4 Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Be a Solopreneur

One of the big crazes today is the lifestyle of the so-called solopreneur.  It's a life in which you spend all day in your home office or in a coffee shop working on client projects while sipping a latte.  Well that sounds good, but the reality is not all that it's cracked up to be.  Here are some reasons why.

Solopreneurs are workers

Most people who take the solopreneur route do so on the premise that they are their “own boss.”  On the contrary, the typical solopreneur work 8+ hours a day for a client.  Yes, all entrepreneurs have the client as the boss, but smart entrepreneurs aren't doing the work – they are moving the business forward.  Why would you want to leave a full-time job just to move into another full-time job (which usually takes more time than a corporate position).

Solopreneurs think small

Asia has made it possible for small business owners to become the CEO.  In the past, you needed to have a lot of capital (investment or otherwise) in order to build a business big enough to have a staff that could support daily operations – not anymore.

The majority of non-creative work can be done elsewhere.  Rather than thinking small and staying in the weeds, hire someone to do the daily work and start coming up with ways to build your business.

Solopreneurs shun valuable partnerships

Sometimes what you need to truly explode your business is to work with someone else.  Sometimes you don't have all of the answers or the skills necessary to deliver AMAZING value to your client.  In times like these you really need to consider either hiring someone who can do those things, or partner up with another business owner.

One web development client that I had was very particular about the way her site needed to look.  She was a designer and had a keen eye for anything that was visually appealing.  As much as my staff tried, they couldn't meet the style that she wanted and I couldn't give her the customer care that she required because I didn't speak “designer speak (I can barely draw stick figures).”  Eventually I partnered up with a designer friend of mine and not only did we do an amazing job for this client, we've been kicking butt on other client projects too.

Solopreneurs are hard for larger companies to hire

While mom and pop shops will generally trust someone who works on their own, larger companies feel as though they have a lot more to lose if they hire the wrong person.  This isn't true, of course, but large companies typically like to see a well established brand before they buy. In order for an individual to play in the big business game, they need to do some major branding.  The bigger your brand sounds, the more likely you will be hired.

Conclusion

Start thinking big.  Freelancing is great, but it's better and more lucrative to position yourself as a CEO.  Earn enough capital to hire a staff overseas, train them, and worry about the big things that are going to bring you more and more happy clients.  The more that you have the opportunity to dream up new ways of serving your client, the more your business will grow.

 

 

3 Comments

  • Michele Christensen

    May 25, 2011

    All good points, but I love being a solopreneur. I love doing the work of running my business and serving clients but don't like managing a team of people. I will add some help someday, but not for now. Part of being in business for yourself means you can make decisions based on what makes you happy and not just the bottom line.

    • Dean Soto

      May 25, 2011

      That's a good point. My business partner likes doing her own design work too. Ultimately, you have to do what I love. I don't like to code. I know how, but it's not fun for me. However, I do love to sell and meet new people/clients. Some to think of it, I probably wouldn't hire my own salesforce, at least not for the next few years, since it's so fun.

      However, ultimately it's all about scaling. Plus, the more you are able to delegate the more scure your business is in the long run. If it's dependent on you and you get incapacitated, so does your business.

  • Julia

    October 31, 2012

    Hi Dean, While I agree with much of your article, many of my clients are solopreneurs by choice based on other demands in their lives (i.e., parenting, another business they are running, or a FT job) and keep their work “manageable”. A solopreneur is sure to subcontract a copywriter, or a designer, and then eventually hire a VA, etc. and grow out of solo and into small business. Solopreneurship is one point along the entrepreneurial continuum. But a lot of people do stay one-on-one/service-based for many years, because they like the control of managing the client work-flow and the flexibility. Your points are valid; however, for an individual who wants something more…in other words, don’t stay a solopreneur forever if you have bigger plans!