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Why We Need More Solopreneurs

need more solopreneurs

Why don’t more people start businesses for themselves? We’re experiencing a slight uptick in new entrepreneurship, but the share of new entrepreneurs per 100,000 U.S. adults is still 0.36 percent. If we separate solopreneurs from other entrepreneurs, the numbers are even more disappointing. The truth is, we need more solopreneurs in our society.

Having more solopreneurs is good not only for the individuals starting those independent businesses but also for the families, cities, and communities that surround those businesses. Why is this the case and what actionable steps can we take to support more solopreneurs in our culture?

The Personal Benefits of Solopreneurship

To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with working for someone else – especially if it helps you on your entrepreneurial journey. But the personal benefits of solopreneurship are hard to ignore.

  •       Independence. When you start your own business, and you’re not subject to the whims of an employer or the limitations of employees, you have total independence. You can think for yourself, act for yourself, set your own schedule, choose your own clients, and only do the work you think is valuable. For most people, this is both liberating and enlightening, allowing them to pursue more meaningful work and shed the shackles of conventional working relationships.
  •       Truly novel thinking and ideological diversity. Groupthink is a well-studied psychological phenomenon that manifests in most businesses over time. In fact, some businesses intentionally foster groupthink by enforcing company cultural standards and weeding out people who deviate from the norm. But as a solopreneur, groupthink can’t infect your mind or warp your decision-making, since there is no group that requires conformity. Instead, you’ll be on the path to truly novel thinking and ideological diversity.
  •       Practically unlimited income generation. Many solopreneurs get into the game because of the promise of practically unlimited income generation. Your salary isn’t based on an HR-approved ceiling; it’s based on how much work you do, how much demand you can generate, and how many quality relationships you can build.
  •       Confidence. Starting a business and watching it succeed is one of the biggest confidence boosters in the world. If you can find success in this area, you’ll feel better about yourself and your own life for decades to come.

The Value of Solopreneurs for Society

So what about the benefits of solopreneurs for society?

  •       New products and services. For starters, if we saw a million new solopreneurs enter the game, we’d also see a million new products and services. Some of those products and services would inevitably be irrelevant to you, but some of them would meaningfully change your life for the better. You certainly have a wider range of options at the stores you shop at most frequently.
  •       Innovations and advancements. With more people thinking independently and striving hard for their own success, we would inevitably see more innovations and advancements. Some people would produce new technologies, some people would operate in surprising ways that deviate from the norm, and some people would simply push the limits of productivity. No matter what, we’d see a massive influx of new innovations and ideas that all of us could use to better our businesses and personal lives.
  •       Job creation (eventually). Over the past 25 years, small businesses have generated more than 12.9 million net new jobs. This makes new and small businesses an economic powerhouse, especially on the local level. Early in the game, most solopreneurs will strive to remain totally independent. But as their business begins to grow, they’ll inevitably need to start hiring people. That means creating new jobs and providing more meaningful work to more people.
  •       Economic stimulation. Overall, the generation and sustenance of many new businesses result in economic stimulation, both on small and large scales. More people will be working, more people will be spending money, and there will be more interesting ways to participate in the economy.

What Can We Do to Support More Solopreneurs?

Now for the actionable takeaways.

What can we do to support more solopreneurs?

  •       Foster entrepreneurial mindsets. The most important thing we need to do is foster more entrepreneurial mindsets, and we can do this in many ways. We can teach entrepreneurship and business classes in schools. We can raise our children to start lemonade stands and appreciate the value of independent entrepreneurship. And we can mentor our peers and young talent to think critically and independently whenever possible. Once an entrepreneurial mindset is established, a person is far more likely to go into business for themselves.
  •       Build tolerance for failure. You need a thick skin as an entrepreneur – and you need it even more as a solopreneur. One of the biggest reasons why people delay starting a business is because they can’t stand the idea of failing. And if they do start a business, a single failure may be all it takes to discourage them from continuing. We need to collectively work to establish the idea that failure is never the end; instead, it’s a temporary setback and a lesson to learn on the journey to greater success.
  •       Support the solopreneurs you know. Go out of your way to support the solopreneurs you know. If you can buy a product from a small operation, rather than a megacorporation, do it. If you have the extra money to support a friend who just started a business, do it.
  •       Lead by example. Finally, consider leading by example. If you can proudly and accurately proclaim that you started a business by yourself and became successful in doing it, more people will follow in your footsteps. As someone who’s been working independently for the last seven years, I can attest to the value.

Final Thoughts

We can’t normalize solopreneurship overnight, nor can we expect a handful of conversations from a single person to result in a nationwide business cultural overhaul. But little steps do make a difference. And if we can gradually ratchet up the solopreneurship rate even slightly, our efforts will be worth it. Not only for the new entrepreneurs but for society and the economy at large as well.

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