August 18, 2017

What Is The Definition Of Solopreneur


Finding the right job is a challenge today. Pay is not great, competition is tough and job satisfaction is low. All these factors are encouraging more people to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. And one trend that has gained momentum in the past few years is solopreneurship.

But what is the definition of a solopreneur and how are solopreneurs different than entrepreneurs?

Definition of Solopreneur

A quick search on Google will tell you that the term solopreneur has been around for quite some time.

Macmillan dictionary defines a solopreneur as a business owner who works and runs their business alone. Going by this definition of solopreneur, about a third of the American workforce comprising freelancers and consultants fit under category.

Solopreneurs have an inherently entrepreneurial mindset, and they prefer single-handedly managing their business.

Solopreneurs are often criticized for not generating jobs for others. What critics do not take into account is that while solopreneurs may work alone, it doesn’t mean they don’t collaborate with other entrepreneurs. To give an example, a freelance writer may work closely with a designer on various projects. In this way, solopreneurs generate work for others.

Pros and Cons of Being a Solopreneur

Solopreneurship as a career is tempting for several reasons. To begin with, solopreneurs have the flexibility and freedom to choose their work. The work-life balance that solopreneurship offers is, in fact, one of the key factors behind its growing popularity.

Solopreneurship also works for those who want to be their own boss. By choosing to run their businesses single-handedly, solopreneurs avoid boardroom politics and other hassles that come with dealing with too many people. Solopreneurs call their own shots and are accountable for the business decisions they make.

In the present market scenario, solopreneurship is an idea worth exploring because demand for self-driven, skilled specialists is on the rise. There are plenty of opportunities that solopreneurs can consider to achieve success.

On the flip side however, solopreneurship is not for those averse to taking risks. While working alone as an entrepreneur, you may face challenging situations that demand patience and quick decision-making.

It’s also important to remember that as a solopreneur you will be on your own, without the support of your team members. You may face situations where you need to multi-task and do many jobs all at once.

Plus, a growing number of people are jumping on the solopreneurship bandwagon today, making it a really competitive place to be. To get business, you have to find new ways to set yourself apart and communicate your unique brand story. What special value do you bring? Why should your customers choose you over your competition? These are some questions you need to answer before you choose a career in this domain.

Solopreneurship is an exciting opportunity to consider also because there are some really fun ideas you can explore. With the right strategy and vision, you can get started in no time. You can find useful tips and advice on how to start your journey as a solopreneur in this article.

What is your definition of solopreneur?

Definition Photo via Shutterstock

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Shubhomita Bose


Shubhomita Bose Shubhomita Bose is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers key studies and surveys about the small business market, along with general small business news. She draws on 8 years of experience in copywriting, marketing and communications, having worked extensively on creating content for small and medium sized enterprises.

6 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    I think that this is only possible today with all the tools that people now have access to. After all, they are not really completely alone as they usually hire other people to help them.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    I am happy to call myself a solopreneur! 😉

  3. Coworking spaces are perfect for solopreneurs. This way you can leverage from other solopreneurs knowledge, networks, etc.

  4. I run my own business and like many others who do this, I wear many hats and am involved in every aspect of it. However, my mom often references the book ‘The E-Myth Revisted’, insisting that I’m nothing more than a technician and a far cry from becoming an entrepreneur. Now that I’ve read this article, it seems that I could describe myself as a solopreneur. If you’re familiar with the E-Myth, what would be the difference between a technician and a solopreneur, since both seem to be hands-on doing most of the work themselves.

  5. Great question, Karina! Your mom actually says that?… that you’re nothing more than a technician and a far cry from becoming an entrepreneur?”

    Solopreneurs need support, too. You know? 🙂

    Anyway, you are indeed a solopreneur. You employ all 3 of Gerber’s personalities…

    1) Entrepreneur – you had the idea to start your business, right?

    2) Organizer – you’ve built systems for running the business, managing expenses, paying taxes, etc.

    3) Technician – the only reason that people mistake this personality for the solopreneur is that this is the one who does most of the work. UNTIL you succeed.

    At that point, the Entrepreneur in you should add an as-needed person to handle one job and a part-timer to do something regular. Put your time into the right spots.

    The Solopreneur in you, though, may say… “No, I don’t want to manage anyone.” Figure that out and be happy with the decision – to grow or not to grow, THAT is the question.

    So… the crux of the issue is not in what to call you, it’s whether you are generating income that meets your goals, whether you are having fun, whether you also have a “life.”

    Since your technician works alone, you are indeed a solopreneur. Entrepreneurs hire more technicians (and then a manager), leveraging each hire to greater income levels.

    On the other hand, most solopreneurs LIKE to work “solo.” They don’t have to be ALONE, though. You may hire a graphic designer to do a logo, contract with DHL to take care of shipping, use a VA to do time-consuming trivial matters.

    You might even, at some point of success, hire a part-time employee to take a big chunk of work off your back, allowing you to do more.

    Beyond that level of “extra people,” though, you enter the ambitious playground called “EntrepreneurLand”

    Now that we’ve determined WHAT you are (solopreneur), are you happy and earning at or above your goal level? If so, and if that’s good enough, and you love owning your life without complications and if you get to do other stuff that YOU enjoy…

    CONGRATULATIONS, Karina. Just agree with your mom and move on. Why fight about labels?

    If your solopreneur biz is failing, though, if you’re working harder and harder, with no time for anything else, but not earning at the level you planned, it’s time to take a step back and analyze WHY.

    (Maybe your Mom is trying to point something out, but just doing it badly?)

    THE most common reason that solopreneurs fail is…

    LACK OF TIME. It’s the solopreneur’s most valuable asset. Don’t waste it by mis-allocating.

    The technician tries to fix failure by working harder (often on the wrong things), until s/he totally burns out. The problem is almost always a lack of traffic or poor sales – but she spends all day on social media because it’s fun and she’d “making contacts.” Wrong priority.

    It’s hard to both build search engine based traffic AND develop, market, sell and support your own products. Both take TIME.

    So you probably either depend on passive income to monetize organic (search engine) traffic, or have developed your own product (or service) but can’t sell enough. Each of those 2 types fail because…

    1) The passive monetizer does not generate enough organic traffic to convert into income (ads, affiliate programs, etc.)

    2) The “active” monetizer has not found a “paid traffic” model that generates a strong ROI (ex., ads aren’t cutting it).

    We’re getting beyond the scope of your question, but the solutions are obvious. This is just scratching how to start thinking…

    1) Did you overestimate the number of people who’d be interested in your niche? Is your content good enough to rank higher at Google?

    -OR-

    2) Are you missing alternate ways to sell your product? Could you be doing it better (Google Ads takes some time to do well). Spend some time looking for interesting new models or improving existing ones.

    Wherever you are failing, THAT is Priority #1.

    Sorry I have to cut that here, but rest assured that you are indeed a solopreneur. I suspect the technician in you needs a rest while you assess how and whether to proceed.

    Or start over. Don’t give up. Learn from past mistakes and get the critical upfront decisions correct. The rest all becomes much easier.

    Hope that helps?

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