Legendary singer Bob Dylan put it best with his song way back in 1963; the times they are surely changing. New technology is paving the way for disruptions in the business world. The disruptions are not just impacting business practices; they are impacting the future of work as well. Such changes are giving rise to a new breed of entrepreneur, the solopreneur.
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Startups and lean businesses are quickly becoming the new kid on the block. More and more investment dollars are being poured into early-stage businesses that are tech-oriented, into digitization, and focused on innovation. This is fertile soil for solopreneurship among a new generation of business professionals.
Rise Of The Solopreneur
A solopreneur is an entrepreneur who is not looking to build a fleet of employees or a conventional company. Through their connected network(s) they might be part of a virtual ecosystem (of freelancers, coaches, consultants etc.) that builds human resource capacity as projects develop.
For example, a consultant who is specialized in digital marketing for banks may contract with a financial institution, hiring only any additional colleagues as needed for a specific project. When work/projects come their way they employ people who are savvy with respect to key digital niches like (SEO, SEM, Content, Creative etc.), but do not take on or manage long-term employees.
A solopreneur realizes that hiring a fleet of employees under them is not very scalable in a project-based environment.
What The Numbers Say
According to recent stats, there will soon be around 27million self-employed professionals in the US alone. That is a staggering number and one that seems to be growing quickly. The increase of uncertainty in the job market and the fear of disruption prompt many to reinvent the way they work. In fact, they reinvent themselves.
Entrepreneur-minded people believe that they are better off working for themselves. A solopreneur model allows professionals to better manage the workflow and their financial goals. This sort of independence, while attractive, comes at a price. That price can be very high if you are not aware of your surroundings
Understand Your Environment
First, a solopreneur (or anyone else) needs to be aware of the market in which they are trained and skilled. Before starting a new venture, you must assess the potential of the larger market.
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For example, a business coach’s experience is primarily focused on working with insurance firms. He had worked in the industry and knew the ins and outs enough to build a solid reputation. He must ask himself if his current environment provides him with ample opportunity to build a sustainable practice. Then, is the market able to support expansion?
With respect to his region, insurance was the slowest growing industry (not a major contributor to the GDP). So, after some analysis, he was able to position himself as a business coach across both the financial and insurance sectors. Because of his analysis, he was prepared to further develop his niche and expand into other relevant verticals as well.
Understanding your market environment can make the difference for success.
Marketing Your Solopreneur Services
In order for a business coach such as the one mentioned above to be successful, the solopreneur must get more coaching clients. In smaller networks, positive reviews and word of mouth referrals can work wonders for your business. Direct marketing and offering free consultations also set you apart from the crowd.
Understand The Technology Out There
The next few years are likely to welcome new technology. Countless people fail at their key consultant areas because they don’t anticipate the next wave of automation. When this happens, the solopreneur can find that their consulting niche has ceased to exist.
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Solopreneurs must establish a smart work ethic. For example, solorpreneurs must make a habit of watching for new technology that impacts their area of expertise. Work with clients using scheduling tools and automate as much of your non-core process as possible. This will help you scale much faster.
In the world of solopreneurship (coaching/mentoring/consulting), the right set of skills can set you apart from the pack. That is all it takes to be a success. Therefore, in this highly competitive and highly unpredictable world of business, you must work smart and hustle hard to get to the top.