The Solopreneur Career Guide

Didn’t want a 9 to 5 job. Now I work 24/7. This is the solopreneur’s epitaph.

Building and running a business solo is still a desirable path. It is also possible for anyone with an internet connection and the skills to make a product or sell a service.

But there is a lack of career guidance for this path.

So, in this article, you will learn:

  • the 5 step framework for building career as a solopreneur
  • what a solopreneur actually is (+ why you might want to be one)
  • useful tools, resources + solopreneur business ideas to explore

And this all exists because I saw this tweet last night:

And when I woke up, I was still thinking about it.

My stupid British-ness assumed this was a piss-take. Another Twitter-bro doing an inane hustle hustle hustle work 27 hours a day and you can be offensively rich like me Tweet. I have no time for that side of Twitter. Building a humble business is more my thing

But I was being an idiot writing off this tweet. Jacob had in fact provided the solopreneur framework in just 280 characters.

The solopreneur framework


WTF is a solopreneur?

A quick definition:

A solopreneur is someone who who sets up and runs a business on their own.

Some benefits of this path:

  • Decision making is faster and (sometimes) easy
  • You control your business strategy
  • No compromises
  • Only yourself to blame for failures
  • Work as hard as you want
  • Have the option to dial things down and enjoy your personal life
  • Freedom to control your schedule
  • Rapid pivots (if you want)
  • Quality control
  • Kill projects that aren’t working
  • Profits are 100% yours (unless you are married πŸ˜‰)
  • Hire who you want (or don’t)
  • All the learning opportunities!
  • Work from wherever you want
  • You make the final call

If you run a business on your own or want to, read on.

I’ve completely stolen Jacob’s framework here and I’m going to try and flesh it out. Or at least wrap my head around it and apply the principles to my business.

Let’s go:

Breaking down the solopreneur career guide framework

Solopreneur career guide according to Jacob:

Freelance > Content publishing > Digital products > Scale content > Software

DISCLAIMER: I am still figuring this out by trial and error. This is not gospel. I do not claim to have actionable knowledge in the areas below. Instead, I’ve tried to link to people who do know what they are talking about. This article is as much a thought experiment for me, as it is actionable business advice for you.

Let’s look at each in more detail:

1. High-volume service pitching to $5k/m.

GOAL: Work your way up to generating $5000 per month as a freelancer.

To do this you will need:

  • an internet connection
  • a skill people will pay you to do.
  • the ability to handle a few rejections and keep on pitching

What you don’t need:

  • a fancy website and business cards
  • answers to everything
  • to quit your full time job right away

NOTE: what you freelance in doesn’t really matter. Writer, web designer, no code specialist, SEO freelancer, automation expert etc. Whatever you have a skill in, pick that. Don’t have a skill that works online? Go get one. You can learn pretty much anything online (for free).

Resources for starting freelancing:

(I’m a freelance writer turned SEO, turned something in between, so apologies for these resources leaning into that!)

2. High-volume content publishing to $10k/m service income.

GOAL: build a content channel (blog, Twitter, YouTube etc) to drive leads to your freelance service.

To do this you will need:

  • a content channel you can work on (without hating it)
  • the ability to produce content that no one reads (initially).
  • consistency

Resources for building a content channel:

I’ve gone pretty blog and SEO heavy here because that’s my thing. I also think creating a blog and writing is the path of least resistance. If you have the skills for YouTube or another medium, go with that.

3. 1-2 digital products to $20k/m.

GOAL: build and sell some digital products

This one sounds the simplest, but is pretty difficult in practice.

Resources for building digital products:

4. Switch to high-quality, monthly content publishing with clear brand focus to $50k/m.

GOAL: scale the info-products by publishing content (via your channel of choice) + combine with freelancing

Scaling anything is all about systems and logistics. For this stage of your solopreneur, you want to increase your output

Resources for scaling content:

5. Launch a saas

GOAL: build software, make profit, live the passive income zero work life.

The ultimate; if it was easy, everyone would do it biz thing. Just remember:

Resources for building software:

Working out your own (solo) business path:

A while ago I created a simple framework planning template for finding your next business idea.

Basically, you filled in the following areas with a score (1 – 5) and you’ll nd up with a simple map of things you can do vs thing you can build a business around.

I’ve modified for this solopreneur career guide:

You can read the full instructions for filling out this sheet here.

The TLDR version:

  • Score yourself between 1 – 5 (1 = okay at it. 5 = pretty great.)
  • Add your skills/experience (what you know how to do right now)
  • What people want (aka people are asking for online )
  • What they are willing to pay for (that you can actually create)
  • When you’ve finished, you’ll have a basic score of the skills you have that match up with what people want and what they are paying for.

The goal of this sheet isn’t to magically create a profitable business for you.

It’s to get your thoughts down on paper (well spreadsheet) and to organise those thoughts into a rough action plan.

Grab a copy of the template here Solopreneur Career Guide // Idea Framework

More Solopreneur business ideas


That’s it.

A big thanks to Jacob for posting the tweet and kickstarting this lunacy thought experiment into solopreneurship. And a big thanks to all the resources I’ve linked to in this article. Go read and learn from them.

Now go away and build a profitable solo business.