How to Transition from Being a Freelancer to a Solopreneur

Updated: January 9, 2021

My journey from being an employee to being an entrepreneur started when I decided to pursue freelancing.

While working in my corporate job, I did freelancing work as a software developer. And when my freelancing income surpassed my employee salary, that’s when I decided to quit my job.

My goal back then was really to become an entrepreneur, to eventually put up a business. And having this objective helped me during my time as a freelancer to not be complacent despite having a good income outside the corporate world.

If you’re a freelancer, and you’d also like to eventually become an entrepreneur, then the next step is to train yourself to become a solo entrepreneur — a solopreneur.

Solo Freelancer vs Solopreneur

What’s the difference between a freelancer and a solopreneur? It’s in their mindset.

In simple terms, a freelancer thinks of himself as a professional, while a solopreneur sees himself as a one-man team running a business.

As a professional, a freelancer aims to develop their skills so they can earn more. To be able to take in more complex and higher-earning projects. Their focus is on their personal growth.

However, a solopreneur aims to develop a business from his current work. To eventually hire people who will do the work he does. Their focus is on growing and scaling their one-man business.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to pursue personal growth. But between upgrading their freelancing skills and learning how to manage people, a solopreneur would prioritize learning the latter over the former.

Why be a Solopreneur?

Being a solopreneur is your foundation for eventually becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur.

A lot of people are afraid to start a business because they lack the skills. But being a solopreneur allows you to learn those entrepreneurial skills at low risk.

Moreover, the benefits of succeeding as a solopreneur will result in significant passive and residual income that employees and plain freelancers can only dream of. Besides, you’ll have more free time to spend with your loved ones.

Lastly, as your business grows, you get the chance to give back to the community by creating jobs for others.

When should you start?

Any time is a good time to be a solopreneur. The desire to start is your first sign that you should seriously consider becoming one.

If you’ve been a freelancer for a while and you want to make more money without necessarily working more hours, then transitioning to solopreneurship could be your answer.

Lastly, if you want to pursue other interests and ventures but can’t afford the time because you’re always busy with your freelancing work, then that is also a good sign that you should start.

Steps to Becoming a Solopreneur

Step 1
It all starts with your personal finance. If you can’t manage your own money, then you won’t be able to properly manage the finances of a business. So begin by tracking and minimizing your expenses, eliminating unnecessary debts, and spending below your means.

Step 2
Define your minimum viable product. Know your core competency. Determine what is your bestselling service. The key is to start small and simple. Focus on what you are already good at.

If you’re a freelance writer, then ask yourself what type of articles and niche do you excel in? A writing service business for this type of article could now be your minimum viable product.

Step 3
Document your work process. Write your typical project cycle. List the tasks that you do. And then identify those which you can automate or outsource. The ultimate goal is to create a quality guideline for your work.

Step 4
Develop a business plan. This serves as your blueprint for the next couple of years. It details how everything runs; and how your business will eventually run without you.

The business plan has many parts. But the most important ones are your marketing strategies and your financial projections. Specifically, it should be able to answer the following:

  • How much will it cost to automate or outsource some of your work tasks?
  • How will this affect your income? Is it acceptable to you?
  • How many additional projects do you need to earn as much as before? Is it feasible?
  • What is the potential for growth and scale? Are there other opportunities you can pursue?

Step 5
Don’t waste all that planning. Take action as soon as you have a working business blueprint. It will not be easy, but the aim is progression and not perfection. And in due time, your solo freelance career will become a thriving small business.

Congratulations, you’re now a solopreneur when you reach this point.

Final Tips

There are three key strategies that you must apply if you want to succeed.

First, learn to automate. Look for tools and apps that can do your tasks efficiently. And you should also automate personal tasks, such as paying bills, which you can now do online. Save your time and energy in developing your business.

Second, learn to delegate. Don’t be afraid to outsource, especially the routine and mechanical tasks in your business. Be open to training someone to become your duplicate.

And third, learn to collaborate. There’s a lot of freelancers and solopreneurs out there. Network and connect with them. Work with them on projects, and develop strategic partners.

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3 comments

  1. Hi! Please guide us on how to register a business (MSMEs) and make it legit via DTI permit, FDA etc.,

    Thanks

    Camille

  2. Excellent and very accurate account of the exact transition I have watched in live time the past few years. My Beautiful Bride developed her local business ventures and slowly backed away from her passion (and two decade career) of academic writing. She will likely always write a few projects each month for the challenge, the joy and the “free” education as she gets paid to research new topics. Maria always says that her writing is like being paid to stay in school and stay constantly updated on her college degrees.

    Sadly, competition between the writing companies is fierce and ever-increasing. Many companies have reduced pay scales and are dishing out very poor treatment to those who produce the work product. Even my wife as a top writer for several companies has been hit with a notice that a project was canceled and there will be no payment. This happened AFTER she completed several days of work on the assignment and was ready to send in the finished product ahead of the deadline. While I have agreed to NEVER demand she stop what she loves, I did suggest that she “cherry-pick” her assignments.

    I also suggested she wait until the companies call her when they are desperate and begging her to accept a project. You see, my wife has specialties such as statistics and doing multiple regressions. There are very, very few academic writers that are willing and can do this work. Most companied have no one that can. Accepting ONLY these high level assignments with a written guarantee of payment was my suggestion for her to stay in the game. My wife will also write a thesis or dissertation for local students. These projects will be enough, I hope, to satisfy her “writing itch.

    The very best part of the transition to business owner: We are long past the point with our Philippine based business ventures to where the income from local operations has far exceeded what my wife ever earned writing. She now has the option to stop writing anytime. We lived well below our means. All business income was reinvested into growing the business. There were times when demand was so great that we both put extra funds into our “baby” to keep the growth going. I would add the gain from a good trade or unspent money from my retirement check. My wife would add anything left from helping her Mom. It is “WAY COOL” to actually be developing additional opportunities, some of witch I see a high probability of becoming a future passive income. All of this began with a great idea from my Beautiful Bride and $2,000.00USD “seed money” to test out her vision.

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