is strictly necessary 80% of the time. I'm actually having a harder time working in a team these days at work.

You need to have a firm belief that what you can achieve on your own will be better than what an average team can do. This is the kind of a belief that the most successful artists, inventors, and other misfits have. If you don't have this level of self-trust and dedication (and perhaps a dose of arrogance), you'll fail.

That audacity is key to scale. If you aren't at least a bit arrogant about your superiority in your chosen field, then you won't ever deliver stuff above what the "regular" teamwork can generate. You need to be extremely authentic and refuse to conform.

Per Naval:


How can a solopreneur scale?

Again per Naval:


I'd also add that this form of leverage works best if you tap into existing platforms. For a filmmaker, it's way better to tap into YouTube's audience than try to build one from scratch. For an author, it's way better to sell their books on Amazon than sell them in some random bookstores. For coders, it's way better to develop apps for existing Google/Apple marketplaces than sell them by themselves.
Sometimes I have this arrogance and it ends up on an MVP with a better key feature than 90% of stuff out there. But from there to selling and making a business out of it, there's something failing. I love marketing in theory, but then I'm not interested in marketing my own stuff. Weird. I think I just lack of the ambition.


The platforms can largely take care of your marketing (and often also customer support). Then you're mostly responsible for the actual product alone (this is how you cut a lot of work hours).
I'm cool with using platforms. I'm currently looking into Shopify Apps, as it's not excessively crowded (~8000 apps) and people do pay for them as it's actual businesses. So I'd be looking to use their App store for sure.

Choosing the right business model is CRUCIAL to success as a solopreneur. If you can't divorce your time from income, there's no way to scale as a solopreneur.

Those who are complaining that being a solopreneur is a job and not a business are those who are trying to run a conventional business as a solopreneur. It doesn't work this way. If there's no leverage in your business model from the get go, you'll burn out for sure.

Then there are two main models to become a successful solopreneur:
  • Build one big business (probably a personal brand). Again, it ABSOLUTELY has to be a business that can scale without you and without employees. If you're selling services you're performing yourself, that's not a scalable solopreneurial venture. It has to be content or code based.
  • Build unrelated multiple income streams. Perhaps have a Udemy course, a YouTube channel, an automated e-commerce store, etc. This requires less of that aforementioned arrogance and more work ethic.
I can write software well, so this is what I want to build it around. It scales great. The main problem is customer support. You write books so you don't need this (as far as I know), but even folks who started as solopreneurs had to give up and hire people because their SaaS or app was too big now to cope with development, marketing and also customer support. At least a few contractors would be needed.

I'm not an English native speaker and hate making videos, so I didn't get into courses. This is a Me problem though, I'm aware of this, it's fixable. The way I'd feel comfortable recording videos currently is playing music, but I think there's more than enough of this out there.

I actually read Company of One and Work Less Make More long ago. Maybe I should read them again. Adding the other one for fun, although I'll end up in action-faking :D

I'm sorry if this is a little convoluted. I'm a little sick and can't get my brain to function properly.
No worries, man. I really appreciate that you took the time. You are a writer, so your "convoluted" posts are still great.
 

srodrigo

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I wrote a long-winded reply in an effort to provide context for WHY I'm a solopreneur but realized it was basically my life story — at depths people would likely not be interested in.
No problem, always interesting reading you.
Anyway, I'm not excited or drawn by the materialistic, so I get by with rather modest amounts of money.

My subjective success comes from the fact that I go all in or don't go in at all. And leveraging past results to negotiate beefy commissions and deals. Automation is also important as a big chunk of my earnings comes from automated systems I've created and put to work for my clients (which generate money for both them and myself while we sleep).

I've considered hiring people many, many times. Scaling further and making more money.

But I'd rather retain my peace of mind and quality control by doing it myself. Because if I were to hire other people, I'd definitely be more stressed.

My primary goal is to maximize my life expectancy and understand myself, life, and other people better. I'm also drawn to the arts and appreciate being in the moment.

In my experience, being an entrepreneur doesn't bode well with the above. The stress can tear havoc on the body - it happened to me when I was 18 and working day and night on my semi-successful ecommerce store - and many of the people here who are obsessed with their businesses and stacking zeroes will likely understand where I'm coming from someday.

Because when you're looking death in the eye, none of that matters.

Perhaps once you fully automate your business i.e. hiring a CEO to run it all for you it's even less stressful than running solo. I don't know. But with my health risks in question, I don't intend on finding out anytime soon.

I used to feel trapped and cried about being hyper-ambitious and strong-willed in mind but fragile in health and body. It hurt me when friends, relatives, and even my own parents at the time thought I was lazy. No, I've always had a killer work ethic - I was just scared for my life.

To anyone who's a full-fledged entrepreneur and in great health - I say good for you. But don't take it for granted and perhaps take into consideration that the solopreneur, freelancer, or whatever might be one for reasons you aren't aware of.
I followed some of your threads where you say you work very few hours a day and make enough money. That's cool. I don't need tons either, but still enough to not be forced into work (I don't like contracting either, I'm actually hating it more than my last permanent job despite earning twice as much).

One thing that got into my mind long ago was building a legacy. Then I realised, a legacy for who? No one is going to remember in 200 years, probably. As you say, once dead, it doesn't matter. We could die tomorrow, and then what? So I think it's best to focus on more "lifetime" goals. Good money is still achievable and desirable, but I'm not interested in building an empire that will last for some extra time until it collapses inevitably.

More than hiring a CEO to run my business, I'd be more than happy to sell it at that point. I've got plenty of useless stuff to dive into once I'm rich :D

Take care of your health, man. Every time I get hooked into RTS games and start having some stress related issues I remember that you were a pro gamer. I'm not sure how you managed.
 

Simon Angel

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No problem, always interesting reading you.

I followed some of your threads where you say you work very few hours a day and make enough money. That's cool. I don't need tons either, but still enough to not be forced into work (I don't like contracting either, I'm actually hating it more than my last permanent job despite earning twice as much).

One thing that got into my mind long ago was building a legacy. Then I realised, a legacy for who? No one is going to remember in 200 years, probably. As you say, once dead, it doesn't matter. We could die tomorrow, and then what? So I think it's best to focus on more "lifetime" goals. Good money is still achievable and desirable, but I'm not interested in building an empire that will last for some extra time until it collapses inevitably.

More than hiring a CEO to run my business, I'd be more than happy to sell it at that point. I've got plenty of useless stuff to dive into once I'm rich :D

Take care of your health, man. Every time I get hooked into RTS games and start having some stress related issues I remember that you were a pro gamer. I'm not sure how you managed.

Oddly enough, my health was generally decent in the times I was pushing my mental limits. I theorize that it was so because of the hunger and will to come out on top was serving as some sort of bandaid.

As ridiculous as it sounds, it gave me purpose. And now, I'm not ashamed to admit I don't really have a purpose. I really don't.

My friends look at me like I have it figured out. Decent money, hot girlfriend, not rotting away in hospitals anymore. I literally don't strive for anything right now.

In the past couple of years I was looking into becoming a pro race car driver. I went all out. Something like 1 hour of paid work and 8 hours of grinding it out on the most common race tracks in the best virtual simulators. I visualized myself entering X motorsport categories and being this hungry underdog that would win if his life depended on it. I set multiple world record times and raced against actual pro drivers that told me I'd wipe the floor with half the grid in their category.

And now? I'm bored and the passion is gone.

I can literally make accomplishing X thing my ultimate life goal and adopt a do-or-die attitude until I become superb at it. And then, one morning I just wake up and I want to be or do something else entirely. It's as amusing as it is f*cked up.

I've been thinking about what kind of business, profession, or anything for that matter is suitable for someone who changes like that on a whim. And I realized actors have the fortune of being many different people through their roles. Funnily enough, I was doing plays in my local theatre like 10 years ago. The stage fright was too much for me at the time and I quit. But I didn't know what I do know - that if you really want something and put in the work, it will materialize.

So I've secretly been doing courses and recording myself this past week. I'm not entirely sure if I'm on the right path, but in a few years I'll be 30. I feel like just a few years ago I was 16. I have to find meaning in something.

It's a crazy world out there. Good luck!
 
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srodrigo

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I can literally make accomplishing X thing my ultimate life goal and adopt a do-or-die attitude until I become superb at it. And then, one morning I just wake up and I want to be or do something else entirely. It's as amusing as it is f*cked up.
Typical ENTP I guess? :D

Finding purpose or even answer "what do I want from life" is, to me, the most difficult thing. (Solo-)Entrepreneurship is easy compared to that, as once you really have a reason you smash through it no matter what. Problem is when the "what do I want" keeps switching. I hope you'll find something eventually. Good luck to you too!
 

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I'd class myself as a solo-preneur at the moment, even though I have a full-time freelance software developer, and our 14 year old is a part-time employee.

I'm the one who builds relationships with other business owners, who jumps on calls with people, signs up clients, does the technical work, manages the projects and client communication, etc. I like doing the technical work, and scaling isn't my priority at the moment, although I'm getting there in my own way.

Choosing the right business model is CRUCIAL to success as a solopreneur.
^^^ This. We can scale with people, processes, and technology, but some business models scale better than others.

One of my many rules is: If it's not MRR I don't do it.

If you're selling services you're performing yourself, that's not a scalable solopreneurial venture.
Agreed but not 100%. If the service is provided in the first month and keeps bringing in revenue for months or years with minimal additional work then it can scale. Maybe that's not providing a service. I don't think the label matters really. Create things that provide value and bring revenue long after they've been created.



What do I think makes a good solo-preneur?

I think they come in all shapes and sizes. They've got to have enough self-belief and self-confidence to keep going on their own, even if they've a support network. Same as all entrepreneurs and business owners really.

Because you don't delegate as much you've got to be very conscious of doing work that actually makes a difference. The market doesn't pay for activity after all, and you've less hours at your disposal so they're arguably even more precious.
 

srodrigo

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What do I think makes a good solo-preneur?

I think they come in all shapes and sizes. They've got to have enough self-belief and self-confidence to keep going on their own, even if they've a support network. Same as all entrepreneurs and business owners really.

Because you don't delegate as much you've got to be very conscious of doing work that actually makes a difference. The market doesn't pay for activity after all, and you've less hours at your disposal so they're arguably even more precious.
Thanks Andy. Agree about this. Something bugging me for a long time is that I can smash the technical work but struggle to go through other areas because they don't interest me as much. One of the reasons why I opened this post was trying to figure out how people deal with wearing multiple hats.
 
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Thanks Andy. Agree about this. Something bugging me for a long time is that I can smash the technical work but struggle to go through other areas because they don't interest me as much. One of the reasons why I opened this post was trying to figure out how people deal with wearing multiple hats.

I dislike marketing a lot. Which is why I believe that one of the best ways for a solopreneur to not wear many hats is to use an existing platform where you can sort of "delegate" the growth to the algorithm.

Yeah, it may violate the commandment of control but you can mitigate that by using a few platforms and building your email list.
 

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What are your thoughts? How can solopreneurs succeed and take their business to the next level or create one that doesn't depend as much on selling their time as opposed to freelancers/contractors?
It's effectively impossible to scale any business to a decent exit without a team. It is impossible.

The only question is whether the team consists of family, friends, partners, employees, contractors, vendors, mentors, coaches, like minded entrepreneurs or some combination of those. Solopreneurship (is that even a word?!?) with a single person doing everything imaginable is definitely NOT Fastlane.

The reason is simple.

Improving some aspects of the business is far more valuable than others. Cold calling for new contracts is far more valuable than sweeping the floors. Entrepreneurs should be doing mostly the former and none of the latter. As a true "solopreneur", you're doing all the shit work and wasting valuable time on pointless busy work because no one else is around to do it for you.

Digital products and platforms don't change that basic equation in the slightest. Good luck trying to master the ever changing whims of Google, Amazon and Shopify while doing market research while responding to support calls while trying to learn how to use the latest and great publishing app to write/record/edit/publish the amazing new thingy you created that no one cares to buy because you didn't have an extra ten minutes to spend learning how to market it.

Entrepreneurs are successful when they learn how to prioritize, build systems and hand things off.
 
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Myster kouadj

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Despite the exhaustion and time that solo work will take, the advantage of being a solo-entrepreneur is that you Can control the path that you take to the top. Control of the process. And if there is a technical problem, you can handle it better
 
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How can solopreneurs succeed and take their business to the next level or create one that doesn't depend as much on selling their time as opposed to freelancers/contractors?

Was walking outside in beautiful sunny weather, crisp winter cold and clear mind … a thought popped into my mind on this topic: yes you can take it to the next level:
Through partnerships!
If you can arrange a solution to two unrelated parties with opposite problems and get a cut of a mega deal, your cut can be seven figures. It doesn’t take a lot of hours and does not depend on your time. It depends purely on the value you provide.
I remember a few years back a local very well known company was putting a $150m fund. They put in $50 of their own money and were raising the rest. Another local billionaire put in a $50m and they now lacked the last $50m. A well connected broker made one phone call and got paid $3m. Yes, one call and the fund is full and his pay was $3 million.

In other words, it is possible to make good money that’s not tied to your time … if you know something others don’t but value highly.

On a much much smaller scale, I did some consulting that made one person a lot of money. My fee was % and not tied to my time.

But in general, I still prefer your typical business: office, employees, investors, products etc.
 

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Was walking outside in beautiful sunny weather, crisp winter cold and clear mind … a thought popped into my mind on this topic: yes you can take it to the next level:
Through partnerships!
If you can arrange a solution to two unrelated parties with opposite problems and get a cut of a mega deal, your cut can be seven figures. It doesn’t take a lot of hours and does not depend on your time. It depends purely on the value you provide.
I remember a few years back a local very well known company was putting a $150m fund. They put in $50 of their own money and were raising the rest. Another local billionaire put in a $50m and they now lacked the last $50m. A well connected broker made one phone call and got paid $3m. Yes, one call and the fund is full and his pay was $3 million.

In other words, it is possible to make good money that’s not tied to your time … if you know something others don’t but value highly.

On a much much smaller scale, I did some consulting that made one person a lot of money. My fee was % and not tied to my time.

But in general, I still prefer your typical business: office, employees, investors, products etc.

Jay Abraham made millions through strategic partnerships like that. No investment required, just tapping into existing resources that aren't optimized.
 

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It's effectively impossible to scale any business to a decent exit without a team. It is impossible.
I'm wary of absolutes. All it takes is one person to have done it to make it untrue.
 
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I'm wary of absolutes. All it takes is one person to have done it to make it untrue.
Thanks for your post.
What about J.K. Rowling? I think that she just wrote the books and made 100's of millions of dollars. I know that they were turned into films but I suspect that Rowling didn't have to lead the team, just allow a film studio to do it. I doubt that she had a very big team when she made her money.
 

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It's effectively impossible to scale any business to a decent exit without a team. It is impossible.

The only question is whether the team consists of family, friends, partners, employees, contractors, vendors, mentors, coaches, like minded entrepreneurs or some combination of those. Solopreneurship (is that even a word?!?) with a single person doing everything imaginable is definitely NOT Fastlane.

The reason is simple.

Improving some aspects of the business is far more valuable than others. Cold calling for new contracts is far more valuable than sweeping the floors. Entrepreneurs have be doing mostly the former and none of the latter. As a true "solopreneur", you're doing all the shit work and wasting valuable time on pointless busy work because no one else is around to do it for you.

Digital products and platforms don't change that basic equation in the slightest. Good luck trying to master the ever changing whims of Google, Amazon and Shopify while doing market research while responding to support calls while trying to learn how to use the latest and great publishing app to write/record/edit/publish the amazing new thingy you created that no one cares to buy because you didn't have an extra ten minutes to spend learning how to market it.

Entrepreneurs are successful when they learn how to prioritize, build systems and hand things off.
The problem is, as you say, when your baby grows and you can't handle it on your own anymore. I think a single entrepreneur with a team of contractors can do quite well (there are a few on this forum). I'm not sure at what point they couldn't cope anymore, but I've seen folks doing well on their own for a while, then hire freelancers or even some employees when needed.

I've been thinking about this, and even personal brands can have too much overhead eventually for a single person to cope. Some successful streamers have a video editor, for example. Nothing necessarily wrong that that. What I wouldn't like is a company of 10+ people, or even 2-5 permanent employees that I need to feed every month.

Despite the exhaustion and time that solo work will take, the advantage of being a solo-entrepreneur is that you Can control the path that you take to the top. Control of the process. And if there is a technical problem, you can handle it better
Yeah, it allows you to move faster than bigger companies.
 

srodrigo

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Was walking outside in beautiful sunny weather, crisp winter cold and clear mind … a thought popped into my mind on this topic: yes you can take it to the next level:
Through partnerships!
If you can arrange a solution to two unrelated parties with opposite problems and get a cut of a mega deal, your cut can be seven figures. It doesn’t take a lot of hours and does not depend on your time. It depends purely on the value you provide.
I remember a few years back a local very well known company was putting a $150m fund. They put in $50 of their own money and were raising the rest. Another local billionaire put in a $50m and they now lacked the last $50m. A well connected broker made one phone call and got paid $3m. Yes, one call and the fund is full and his pay was $3 million.

In other words, it is possible to make good money that’s not tied to your time … if you know something others don’t but value highly.
Sounds like football representatives :D I'm a tech guy, I'm not sure I've got this kind of "glue" between people skill. I know people who do though, so maybe I can partner with them somehow.

On a much much smaller scale, I did some consulting that made one person a lot of money. My fee was % and not tied to my time.

But in general, I still prefer your typical business: office, employees, investors, products etc.
I like the % idea though. Let's say you make some software for someone. You can negotiate a % so if the thing makes fu money then you get your cut. This is quite common in startups, but typically for early employees, not quite for entrepreneurs. I actually met someone who was seeking for the unicorn that would make her rich a few years later, joining a new startup after the one she was working at either failed or got stuck.
 
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What about the likes of @Fox who has his own YouTube channel and other social media accounts and gets people into his educational programme? Sure, he's outsourced his short video creation/editing/publishing to @BigRomeDawg , but does paying freelancers and agencies to do specific tasks for you mean you're not a solo-preneur? (And does it really matter what label we put on our business or other people's businesses?)

What about @Valier who researched, wrote, voiceovered (is that a word?), created, edited, and published his own YouTube videos and has over 1.3m followers now?

Or the youngest Khardasian who apparently hit a billion net worth with a small team of 7 (as mentioned in the video below).

I presume there's stacks of influencers/creators doing really well without employees.

I picked up a client a couple of weeks ago just by posting a few times on LinkedIn. An advantage I have over agencies is I'm the one on the preliminary call with them, I'm the one they know who'll do the work, and I'm the one communicating directly with them while building campaigns. Some clients want to be served by a larger agency where they deal with a salesperson, then an account manager, and never get to speak to the techie doing the work at the coal-face. Horses for courses, but it shows there's a place for the solo-preneur (freelancer) to get work, and there's ways for technical specialists to grow their business by growing their personal brands.


A recent Alex Hormozi video (I preferred the podcast version which I've linked to below it):

View: https://youtu.be/6DCDGSnRDtM

 

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Thanks for your post.
What about J.K. Rowling? I think that she just wrote the books and made 100's of millions of dollars. I know that they were turned into films but I suspect that Rowling didn't have to lead the team, just allow a film studio to do it. I doubt that she had a very big team when she made her money.
Excellent example, just be careful. The issue with outliers like JK Rowling is that they are outliners. For every 1 JKR there are 100 million writers who are poor.

A recent Alex Hormozi video (I preferred the podcast version which I've linked to below it):

View: https://youtu.be/6DCDGSnRDtM


I really like Alex H, bad screenshot but a useful triangle for leverage:
Screenshot 2022-12-04 at 7.54.20 AM.png
 

srodrigo

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What about the likes of @Fox who has his own YouTube channel and other social media accounts and gets people into his educational programme? Sure, he's outsourced his short video creation/editing/publishing to a @BigRomeDawg , but does paying freelancers and agencies to do specific tasks for you mean you're not a solo-preneur? (And does it really matter what label we put on our business or other people's businesses?)

What about @Valier who researched, wrote, voiceovered (is that a word?), created, edited, and published his own YouTube videos and has over 1.3m followers now?

Or the youngest Khardasian who apparently hit a billion net worth with a small team of 7 (as mentioned in the video below).

I presume there's stacks of influencers/creators doing really well without employees.
Maybe I opened a can of worms when I asked the original question:happy:

I think creators tend to do most things by themselves, maybe having one person to help out with certain things.

For people who run their business but really need to at least hire some freelancers, I'm not sure about the definition. Is it important after all though? Maybe I asked the wrong question to start with.

I picked up a client a couple of weeks ago just by posting a few times on LinkedIn. An advantage I have over agencies is I'm the one on the preliminary call with them, I'm the one they know who'll do the work, and I'm the one communicating directly with them while building campaigns. Some clients want to be served by a larger agency where they deal with a salesperson, then an account manager, and never get to speak to the techie doing the work at the coal-face. Horses for courses, but it shows there's a place for the solo-preneur (freelancer) to get work, and there's ways for technical specialists to grow their business by growing their personal brands.
The thing is (from what I understand) you haven't quite detached your income from your time for the most part. If you enjoy what you do and make money you are happy with, that's cool, nothing wrong. I'm thinking more about a way to detach income from time.

I've been having a look at Udemy courses. They keep 63% of the revenue unless the sale comes from referral or coupon. WTF. I'd rather write an ebook I think...

A recent Alex Hormozi video (I preferred the podcast version which I've linked to below it):

View: https://youtu.be/6DCDGSnRDtM
I'll try to watch it. The problem with his content these days is that it now looks like I'm on the rollercoaster, up and down, left to right. I don't know whether he's aware of the shit editor he's got, but puts some people off. I used to love his old content though.
 
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I'll try to watch it. The problem with his content these days is that it now looks like I'm on the rollercoaster, up and down, left to right. I don't know whether he's aware of the shit editor he's got, but puts some people off. I used to love his old content though.
Agreed. Hence linking to the audio version, which is also longer and less frentic.
 

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I've been having a look at Udemy courses. They keep 63% of the revenue unless the sale comes from referral or coupon. WTF. I'd rather write an ebook I think...
Look into Kat Norton (Miss Excel). She's doing pretty well selling courses.
 

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