Management is overrated. As one with an MBA can attest, studying theory is quite different from practice. If you are perhaps introverted or not overly thrilled to tell people they need to come to work on Saturday, maybe the solopreneur route is for you. And guess what, there are plenty of people doing it. Based upon research by Elaine Pofeldt, the author of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, we are opened to a world where entrepreneurs are generating seven-figure revenues in businesses where they are the only employees.
The U.S Census Bureau provides figures to support her findings. Pofeldt discovered data that revealed pockets of businesses with no employees that earned between $1 million and $2.5 million in revenue. As you might imagine, these businesses were typically e-commerce, informational, professional or personal services companies.
When all was said and done, there were two key strategies that were incorporated into individual seven-figure success:
Automation and Outsourcing: Speaking from experience, it has never been more affordable to automate your start-up. I remember years ago trying to track down programmers and web designers who wanted tens of thousands of dollars to create an online retailing site. With the advent of WordPress, Shopify and the like, this can be done for under $1,000. Automating repetitive tasks that can be better outsourced will free you up from the malady of endless hours of recruitment. These solopreneurs who have hit it big work extensively with contractors via sites like Upwork. Just as WordPress was not available in the past, neither was freelancing nearly to the degree it is today. From virtual assistants to sites like Fiverr.com, the world is your employment pool, with work being judged as good or not by your peers.
Charge Higher Prices: Charging more seems logical, but isn’t there a tradeoff with losing business? It depends on how you present the higher priced service. Often you will see marketing that will entice you in with a product or service for a nominal amount, and only then offer you a premium, higher priced product. Many of the entrepreneurs Pofeldt interviewed grew their businesses after charging higher prices for more premium services or goods. She notes, “It’s easy to scale up a premium course that you can create once and sell many times.”
In my humble opinion, the seven-figure solopreneur really comes down to not wanting to manage people, and following a hobby or skill that is your passion, much like any entrepreneur. This is, of course, in many ways a lifestyle choice. After surveying some of these solopreneurs, there is a driving trait that is characteristic to many. She puts it poignantly, “I never liked the prospect of selling someone else’s product so the executives could get rich off of it. I don’t want to be someone’s instrument.” That statement resonates with me, as I’m sure it does with many of you. There has never been a better time to take the leap of faith and jump out on your own, literally and figuratively.