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While every solopreneur and entrepreneur is unique, solopreneurs differ from entrepreneurs because they bear the pressures and challenges of building a business alone.
What is a Solopreneur?
The definition of a solopreneur is generally someone who:
- Works completely alone.
- Is the sole manager (is in charge of himself or herself on a daily basis).
- Is working on a solopreneur business to support themselves and maybe their family.
Solopreneurs usually work from home, in cafés or public/shared office spaces.
Solopreneur business ideas commonly include web designers, e-commerce website owners, full time bloggers or online publishers, marketers, online coaches or independent consultants. Other popular solopreneur ideas include domain name sellers, freelance writers, online network marketers, eco-friendly product resellers, affiliate site or referral site owners, iPhone and Android app developers, graphic designers, etc.
However, if you are a solopreneur, maybe you don’t intend to keep it that way…
Perhaps you are actively seeking a co-founder or other team members and want to eventually grow the business beyond solopreneurship, hire employees, grow rapidly and maybe even raise venture capital.
Or maybe you want to build a permanent “flywheel” lifestyle business. You do not want to grow your business if it would require you to change your lifestyle in an unreasonable way.
For instance, you may place a significant importance on being able to be at home so you can see your family every day. Or you may live far enough away from major urban centers where a multiple hours long daily commute would be a nightmare.
Either way, as a solopreneur, your business has unique risks.
Why Solopreneurs Fail
The #1 reason that small businesses and startups fail is because they run out of money. This can happen for many reasons, including over spending, not properly managing cash flow and being hit with unforeseen expenses.
More often, solopreneurs fail because of personal struggles.
The nature of solopreneurship means that you spend your time alone, and have no one to delegate to except yourself. You are your team’s strongest and weakest link.
As the founder, you are both the greatest asset your business has, and simultaneously its greatest liability.
When you are stuck negotiating with yourself on every decision, you will suffer from a lack perspective. Perspective is absolutely necessary in prioritization, which will determine how well you execute. The impact of every decision will fall on your shoulders alone.
Solopreneurs can also fail because of external issues, though.
For instance, e-commerce solopreneurs who overly rely on search engine optimization (SEO) around generic keywords may find themselves overly exposed to an “Act of Google”.
An Act of Google is akin to the term “Act of God” which appears in insurance contracts referring to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
In the e-commerce and digital marketing world, an Act of Google is almost the same thing in that an algorithm change may spell disaster for your business if you are too reliant on a keyword or overly narrow digital marketing strategy.
Your business could also be a victim of a cyber crime, such as ransomware, malware, or be on the receiving end of an unforeseen lawsuit.
Regardless, unlike being an entrepreneur, as a solopreneur… It’s all on you.