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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.