Uncertainty begets possibility. If you’ve been dreaming of starting your own business, now might just be the right time. After all, the ability to set your own hours and define your own workspace is extremely appealing, now more than ever. Moreover, the market is changing rapidly. Companies that start now can build an infrastructure that supports social distancing and virtual services from the start.
There are many ways to run a business, but one style you should consider is solopreneurship. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Here’s a look at some of what defines a solopreneur, plus some tips for getting started.
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WHAT IS A SOLOPRENEUR?
Simply put, a solopreneur is someone who intends to be the beginning and end of their company’s hierarchy. Rather than hiring traditional employees, solopreneurs wear all of the company’s hats, while occasionally outsourcing work to contractors on a temporary basis. This is the perfect fit for someone who wants total control over every aspect of their business (including, of course, the profits).
However, this isn’t a good fit for every person or every business model. If you know you’d get overwhelmed by managing every aspect of a business, you should plan to hire staff rather than go it alone. You’re also inherently limited in solopreneurship to the amount of workload you can handle alone, so you’ll effectively cap your potential profits. Take all the pros and cons into consideration before you dive in.
HOW DO I HANDLE TAXES?
Whenever you work for yourself, you have to keep track of and pay your own taxes. This can be a big adjustment for someone who has always worked for a large company that does this for them. A good rule of thumb is to set 30% of your profits away in a savings account so you’re not caught off guard come tax time. You can also look into setting up an LLC – although the rules vary by state, this designation can help simplify your tax process.
WHAT TOOLS WILL I NEED?
Organization is a solopreneur’s best friend. As a result, any tools that work to help you keep your tasks, goals and projects on track will be a major helper. If you work best with paper and pen, look into planners designed specifically for business owners. Use these to keep track of deadlines, appointments, and to-dos, as well as to track and evaluate your goals.
Next, set yourself up for success with a reliable computer, a headset, webcam, and, of course, a comfortable desk and chair. These are the foundational tools of your office that you won’t be able to live without. Also, make sure you’re connected to powerful and dependable internet service. 5G internet is now available in Denver and is up to 25 times faster than 4G networks. As time goes on, you’ll have a better sense of what else you may need to ensure your work makes a difference and is productive.
You can also look into task management software, if you’d prefer something digital. There are a ton of great programs out there you can use to make sure you’re staying on track. Look for digital planners that can sync between several devices. This way, you’ll always have your to-do list with you, making it easier to stay aware of what you’re doing now and what’s coming next.
Finally, consider hiring a virtual personal assistant on a contract basis. Even if you only need their help during particularly busy times, an extra hand can substantially simplify your workload. Freeing up some of your time means you have the energy and mental headspace to push your business forward.
SHOULD I WORK IN AN OFFICE?
Just because you’re a solopreneur doesn’t mean you should be totally isolated from other like-minded professionals. Opting to run your business from a shared office space, like Enterprise Coworking, has all kinds of wonderful benefits for solo business owners. From a cost standpoint, it’s one of the best ways to work, since you have access to free internet, copying and printing services, and even coffee and tea. Coworking spaces also offer free opportunities to network (without having to pay expensive membership fees for networking organizations). Not only is connecting with other professionals a great way to learn about your market, you may even build relationships that bring you business. With all of these perks, working from home or at a local coffee shop simply doesn’t compare to coworking!
WHAT IF I WANT TO EXPAND DOWN THE ROAD?
There’s nothing wrong with changing your plans down the road. It’s perfectly conceivable that you might start off thinking you can manage things all on your own, then realize you really need another person. It’s also fine to manage just well by yourself, but eventually decide you’d like to expand.
However, the transition from solopreneurship to a traditional business hierarchy can be challenging. Before you start hiring, reflect on your experience going solo. Take some time to think about what you’ve valued most about the experience, and see if you can bring that forward into the new structure.
Running a business on your own is a major challenge, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Take a closer look at solopreneurship to see if it’s right for you. If so, your great idea is just waiting for you to start!
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