Here at Noodle, we are in the business of empowering solopreneurs. There are 33.2 million small businesses in the United States of America, and a large percentage of them are independent workers. That means they play an integral role in the U.S.' economy, but going at it alone, as solopreneurs do, can be overwhelming and bring on challenges.
Read on to learn what it takes to start a business on your own and the key differences between solopreneurs and entrepreneurs.
What Is a Solopreneur?
Solopreneurs start, manage and run their businesses on their own. As a one-person operation, these business owners do not hire workers, so they do not have a marketing, sales, customers service or administrative team. Instead, all of these roles fall on their shoulders.
Characteristics of Solopreneurship
Here are a few characteristics common of this type of business model:
A Team of One
Solopreneurs do not have a team of people to help them reach their goals. Instead, they handle every aspect of the business, from customer service to marketing, alone. This also means they have the ability to make business decisions on their own.
While solopreneurs can work on big projects as freelancers, as a one-person team, it is difficult to launch and run big initiatives. Oftentimes, solopreneurs do not have a physical location and run their businesses primarily online.
As the sole person driving your business, you have a lot of flexibility. You decide what projects to take on, what hours to set and how you complete your work.
Solopreneur vs. Entrepreneur: Key Differences
While solopreneurs and entrepreneurs are both business owners who can understand the challenges that come with building something from scratch, there are a few distinct differences between the two:
Solopreneurs do not necessarily need to acquire a business license. They may operate as a sole proprietorship. They can also open a limited liability company (LLC). Entrepreneurs will apply for a business license, which can give them more protection as it distinguishes them as a separate entity from their business.
As a solopreneur, you are your sole employee. You might work with clients, but you do not hire a team. As an entrepreneur, you will likely hire part-time or full-time employees to help you carry out your vision. An entrepreneur's business can range from one with just a couple of people to one with thousands.
While the goal for both is to make money, solopreneurs may have smaller, more focused goals. For example, achieving work-life balance while making a good wage. An entrepreneur's goal might be more grand in scale, such as growing a business that goes global in a few years.
There is less financial risk if you start a business as a solopreneur. Since you aren't paying money for staffing, you have one less hurdle to jump through. And there are few one-person businesses that you don't even need to seek funding to start. For example, if you want to offer your social media services to a company, you may not need to spend any money to launch your business. As an entrepreneur, you may need to invest more money at the beginning or worry about paying back a loan — though this depends on what area of business you pursue.
12 Solopreneur Business Ideas
If you are ready to embark on a solopreneur journey, here are a few business ideas:
1. Graphic designer
As a graphic designer you can work for marketing agencies or marketing departments for different companies to help them tell their stories through a visual medium. Learn more about what it takes to become a graphic designer.
2. Dog Walker
A dog walker regularly exercises and takes dogs out for potty breaks when pet owners cannot.
3. Yoga Instructor
A yoga instructor can work with clients in-person or even sell video courses online.
4. Freelance Writer
A freelance writer can work with one or several clients to create content, such as journalistic articles or SEO articles. Alternatively, a freelance writer can launch a content website and monetize it.
A tutor supports students through their educational journey.
6. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant provides digital assistance to a CEO, executive or other professional. Tasks could include managing inboxes and scheduling appointments.
7. Online Clothing Shop Owner
You can launch your own clothing website and sell products online via different platforms. You can sell vintage clothing items that you curate or even pieces that you have made.
8. Social Media Manager
If you're particularly adept at creating compelling and engaging content on social media, you can offer to manage the accounts of different companies.
9. Pet Sitter
As a pet sitter, you take care of pets when their owners are out of town or otherwise unavailable.
10. Floral designer
A floral designer creates beautiful flower arrangements for different occasions.
A photographer takes pictures of events, like weddings or graduations, or can provide their services to marketing companies or magazines.
12. Event Planner
An event planner helps individuals plan parties by handling the logistics, including location, catering and seating arrangements.
How to Find Success as a Solopreneur: Tips
Here are a few tips that can help you become a successful solopreneur:
Automate as Much as You Can
While you are the only person on your team, you can use tools that automate certain parts of your business, such as scheduling appointments, collecting customer feedback and sending invoices. (Fun fact: Noodle can handle all of these tasks for you.)
It's hard to run a business on your own without extreme organization. For example, if you have several clients, you want to make sure you don't get them mixed up. Your Noodle dashboard displays all pertinent information in one convenient location, so you can keep everything — from transactions to service details — organized.
Track Business Expenses
This is incredibly important when tax time rolls around. You want to be able to clearly mark what is a business expense. One way to do this is to set up a separate business bank account, so you can avoid commingling funds.
Find a Support System
Whether this is through other solopreneurs or a dedicated mentor, having a support system can help you when you face difficult situations or need advice.
Is a freelancer a solopreneur?
A freelancer, who is a person who runs their own business and offers their services to different companies, is a type of solopreneur. But being a solopreneur doesn't necessarily mean you are a freelancer. Solopreneur is the more expansive category and can include someone who sells their pottery creations online to a consultant for a business.
What do solopreneurs most struggle with?
This depends on the person and their skill set. But a solopreneur may struggle with getting new clients, time management and having no help.
What are the benefits of running a business as a solopreneur?
Solopreneurs have a lot of flexibility. They can choose how to set up their business, who they work with and how they structure their days. They don't have to answer to anyone else and can potentially reach a better work-life balance than others.
Being a solopreneur means you wear a lot of hats, but you don’t have to do it alone. Start a free Noodle account today and grow your business with the help of our AI tools.