4 Steps to Get Started as a Solopreneur

started as a solepreneur

Solopreneurs now represent one-third of the American workforce, according to MBO Partners’ latest State of Independence in America report. The number of Americans who work as freelancers, full-time consultants or gig workers has now reached 41 million, passing a threshold previously not expected to be reached until 2019. Desire for independence, layoffs and wage stagnation in the traditional economy are all factors fueling the rise of independent workers.

After millions of trailblazers have already become solopreneurs, the path to becoming an independent business owner is clearly marked for those who want to follow in their footsteps. Here are four steps to take if you want to get started on a career as a solopreneur.

Write a Business Plan

The foundation of business success is a solid business plan. In order to write a business plan, you’ll first need to do some market research to establish that there’s a viable market for your product or service and to strategize how you plan to compete with market rivals. Market research involves steps such as measuring the size and profit potential of your market, understanding the demographic of your target customer and analyzing your competitors. You can gather market research from existing resources such as Google’s Marketers Almanac, Pew Research Center, Nielsen or American Fact Finder’s database of U.S. Census data. You can also conduct original market research using tools such as interviews, surveys and focus groups.

Market research forms the basis of a business plan. Your business plan maps out how you plan to start and run your company during its first few years of operation. It outlines your analysis of your market, your company’s organizational structure, your product and service lines, your marketing and sales strategy, and your financing strategy. The Small Business Association’s website provides a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan.

Find Financing

One important purpose of writing a business plan is to estimate your projected revenue and expenses for your first few years of operation. This enables you to determine how much funding you’ll need to run your business.
Most small business owners finance their start-up phase by using their own savings or credit or by borrowing money from family and friends. Other financing sources include business credit cards, business loans, investors and crowdfunding. SCORE provides links to financing resources, and can also put you in touch with an experienced business mentor who can help you develop your financing plan and find financing sources.

File Your Business Paperwork

In order to get your business started, you’ll need to perform some tasks that involve filling out some necessary paperwork. You will need to decide what type of business structure you want to use, choose a business name, register your business with federal and state agencies and apply for any necessary licenses and permits. You’ll also need to set up your accounting system.

As part of this process, you’ll need to register your business with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS website’s Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center provides an online guide to walk you through this and other steps in setting up your business.

Set up Your Tech Infrastructure

After choosing your business name, you’ll want to buy a domain and set up hosting for your company’s website. This task is part of setting up your company’s tech infrastructure. Other important elements of your tech infrastructure include your company’s computer equipment, social media profiles, server and the apps you’ll use to run your operations, such as accounting apps, productivity apps, and sales and marketing apps.

One of the most important pieces of computer equipment for running your business is your mobile phone. High-end smartphones such as the iPhone 7 Plus can serve as a mobile base for running your business by providing you with a large screen for viewing messages and apps, 3D touch to make it easier to interact with your apps, 4K video to record marketing videos and hold video conferences, and security features such as Touch ID to protect your company’s sensitive data.

As a startup, you’ll probably find it most cost-efficient to rely on a cloud infrastructure service for storage and website hosting. PCMag provides an online guide to today’s best infrastructure-as-a-service solutions, which include Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace and IBM Bluemix (formerly SoftLayer).

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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