New one-person business owners are having babies.
Every day a one-person business owner gives birth (thanks to their example) to another person who migrates from the old economy to the new one that exists on the internet without borders or passports.
I am one of those people. I own a one-person business with one employee: me. My accountant forced me to take a wage and set up a retirement fund, which is kind of funny.
I quit being an employee for an employer … to be an employee of ME INC.
When I pay my own salary, record my own leave in the system, make appointments with myself, and hit send on the monthly payment to my 401K, it makes me laugh. In a normal job this is all done for you.
In a one-person business-job you do what you never used to do. This is how you learn. Running a business is better than an MBA. And you only start by doing everything yourself. That all changes later though.
Top one-person business owners are defined as making 7 figures or more a year. I’m in that category. So are many people in my inner circle.
Here’s what we’ve learned to quit to be successful.
Never spending money on the business
Failed one-person business owners are tight arses.
My friend Dakota makes more than $50,000 from his business most months. Recently he says he lost $20,000 in a split second.
A friend helped him with the business for free. He felt compelled to help them in return so he joined their $25,000 mentorship. What he got was $500 in value. The help was no better than an unqualified dude on the $5 marketplace Fiverr.
He was pissed and had a big cry (the big baby).
He asked his friend for a refund. It turned into World War 3. F-bombs got dropped. People’s mothers were mentioned. Samurai swords came out of the cupboard. The friend decided to keep $20K and give back $5K.
A few people on the X app laughed at him. “Silly boy. When will he learn?” I didn’t laugh at him though. No. He sent an email talking about what he had learned. Losing that $20K is how he discovered not to have his emails written by someone else, and to rethink how he built systems.
This is what online education looks like. Seriously.
It can’t all be gotten from a $29 course. You have to make real mistakes and have friends stab you in the back with a samurai sword they stole from your wardrobe while knocking over your mother on the way out.
And the best bit is these mistakes make for the greatest stories. Stories are the lifeblood of any one-person business. They show current and prospective customers that you’re not a bedroom hero and have lived life.
Because the secret to any business is to be interesting, and you have to live an interesting life and do stuff to become interesting.
Make money. Spend money. Lose money. Learn.
Caring about people stealing ideas
Some one-person business owners think they’re geniuses.
They found a way to bill people’s credit cards using Stripe and now they want a World War 2 medal for the discovery. It’s sad.
Business ideas are all the same. Even content ideas don’t vary that much. We’re all doing and saying the same sh*t. Pretending you invented some concept you stole out of an Alex Hormozi book is silly.
Humility is what builds online empires. Stop being original and start borrowing ideas from anywhere and remixing them.
New, fancy business models
AI, crypto, and NFTs made wannabes lose their minds.
They started creating all these complicated business models. As a Lambo crypto bro, even I got confused.
The businesses that make money do the same old boring stuff they’ve always done. You charge for entry or for a product. It doesn’t need to be complicated.
Even selling a book you market through tweet threads can make you 6-figures if you’re half awake. Trade fancy for simple. Go where the market is saturated and just make something 1% better. That’s what I did.
Choosing platforms that are dictatorships
Many one-person business owners rely on tech platforms.
One of the worst is Amazon. When they launched their marketplace all these Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) businesses came out of nowhere.
I saw 13 year olds flexing Rolex’s that were older than they were on Instaglam. It hurt my eyes. I needed a glass of tequila to recover.
Over the years Amazon has screwed these one-person businesses in the butt. Because the first rule of business is to avoid being a pawn on someone else’s chessboard.
I don’t trust any tech platform 100%.
And you shouldn’t either. Don’t be a business virgin that’s so damn happy-go-lucky. These tech platforms are there to make money and squeeze you as they get older and their investors need a return on the 0% profitability they’ve been delivering since IPO.
A red flag is when they start changing the rules a lot and the way they pay. That’s a sign the nice days are over. And if they tell you how to run your one-person business, then flee the country and get the hell outta there.
The ideal scenario is you own your website, blog, merchant account, and email list. If you don’t then as my friend Gavin says, “You’re someone else’s b*tch” (pardon his French).
Content hamster wheels
Content is the lifeblood of any one-person business.
You need eyeballs on your stuff to have a chance at selling anything. No white horse from Camelot is going to ride in with a nice audience of millionaires with gold chains and Ferraris.
So you’ll likely need to write or post videos online.
The challenge is this can become a hamster wheel. The fastest way this happens is by selling this content for money. In the information age disrupted by AI, the cost of info is going to $0.
That means you end up creating content for less and less money in a more competitive market. The goal is to give away content for free and use it as a magnet for opportunities.
Then monetize on the back end however you damn well please, amigo.
Wherever you post content will eventually change. They’ll one day reduce your organic reach or ding you for saying something they don’t like. The goal is to have a successful newsletter so you won’t have to care.
The way to get off the content hamster wheel is to have multiple places to publish. When one goes down you simply double down on another.
Now you’re free. No more hamster wheel for you.
Selling time is how you may start, but it’s not how you should operate forever. Time-based assets like coaching require you to keep showing up.
Trust me, as a former coach, freelancer, consultant … it gets exhausting. It starts to feel like another job with a boss whipping your butt. Except this time the client is making the demands and threatening your payday.
Eventually you want to create digital assets that still make money when you’re away for a day.
Courses, books, software, movies — are all good examples. Or you can break the one-person business rule and hire a team. Or you can buy financial assets that earn money when you’re business doesn’t.
Either way, don’t sell your time forever.
Lukewarm businesses go nowhere.
You don’t need to be passionate, find your calling, become interested, or have the law of attraction bless your beautiful life. What it takes to succeed in this game is an obsession.
An idea or a topic that you can’t stop thinking about. It’s the one common trait I see among all the top 1% creators I spend time with. When they talk about their business it’s like they’re giving the Martin Luther “I Have A Dream” speech.
Find obsession. Chase it down the rabbit hole. Never come back.
Working all the time
Those who build a 6-figure one-person business work too hard.
They go around in circles riding their treadmill all the way to hell. An online business needs creativity to grow.
Creativity comes when the mind is off work. The longer you’re off the greater the creativity explosion is when you return to work.
For that reason I’m about to take a long break with the family. We’re off to the beach to forget about work and spend time in nature.
As the waves splash over my hairy, unshaven feet, and my daughter speaks baby talk to complete strangers at the top of her lungs while building sandcastles, my mind will relax. My online goals will get paused.
And like always, when I return home I’ll have some business breakthrough I never thought I’d have and be grateful for the time off.
Overworking halts creativity.
Doing all the work themselves
“You said ‘one-person business owner,’ didn’t you? Is this a scam? I want my money back for this article, pal!”
You can cheat on a label.
The greatest secret of one-person business owners is they all have freelancers to help with the work. Most of us need no more than 1–2 VAs. But none of us truly work solo forever.
We hire in web developers, consultants, marketing gurus, email course experts, sales funnel wizards, notion productivity hackers, coders, and automation salvation freelancers.
We never do all the work ourselves. We make enough money to bring onboard just-in-time people. Not employees. Just people for specific tasks that augment our core skills.
No one is a Jack-of-all-trades. You can just hire in a trade and fire them when they’re done. This is the way. Shhh…don’t tell anyone I told you.
The point of a one-person business is to access personal freedom.