Allen Walton is a self-described “high school failure” who worked a minimum wage job at a camera store. With no startup capital, he managed to go from making barely $12 an hour to making over a staggering seven figures a year. Walton started with nothing more than an idea, and some elbow grease to get his online spy camera store off the ground. Without a formal degree, and with only the basics in hand, Walton seemed like he was not going to account too much, but he knew something; something so obvious that it was almost always comically ignored: Walton knew that his target market had a specific need.
Walton worked hard on building the infrastructure to fulfill that need. Today, he’s one of the many solopreneur success stories you could easily Google online to get some inspiration, which proves that one does not necessarily succeed with a business degree or a ton of cash to break into a lucrative market.
The good news? The market is only becoming more lucrative as time passes. In fact, more markets and niches have been created by the change in consumer needs and behavior brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The surge of new markets opens up limitless possibilities for entrepreneurs everywhere.
According to CNBC, in 2020 alone, 4.1 million businesses were established in the US. By 2021, remote working has become such a norm that businesses have been able to operate with employees from all around the world, allowing many of these businesses to expand their reach and offer their services to many other areas of the world.
If you’re looking to get some traction in the self-employed space, this is the perfect time to start. With modern technology making it possible to work from virtually anywhere – and an unprecedented global market reach, the potential for growth has never been bigger.
However, it’s definitely a good idea to know what you’re getting into. Before you venture into this brave new world, let this guide give you a lay of the land.
What does “Solopreneurship” mean, exactly, and what’s so great about it?
As the name implies, a solopreneur is an entrepreneur that handles a business on their own. It’s basically an independent one-person business. A 2018 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals there are about 21 million solopreneurs in the United States alone. Given the reasons we’ve already talked about, it’s no longer shocking to find that there are so many of these businesses out there, many that are run by just one person!
With the advent of Internet marketing and a hyperconnected global economy, you’ll spend less time finding your ideal customers – and the right people to help you. Online tools, services, and platforms offer you a broader yet more focused consumer reach.
Popular Internet sites like Facebook, Instagram, and even Google have fine-tuned advertising tools that pinpoint the exact demographic you’re looking for. Whether you are searching for people with certain hobbies, personal interests, age, gender, or other nuanced criteria, these tools allow you to find the people who actually want your product or service.
How do I run a one-person show without breaking the bank?
While the growth potential for solo ventures is promising, just like any business, it’s not without its risks. With cost-effective, well-planned strategies, you can minimize the risk of going bankrupt.
Here are some key things to look into and implement to avoid a negative cash flow situation:
● Use the power of freebies: Marketing experts like Rachel Pederson, a sought-after business coach for solopreneurs, understands the importance of offering value upfront. Rachel believes that freebies such as workbooks, downloadable PDF guides, and audiovisual content are all great marketing tools to warm up to potential customers.
● Follow up with quality content: After giving away a freebie, make sure there’s more where that came from in the form of an article, blog post, social media post, or supplementary guides. Giving them more quality information will lead them to sign up for your product and service, which makes for a cost-effective marketing method.
● Leverage Social Media: If you want your brand to reach a 21st-century audience, there’s no way around social media. The good news is that you don’t need to shell out a ton of money to get some engagement going. Social Media is a worthy investment if you know how to create content that your target market consumes on a daily basis. Facebook and Instagram are great places to start, but in 2022, even Tiktok is quickly becoming one of the top platforms for lead generation. Depending on your target demographic, you’ll want to fine-tune your message and put it out on the appropriate platform.
As you gain traction later on, you can move on to paid advertising on various social media channels. In the meantime, though, you can stick to promoting yourself for free. Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite are automated third-party tools that you can also look into if you’re strapped for time posting on social media. While they’re mostly paid services, investing a little bit of money could translate into more time growing your business in the long run.
● Build great relationships: This is the crux of effective solopreneur marketing. You need to build relationships with customers on a human level. Your customers are not just profit. They’re humans. As a (mostly) one-person show, your audience knows (and even expects) you not to be 100% polished, but to still have it together. You don’t need a ton of cash to hit that sweet spot of being a reliable but relatable authority – it’s just a matter of how you present yourself to them. Authentic wins in the solopreneur realm, and your customers need to know that they can come to you with not just concerns, but amazing ideas that can help drive the direction of your business moving forward. Leverage authentic relationships, as they will not only give you a quick buck, but the loyalty it inspires will be your foundation for growth.
● Reach out: Successful businesses don’t happen in a vacuum. It’s vital that you also sign up for professional organizations and other interest-based groups that share your passion for entrepreneurship. Expanding your network is a must if you want to establish your presence as an authority. It also helps to build credibility, which will help you build a solid client base that know they can trust you.
While being a solopreneur certainly has a unique set of challenges, the benefits can make it worthwhile. With some planning, marketing research in your chosen niche, and a little due diligence, you can have your proverbial cake and eat it, too. The solopreneur market is booming as it is, and there’s a piece of the pie waiting for anyone brave enough to give it a go.