I hate it because I was an entrepreneur and failed miserably. As soon as I hear any word ending in “preneur” I have an instant emotional response.
The solopreneur label is nothing to be afraid of. It’s not that different to the employee label. The difference is you get to charge more money and your income can be cut off if you don’t deliver results.
As an employee, you can make lots of mistakes but it’s harder to get fired. There are millions of employees all over the world that barely deliver any results. They still get paid and they’re smiling.
They think they won the game. What they don’t understand is they’re getting paid a lot less than they’re worth.
Less money means more time spent working. Working hard at a job you don’t really love is the definition of prison.
Solopreneurship is one way to break free.
We all know someone who works for themselves and is happier
As a 20 year old it used to piss me off.
I knew several people who worked for themselves and started work whenever they wanted. They did fewer meetings than most and got paid well. So they worked less hours and took more holidays with their families.
It upset me. I was jealous.
At one point my mentor Joel said “you can either be jealous or start talking to them to figure out how they live this life.”
It was a punch in the face. It hurt. But he was right. What’s the point of being a hater? Our only limitation is ourselves. There’s nothing hard about solopreneurship. It just takes an open mind to learn.
Let me give you a few pointers now that I’m a successful solopreneur.
The solopreneur path is harder because the calling is higher
Solopreneurship transcends the idea of work.
Work is something you have to do. If you don’t do it the mortgage doesn’t get paid and the bank takes your house. That leaves you out on your ass.
But solopreneurship has a much higher calling. You’re solving a real problem with your work that you give an F about. The pleasure isn’t just the money but the fact you get to derive meaning from the outcome.
The best solo business stems from an obsession or a deep-rooted pain in the ass problem that has become a tragedy in one’s life.
For example, I run an online business because traditional 6-figure college education — that I didn’t get — pisses me off. That chip on my shoulder makes me work every day to rectify the injustice.
Solopreneurship is hard but the fulfillment is higher.
“Most of the world hasn’t realized you can press buttons on your laptop in your underwear and make 10x more than people with degrees.”
We’re living through one of the greatest times in history.
Most work can be done remotely or via a laptop. Gone are the commutes or the disputes over picking kids up from daycare.
You used to need a degree to get a good job. Now all you need is obsession, work ethic, and a self-learning flywheel … and you can make 6–7 figures online. This is the permissionless economy.
What matters is the social proof, the network you build, and the quality of work you do. Whether some dinosaur institution rubber-stamped your piece of worthless paper called a degree is irrelevant.
I used to work in finance. Not once did anyone ask me if I had a finance degree or care to know my exam scores.
“Can you make this bank money?”
“Congrats, you got the job pal.”
That’s literally how every job interview went. Prestige and titles are being chucked in the trash can. Proof of work and results are the new degree.
What a time to be alive. What an opportunity.
The old world taught us this nasty lesson we need to unlearn
Many people don’t try solopreneurship because they think they don’t have enough experience doing it. It upsets me.
You don’t need more experience. You need more experiments — Zach Pogrob
Experience is often one year of basic work repeated over and over for 20 years and labeled “career experience.”
What you want to focus on is investing in yourself by taking a series of small bets. Some of the those experiments will work. Others will light your home on fire and burn it to the ground. Good.
I’ve had some absolute forest fires in my solopreneur journey. From losing $1.2M in 30 minutes, to hiring the wrong people, to opening an email from a scam Nigerian prince … I’ve done it all.
Failures and rejections make for the best stories. They are where the real learning happens. The way you de-risk the solopreneur journey is by doing it after hours so the disaster doesn’t lead to bankruptcy.
With enough after hours experiments comes skill. That skill will make you 6 or even 7 figures online if you let it.
“Don’t minimize costs — maximize revenues”
Employees are taught to minimize costs. High school teaches us to lower expenses and be thrifty with money.
This mindset will murder your financial future while you sleep. Solopreneurship is the exact opposite. Your focus is on how to make more money, not save 30 cents on a Notion software subscription.
The more money you invest in your solopreneur journey the more likely you are to figure out what works. Soon as you find a pot of money online, the objective is to double down.
If there’s $100 or even $1000 in one part of the internet, chances are there are hundreds or even millions of dollars more.
Focus on how to make more money.
Do it today
People love the idea of how solopreneurship can lead them to freedom.
The problem is they commit to starting tomorrow. Then 20,0000 tomorrows happen and they’re dead. They never get to do it. It’s a damn shame.
There’s no reason you can’t start a one-person business online. There are literally zero barriers to entry. I wish more people tried and failed than romanticized this lifestyle and got horny over it.
Freedom exists. You just need a vehicle to make enough money to be comfortable so you can increase your personal profitability.
Employers rent your time at a massive discount
Employers pay us less than we are worth. They then take the gap in cash and add it to their annual profits.
This isn’t a conspiracy. It’s just capitalism.
Solopreneurship lets you cut out the middleman. Once that little rent seeker is gone you can bill for your value to clients.
Direct relationships always make more money than ones where you are two steps removed from the person with the cash paying for the work.
Accept the profit situation. Migrate towards higher personal profit.
Let it waste years of your life (and smile)
Solopreneurship avoidance happens because most people are smart and realize it takes years.
But the average person doesn’t want to wait years. That’s too hard. They want it now. They can have Uber Eats now. They have a full season of their favorite Netflix show now.
Why should they wait for freedom?
The traditional job model takes 4 years to get a degree and at least 10 years to climb the corporate ladder to nowhere. That’s no easier. Like, it’s actually worse because there are no guarantees.
One of life’s hardest decisions is giving up the sure thing for the best thing — Alex Hormozi
At least with solopreneurship if you stick at it for 2–3 years there’s a high chance you’ll figure it out. And if you surround yourself with other wannabe solopreneurs it’s almost impossible not to win the game.
That’s what Youtuber Mr Beast did. He got around other solopreneurs and aggressively took action. The collective obsession sent him and his friends into a new dimension of online success.
Solopreneur Dan Koe recently shared his earnings (rounded):
2023: $2,500,000 (projected)
If you do solopreneurship for longer than a year the results are spectacular.
The false perception that ruins solopreneur dreams
I’ve tried to coach many people to become solopreneurs.
One of the biggest objections I’ve come across is the idea that one wrong decision will ruin a person’s life. What’s often forgotten is that one right decision can transform your life too.
Unless you lead with optimism, pessimism will always hold you back.
Drop the what-ifs. Nothing is as permanent or destructive as you might think. One wrong decision in an online business rarely blows up your dreams and forces them to never be recovered.
The path to freedom looks a lot different than you think
Most people think solopreneurship is like this:
- Start side hustle
- Get customer
- Grow to 1M email subscribers in a year
- Quit job
- Never work again
For me it went like this:
- Start before I was ready
- Have no idea
- Try to start a WordPress blog. Fail.
- Work in a call center
- Try again
- Lose a bunch of money
- 4 days a week at job
- Get fired
- New job
- 4 days a week at job
- Build up savings
- Go solo
- Live each day thinking I could go back to a job
The path isn’t linear. It’s full of unpredictability. But that’s what makes it fun and it’s something you’ll look back on and go WOW.
Hard work pays peanuts
Employees are taught to work hard.
Clock-in and clock-out times are crucial. Being online on Slack late at night is seen as hero status. What solopreneurship taught me is hard work is for chumps. It has little to do with financial freedom.
You get paid based on how much value you create. You find the value through experiments and collecting data.
My one-person business surveys customers at least twice a week. The results scream where the value can be found. Then all I have to do is double down on that.
Practical solopreneur ideas you can try tonight
No more talking. It’s time for me to help you get started on solopreneurship with some ideas.
- Teach people the same skills from your 9–5 job
- Sell a similar product to what your employer sells
- Look at your google search history. What’s a common thing you research a lot?
- What do friends and family say you’re good at?
- What are you obsessed with?
- Who was the last person to pay you outside of your job?
- What’s something you pay for that you love?
- What products/services would you gladly recommend?
Inside each of these ideas are some seeds that you can plant and use as the backbone of your solopreneurship journey.
We all know solopreneurship creates more freedom in the long run. It’s time to get yours and give it a go after hours.