When starting a company, the common idea is to have a partner or multiple co-founders. The reason for this is so that you can tap into each other’s strengths and make up for each other’s weaknesses.
However, solo entrepreneurship – which is different from single proprietorship – is becoming a trend, especially in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 76 percent of small businesses in the country were owned and operated by just one person in 2016. And another recent study by Wharton University and New York University found that these solopreneurships are still doing great today.
The 2018 paper pitted solopreneurs against team-founded businesses the researchers found on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Using public records and a survey, which a total of 7,788 respondents completed, they found that companies ran by one individual were two times more likely to survive than the ones with two or more owners. The main reason, according to the researchers, is that there’s no friction at all when it comes to making decisions.
Keep this in mind when considering becoming a solopreneur. If you want to take a bold step to advance your business, you can get it done in a snap. Working with a team or partner requires you to propose your big idea to them first. Not everyone will be open to the idea. It may lead to conflict and arguments, which may delay the growth of your company.
Regarding dealing with weaknesses and the lack of expertise on some aspects of the business, the study found that though some solopreneurs struggled with managing their business at the start, they eventually caught up with partnerships and corporations.
An Inc. magazine article about the study added that operating costs could be lower for solopreneurs, as they didn’t have to worry about the salary, office space, and phone service of their partners or employees.
Plenty of Room for Growth
The Small Business Authority’s 2018 report said that an average no-employee business makes about $47,000 annually. If this amount seems low to you, don’t fret! There is plenty of room for growth in a solopreneurship. More than 30,000 solo businesses in 2013 raked in seven figures, based on U.S. Census statistics published in a Forbes article.
Two of the biggest online marketplaces in the country, Amazon and eBay, began as solo businesses. If Jeff Bezos and Pierre Omidyar made it, you can, too. It’s time to shed the fear of starting your own business and take the first step in your entrepreneur journey. Here are suggestions for the aspiring solopreneur.
Pick a Feasible Business
If you’re not sure about the kind of business you want to start, choose the one that’s easy to run and finance alone, but allows room for expansion. One way to do this is to specialize. If you worked in marketing communications before, consider running a mini agency that focuses on one service. For example, if you’re running a mini-agency and focusing on SEO, contact a reputable source for SEO Outsourcing that allows you to maximize your time, while maintaining a minimum multiplier of 3x to cover overheads, maintain cash-flow and profit.
If you have experience in website development, offer affordable web dev or search engine optimization services to small and medium enterprises. For those in the food business, try meal planning or personal chef services, and identify niche products, like vegan or gluten-free food. This way, you can narrow your tasks without closing doors on other opportunities in your field.
Outsource Your Processes
If you want to expand your business, but haven’t found the right employees yet, you may want to outsource some of your processes. You may be a master multitasker, but dealing with day-to-day or administrative activities makes you less productive as a business manager.
A surefire way to make outsourcing work without you going over your budget is to identify your weak points and let others handle it. For example, if marketing or advertising online isn’t your forte, consider partnering with a digital marketing and online reputation management company. Another way to use outsourcing to your advantage is to subcontract repetitive tasks. Do you need to set up multiple websites for your growing clients? Then outsource web design. Are you having trouble keeping up with your deliverables and clients? You may hire a virtual assistant who can track inventory, schedule meetings, send emails, and more.
If you’re not sure how to balance your business’ finances, outsource your bookkeeping. Some sites offer certified public accountants and C-level executives who are on-call 24/7. Owners who are overwhelmed by calls from customers can hire a customer support provider to help them out.
Outsourcing allows you to hire professionals without the effort, cost, and risk of hiring in-house staff. With outsourced companies doing your everyday responsibilities, you can jump into your most vital task — running your core business.
Apart from outsourcing, automation can take care of your everyday processes. Automation, according to Technopedia, is using computing technology to do routine tasks. An example of this is supplementing your outsourced customer service representatives with AI chatbots on your site. These smart answering machines can read and understand customers’ questions and answer them with pre-programmed responses.
You and your outsourced support team will receive fewer calls for simple questions like prices, delivery terms, and product features. Instead, you can have your phone system route calls to you for questions and concerns that need creativity and problem-solving skills to resolve.
If you’re running an e-commerce business, you can use a remarketing tool such as AdRoll, Facebook Ads or Google Display Network to remind customers that they left items in their shopping carts. According to Business Insider Intelligence, about 64 percent of abandoned merchandise can be recovered into purchases with the right remarketing strategy. Depending on your automation platform, you can also recommend items from your shop that are similar to products your customers purchased recently.
Apart from making your life as a solopreneur easier, automation takes away human error from your business processes. However, they don’t apply to every task. You don’t want your customers to grow impatient over automated responses when they call you for specific problems. Also, while some AI writing tools can create articles and reports for you, your customers and investors might appreciate the human touch in your content.
When you are your boss, you have the freedom to mold your business to your vision. You also get to enjoy most of the profit. This is especially sweet if you managed to expand the company to a multimillion-dollar empire.
Remember, the path to a seven-figure revenue won’t be easy, especially if you have to travel it alone most of the time. Thankfully, you can streamline your goals – and responsibilities – by specializing. And you can make your operations efficient and affordable by outsourcing and automating some of your tasks. Whether you do end up hiring employees someday or continue running things on your own, you can proudly say that your success is self-made.