The Entrepreneur, the Virtuoso, and the Solopreneur!

Let’s take a look at three people and the paths they take after starting a one person business.

Bonnie is an entrepreneur. She starts a one person business doing financial planning. She does well. She enjoys her work but finds that her real passion is for the business itself. Within two years, she has more business than she can handle. She hires another financial planner to handle the overflow. Her business continues to grow. Soon she hires another planner and then another. Now Bonnie is only working with a few of her favorite and most lucrative clients. The rest of the time, she is working on her business… managing, marketing, sales, planning. She opens a second office in a nearby town and hires managers for each office. Her business continues to expand. Bonnie loves that she has created a business that can stand on its own, has value, and provides jobs for others.

Howard is a virtuoso. He starts a one person business doing financial planning. He does well. He loves his work and the time he spends with his clients. Within two years, he has more business than he can handle. He quickly develops a reputation as the best financial planner in town. Howard finds that he resents the time he has to spend handling the administrative chores of his business because it takes him away from doing what he loves. Rather than expanding as Bonnie did, Howard decides to streamline his business. He creates a great support team for himself by handing off much of his administrative work to other professionals. Because of his reputation, Howard is in high demand. He can afford to raise his rates, reduce the number of hours he works, and become very selective in choosing clients. He does excellent work and his clients consider him a friend. Howard’s work provides him with immense satisfaction as well as a great income and lifestyle. He loves the sense of focus and mastery he is able to attain.

Vivian is a solopreneur.  She starts a one person business doing financial planning. She does well. She loves her work and the time she spends with clients. Within two years, she has more business than she can handle. Like Howard, she streamlines her business, puts in place a great support team, and makes sure she is well paid for her efforts. Vivian enjoys the flexibility and lifestyle her one person business provides. She has no desire to manage a bunch of employees. She doesn’t want the headaches or the responsibilities. Still, Vivian wants to have a broader impact with her work. She wants more variety, an even better income, and more freedom to take time off. Vivian begins to offer workshops. She finds that she loves developing courses. She licenses one of her most popular programs to other financial planners. Eventually, she develops a membership website where people can take courses at their own pace. Vivian still enjoys working personally with clients, but also loves that she can help many more people through her other programs. Vivian has enough income coming in from other sources that when she takes a two month bicycling trip in Europe, her business continues quite well without her.

These are rather idealized portraits to be sure. But let me ask you a question… Which portrait did you find most appealing?

How many of these statements resonate for you as a soloist? 

  • You are committed to doing work that is meaningful and important. You see your work as a mission or a calling.
  • Your business is an expression and extension of yourself. You identify yourself with your work rather than with being a businessperson.
  • You have no interest in building a larger business. You see management and administration as hassles and intrusions upon your work. Given the chance, you would farm out administration and support functions so that you have more time to focus on the work. You want to streamline and minimize the administration aspects of your business.
  • You feed on excellence and mastery. You want to keep learning and growing in your profession.
  • You long for a chance to excel, to stand out, to shine.
  • You are service oriented and highly ethical. You have a genuine desire to help others.
  • Financial comfort is important, but quality of life is more important.
  • You want to live life on your terms. You want to be able to fit your business around your lifestyle and your family needs.
  • You want to maintain a connection to the work. You prefer working with clients to managing your business.
  • You want to be your own boss. You have a strong desire to do business “your way”.
  • You value freedom, independence, simplicity, control, flexibility, autonomy.

I challenge you to build a thriving, satisfying, and prosperous one person business… on your terms!