I’m not usually a fan of made-up words.

I quite like ‘solopreneur’, though.

At first glance, it appears to be nothing more than the word ‘entrepreneur’ tweaked for the hipster generation. However, the official definition (according to Oxford Languages) is:

…a person who sets up and runs a business on their own.

That’s entirely different to the traditional entrepreneur. While some may indeed end up working by themselves, most have far greater visions of building teams around their big idea – even if that comes at a much later date.

Solopreneurs don’t have that ambition, but that doesn’t make them unambitious – quite the opposite, in fact. Solopreneurs want to work by themselves; they want to find financial freedom and build products, systems, and processes that help keep their personal lives intact.

I classify myself as a solopreneur. Although I contract out a couple of the areas within my business, I don’t have any desire to build a team I have to manage and deal with via PAYE and performance reviews. The idea absolutely horrifies me, to be honest.

If you have this mindset and you’re about to embark on your own solopreneurship journey, I have five pieces of advice that should help you build a profitable, satisfying, and addictive business.

1. Get on with it

This is a cliché but it’s absolutely true.

I waited far too long to start my own thing. This is hindsight which I’m fully aware is akin to 20/20 vision, but it’s a lesson I readily tell anyone who’s thinking about ‘jacking it all in’ and going solo.

There’s a caveat to this, which I’ll explain later, but there will never be a good time for you to branch out on your own and start your solopreneurship journey.

The mortgage. The impending arrival of your first child. The desire to move to a new house and, consequently, an even bigger mortgage to worry about. The recession. The march of AI content. Your mum’s belief that you should focus on the career you’ve already started.

They are all excuses, I’m afraid.

Get on with it.

2. Don’t obsess over the ‘competition’

As a solopreneur, you’ll have competition – whichever field into which you throw yourself.

Competitors are part and parcel of running a business, but that doesn’t mean you should obsess over them.

I did this for years in my old job. I spent more time worrying about how far behind the competition we were, rather than focusing on our own stuff. It made me unhappy, I felt inadequate as a result, and every day at work felt like a battle, rather than an exciting journey.

Do your competitor analysis and research. Create a SWOT analysis. Spend some time speaking to users of competing products. Do whatever’s required to discover your own path.

Then, well, you know what I’m going to say: get on with it.

3. Create your own world

One of the first things I’d encourage any solopreneur to do is create the following online presences:

  • a website (register your domain name and use a self-builder like WordPress to create a simple blog-based website – it’s easy);
  • social accounts (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and any others you feel might be relevant); and
  • a newsletter (ConvertKit, Substack – there are loads of options out there).

You don’t have to start posting to all of them immediately, but once you have those online presences, you have the foundations and building blocks you need to build your own world.

In particular, your website and newsletter are the two best opportunities you have to build audiences you own. Remember – the audience you build on LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube isn’t yours; you’re renting it from the platform in question and it can be taken away from you without a moment’s notice.

That isn’t the case with people who visit your website each day or those who are kind enough to give you their email addresses. Those direct audiences will become vital to your success in the future and will mean you really can class yourself as fully independent.

Please don’t skip this step.

4. Start publishing daily

I mentioned above that you don’t have to start publishing as soon as your business has a presence online, but it’s a good idea to build it into your daily workflow as soon as you feel able to.

This might start off as one tweet each week, or a couple of LinkedIn posts a month. You may even find the time to write a blog post each week, but whatever it is, the sooner you start publishing, the sooner you’ll begin to make tracks in the sand online.

Those tracks will feel insignificant, to begin with – like you’re simply shouting into the ether with no one but your mum and a couple of ex-colleagues watching. Trust me, though – in time, your hard work and consistency as an independent publisher will begin to compound and that’s when the magic really happens.

5. Go all-in – when you have a buffer

As noted earlier, I waited too long to go all-in with my solopreneurship. I regret that, but I don’t regret the time it gave me to build a serious financial buffer.

This tip won’t satisfy the impatient among you, but it’s the most important in this list. Without a financial buffer, you’ll be treading an incredibly dangerous path.

This is for two reasons – firstly, you’ll put far too much pressure on yourself. That might result in you burning out or cutting corners and making rash decisions which ultimately harm your business. Secondly, your idea may not work out. I genuinely hope it does, but, just like my business, there’s no telling how long it will last or even if you really are onto something.

With a financial buffer, you can pay yourself even when revenue vanishes, and you can realign your plans if everything fails while still keeping up those mortgage repayments.

There are exceptions to this rule. If you’re young and have only minor financial commitments, you probably can have a crack with only a few quid in the bank. Equally, if you’re lucky enough to have the financial support of someone else, fast-tracking your plans might work out brilliantly for both of you in the future.

For everyone else – wait until you can pay yourself for at least a year before going it alone.

Wrap up

The best decision I’ve ever made professionally is to become a solopreneur. I’m not scared or ashamed of that label, either – I wear it with pride every single day and can’t see myself ever switching into full-on entrepreneur mode.

This way of work isn’t for everyone, though. Therefore, my parting advice is to really think very carefully indeed before deciding on this as your professional journey. It takes more work than you probably realise (that was certainly the case for me) and it’s often a very lonely endeavour (again, the extent to which this is true took me by surprise).

I’m also aware that the tips above are definitely non-exhaustive. So, if any solopreneurs are reading this and have their own tips – get involved in the comments section below!

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