You’ve probably heard of an “entrepreneur” many times, but what about a “solopreneur”? While they are often confused, these two terms have some notable differences. While, every solopreneur is an entrepreneur, not every entrepreneur is a solopreneur. Now if that confuses you even more, keep reading.
Understanding the difference between a solopreneur and entrepreneur is hugely important when you are first starting out. With nearly 5.4 million entrepreneurs registering businesses in 2021, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of us out there. In fact, 60% of new entrepreneurs used lockdown to learn about starting and running their own business. This has created some tough competition and that is why you need to know what it is you want to do and how you want to do it.
OK, so what is a solopreneur, I hear you ask. Essentially, solopreneurs are people who set up and run a business all by themselves. On the other hand, entrepreneurs usually want to grow a company and hire an entire team to drive success. If you are just starting out, you will want to decide which category you fall into quite early on. Defining yourself as an entrepreneur or a solopreneur will make your journey a whole lot clearer. Understanding what it all means for you and your business is essential to getting your feet on the ground. So let’s break it down.
Solopreneurs run a one person show
A solopreneur is often a self employed individual working alone. Examples of solopreneurs include graphic designers, content writers, photographers, personal trainers, the list goes on. They are entirely self efficient and do not need to hire or outsource tasks. Entrepreneurs, however, typically rely on teams to undertake specific roles including marketing and customer service. A solopreneur will take these tasks on all by themselves. They need a lot of drive, passion and self control in order to steer clear of procrastination and other distractions. Entrepreneurs require excellent interpersonal skills in order to support and empower their teams.
Entrepreneurs need investors, solopreneurs don’t
Hiring teams and renting office space all requires cash, and, for entrepreneurs, you need quite a bit of it. Because of growth requirements, entrepreneurs often need funding to move to the next level while solopreneurs typically work with the resources they already have. Instead of running an office, a solopreneur might work from home or on a beach somewhere. You’ll find that solopreneurs often have two or more jobs and work as a freelancer or contractor in a role that they enjoy. Entrepreneurs usually have a business idea and they depend on investors to make it happen.
Entrepreneurs plan ahead, solopreneurs learn on the go
Entrepreneurs will often start with a business plan focused on growth and achieving maximum customers and conversions. Solopreneurs take a far different approach and often do not have a defined strategy. This means that they learn and adapt as they grow. They’ll collaborate with clients and use feedback to learn and improve. When you’re working alone, this kind of approach can work really well. It enables you to make mistakes with very little consequences meaning that you can allow yourself to be more creative and enjoy the journey.
Entrepreneurs can typically scale faster, and grow larger than solopreneurs
Now, if you’re looking to make a lot of growth, this is probably an important one. Because entrepreneurs build their own teams and delegate a lot of tasks, they are also able to expand faster and larger. As solopreneurs take on all the tasks alone, they cannot realistically get as much done in a day. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it is worth noting before you get started.
But solopreneurs often don’t have the desire to scale like an entrepreneur
Another big difference between the two is that entrepreneurs want to scale up their business quickly, often with an exit plan to sell in the millions. They think big and why not? Solopreneurs may not have the desire to scale up the enterprise and are not waiting for a buyout. They are simply doing something they enjoy at their own pace, with time and location freedom in mind.
The amount of time invested
As you can probably tell by now, entrepreneurs dedicate a huge amount of time to their business. It’s a full time job and often involves long days and nights, especially at the start. Solopreneurs are a little different. They may already have other jobs and start their business as a side hustle. Their workload may grow in time or they may just keep it as a side hustle because that’s what they want to do. Solopreneurs often work on a freelance basis in between their primary income. They still spend a lot of time developing and promoting their work but their end goals are very different to that of an entrepreneur.
So which are you?
As you can see, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs both offer fantastic opportunities. Entrepreneurs are dedicated to building a business from the bottom up whereas solopreneurs may already be working in their field of choice and just want to go it alone. They may want the ability to work at a time that suits them with flexible hours to fit around their lifestyle. Entrepreneurs are a different ball game. They want success and they want it quick. They need an entire team of people to grow and expand their business and they want a large client base.
When it comes to being an entrepreneur or solopreneur, there really is no right or wrong. They both offer creative freedom and the chance to show people what you are really made of. If you are considering setting up your own business, it’s important to go with something that feels right. Understanding the key differences between a solopreneur and an entrepreneur is a great first step.