The Solopreneur Business Model:
The Hidden Challenges and Amazing Benefits
Is the solopreneur business model the right model for you?
As more and more individuals are taking the leap from employed to self-employed it's important to weigh the pros and cons to ensure the solopreneur business model is the right strategy for you. For a lot of people living the solopreneur lifestyle works. But, it's important to be clear that while there are many awesome benefits of being a solo business owner, there are also challenges.
From the outside, owning your business and being your own boss can look different compared to what it's truly like. Being a solopreneur is often seen as a dream lifestyle. Many see being their own boss as something everyone should aspire to. From the outside it can look like total freedom and a great way to work from home in your pajamas all day. But there are challenges that you may not have considered.
If you are one of the many contemplating and considering business ownership, I want to help you understand the pros and cons of starting and operating a business on your own. I want to ensure you set realistic goals.
First, let's define who is a solopreneur and what the solopreneur business model is.
A solopreneur is an individual who starts and runs a business on their own where they are the only one in their business who provides services or develops products for their clients and customers. However, many solopreneurs do still hire support staff, work with contract workers and outsource to service professionals like marketers and accountants.
The solopreneur business model simply means the owner is in charge of and ultimately responsible for everything. This model is not built on the expectation that the business owner eventually will solely focus on growing the business rather than providing services and developing products. Instead, Solopreneurs are focused on building a steady customer base to keep their business profitable. They are not interested in expanding by bringing on teams, expanding to new niches or opening multiple locations.
Next, let's look at who might choose the solopreneur business model.
Individuals who want to make a sustainable living out of a passion and generate income from services and the development of digital products with a low to moderate financial risk often choose the solopreneur business model. If you aren't interested in building a business where you have to manage teams, spend majority of your time building and revising your strategy to expand, the solopreneur business model may be the perfect fit for you.
Let's dive in and explore the benefits of the solopreneur business model.
- Decision Making Is Fast and Easy (well, easier)
As a solopreneur, you make all the final decisions. You don't require anyone else's input. No wasted hours of discussions and endless amounts of input and opinions. Now this doesn't mean feedback and guidance from coaches and mentors isn't helpful or smart, of course it it. But, you make the final decisions on what's right for your business and there is no one to overturn or adjust your decision. Plus, there typically is no one you need to train to get the decision, idea, strategy implemented -- at least not a large team.
- You Control The Vision of Your Business
When you're a solopreneur you own your business vision and you get to decide what the right path to take is for your business to succeed. You don't have to negotiate with others or make compromises on your services or products, you get to launch the fantastic creation you envisioned just as you envisioned it. No failed projects because of others involved. While none of us enjoy failing, would you rather have yourself to blame for a failure than something fail because of someone else. When it's you, you can determine what to do differently next time and take the ownership of making it a success.
- You Choose When and How Hard You Work
Ok, there is a caveat to this, if you're providing services directly to clients you'll need to have a scheduled time to meet with them. But, you do still control the when, how often and how long you meet with your clients. You can also choose the clients you work with, the projects you work on and what work you outsource.
Additionally, you manage your calendar. You have the flexibility to decide that you're going to head to the gym at noon and work late into the evening or over the weekend, you have that choice and there's not boss to ask and no time-off-request to fill out. Truthfully, I used to hate working evenings and weekends for someone else (and so did my hubby and kids) but when it's for my business, hubby nor I mind.
Lastly, when life is busy with personal projects or time with family you can slow down your client acquisition to free up more time for an extended weekend or vacation.
So, while you may not have complete freedom to do whatever whenever, you have much more flexibility than you do working for someone else or managing a team working for you.
Time To Balance The Benefits With The Challenges
- You Have To Learn Everything
If you're curious and love learning new things (like me) then this could be more of a pro than a con. None the less, being a solopreneur means having to expand your knowledge and skills. Even if you outsource specific tasks, ultimately you're responsible for marketing, sales, research, service and product design and development, website creation and maintenance, customer support, providing the services and delivering the projects and everything else to keep your business running.
- Working Too Much or Too Little
Ask most solopreneurs about how much time they spend working and their likely to tell you they spend more hours working their business than they did their full-time job especially when starting out. Making decisions around time can really drive you nuts. Will this extra vacation day cost me a sale? Will unplugging for the weekend mean I miss a call from a potential client? Is it worth staying up to finish this blog, even though it's 3am?
And what happens if I get sick? While Best Buy won't likely close if the owner is sick, your business will. While it's frustrating to get sick no matter if you're the employee or the boss, it can be hugely disruptive to your businesses bottom line when you don't have paid sick days. For majority of solopreneurs, when they get sick their business stops working. There isn't someone else to meet with their clients, attend the upcoming networking meeting or make the final adjustments on a clients project that's due in a few days. And this isn't just "illness" but can also include accidents, mental health days and family issues. Which leads me to the next challenge
- The Solopreneur Business Model Can Be Lonely
Feelings of isolation and loneliness are real. No matter how much of an introvert you might be, being the only one in your business can create true mental health challenges. You won't have regular "lunch hours" shooting the breeze in the staff lounge with colleagues. There will be no one to banter with at the water cooler. No one to ask you how the weekend was or to brainstorm ideas with.
But, you can play whatever type of music as loudly as you want in your home office. You can also join a business networking group or mastermind. And the more established you become you can hire a housekeeper and talk to them at least once every two weeks.
The reality is that the solopreneur business model gives you incredible freedom, personal empowerment and absolute creative control.
Even if you do have failures, it's usually better to have tried to build your dream business than to have never tried at all.
Yes, there are plenty of people who tried owning their own business and hated it, but at least they know it's not for them. Knowing means that door is closed and there is no endless "what if" in the back of your mind. And often, the regret of never trying is greater than that of failing.
Also, when you structure your business the right way, you can enjoy the benefits and avoid most of the potential downsides. The solopreneur business model really is one of the simplest business to start and has the lowest financial risks. You can even start part-time or run your business as a side-gig until you're ready to grow it to a full-time microbusiness.
So, will you take the leap from employed to self-employed with the solopreneur business model?
Hello! & Welcome
I'm Coach Erin. I help new and emerging business owners
↣ organize ideas
↣ design authentic brands
↣ systematize business
↣ create and implement strategies
↣ improve productivity
If you want to start, grow and manage your online service business with more confidence, consistency, and control, let's meet.
More From The Blog
Stay in the loop – Don’t miss what’s coming next!→ Easy Affirmations To Boost Your Confidence: For New Business Owners Looking for a easy and simple way to boost your confidence as you start your new business? Truth is, there is no new business owner who couldn’t use a boost to their confidence. Reality check…
My journey to coaching went like this: I didn’t even know what a coach was or how business coaching worked. I did, however, have a “wake up call” as many would say, that in a way guided me to the idea of coaching. A wake up call that led me to a profession that has come to feel custom made for me.
The catalyst toward me becoming a business coach was an MRI.
Stay in the loop – Don’t miss what’s coming next!→ A Strong Business Vision Makes Success Easier To Achieve Having a strong business vision is essential. It helps guide us and allows us to really target our business and its message to the right audience. It’s something we can build on and grow into. But…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Garcia, Business Coach
Coach Erin has been guiding new business owners through the process of starting, growing, and managing a service business since 2003. Between coaching, brand design, and website development you might catch her strolling the beaches of Western Washington, visiting family in Arizona, or enjoying a glass of iced tea creekside on her back patio.