Here’s why more and more of us are becoming ‘solopreneurs’

It has never been easier to start out in business on your own, says Louise Cairns.

Do you remember when starting your own business was the last option on the planet, the hardest, most impossible feat and considered by some the last-ditch attempt at carving a career? Well not any more. No longer are ‘generation solopreneur, freelancer, self-employed’ perceived as a non-promising career choice lacking reward. In fact totally the opposite; while young future entrepreneurial generations are fighting to get a chance with the UK’s latest incubators and accelerators, solopreneurs are grafting away, focusing on their own small business adventures and becoming experts in their industry.

The UK is very well established geographically as a hotbed for successful businesses and individuals. Being inspired by the likes of Alan Sugar, Duncan Bannatyne and Richard Branson is all too well known to the likes of most of the younger entrepreneurial generation.

Take for instance Caitlin Glover, one of the UK’s youngest solopreneur at 12 years old. She has developed a tool using virtual reality to help diagnose dyslexia. Caitlin went on to pitch her business idea Syper Education with the backing of Acorn Aspirations and entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow to help get her product to market, no doubt we will hear a lot more from Catlin and her business Syper Education; let Catlin be an inspiration to us all.

Starting out as a solopreneur

With the internet offering extensive resources on how to start your solopreneur career, gone are the days when huge cash outlays, or massive financial risks were commonplace. Getting a business off the ground in today’s entrepreneurial market is not as costly a task as it once used to be. Starting out in business can be straightforward if you know what you’re doing. Ready to learn the ‘The solopreneur art of not spending?’.

Tightening the business purse strings

Entrepreneurial traits are often perceived as an individual who is determined, tenacious and not afraid to take risks. Solopreneur traits are similar, and can be extended into creativity and passion for one’s chosen field. What a lot of entrepreneurs and solopreneurs lack is the ability to master their own business expenses. Estimating start-up costs can be daunting, especially if help or advice is not at hand and can often lead to less frugal financial considerations. Profits are all well and good, but if you can’t keep up with the bills then you might as well stop right now.

Bookkeeping skills

A lot of solopreneurs could do with a hand in sound financial business advice. The one bit we can offer is every solopreneur should have good bookkeeping skills to a certain degree. Whether they are self-taught or you enrol on a bookkeeping course. This is one skill you need to master.

Learn remotely at your own pace and enlist on a course taught by UK business finance professionals. Having your finger on the pulse when it comes to your business finances, totally avoids the mistakes made by many. If you can master your own books, then you setting yourself up for big things to come. Enrol in a bookkeeping course in London and make sure you get that AAT Qualification.

Regularly checking your finances

Being in control of your spending is vital, some expenses are necessary and some not. Knowing is the key. Whether you have already secured funding or looking to finance your own venture an accurate estimate of financial costs are necessary to reasonably predict expenditure and profit. We have put together a small list of vitals and non-vitals which apply to nearly all business niches.

Look to maximise your cash flow fast

Cash flow problems at the start of any venture can make or break even the best of ideas, or the most determined solopreneur. This where the skills of tightening the purse strings really come into play. The best cash flow advice we can offer is:

  • Keep outgoings to a minimum
  • Plan for late or extended waiting time for payments
  • Invoice Promptly, frequently and Push for Payment
  • Offer your clients multiple avenues for payment, PayPal, bank transfers
  • Do as much as you can at the start yourself
  • Focus on your business margins as well as profit
  • Negotiate payment terms and deposits upfront
  • Where you can cost effectively outsource do.
  • Effective and prompt credit control
  • Regularly predict your cash flow
  • Always stay enthusiastic for your work
  • Know your worth and always aim high

Having a good steady flow of the readies means you look towards taking advantage of various expansion and growth opportunities. ‘Cash is king’ after all!

Cost-effective accounting and bookkeeping suites

Traditional accounting suites such as Sage and QuickBooks still dominate the market and come at a significant cost. The best tried and tested newcomer Xero small business accounting and bookkeeping software gets the thumbs up for us, simple to use anyone can get to grips with this software and use on the go. One of the significant benefits is the fact that it’s all based in the cloud, straight forward to use, accessible 24-7 no matter where you are, invoice tracking is a breeze and it offers a real-time view of your business cash flow.

Helping solopreneurs to grow

Finding a mentor can be an integral part of growing your business. Finding a good fit and the right business mentor is key and that’s no easy feat. Look at your business niche carefully and find mentors you admire and reach out via email, social media any platform and facility whereby you can strike a conversation. Show them just how driven you are to succeed and build a business relationship. The key to remember is learn and grow from your mentor’s mistakes, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. They too were once in the same position as you, and will recognise that their expertise will offer you and your businesses a fantastic head start – having the right mentor can be a vital indicator of your businesses future success.

Solopreneur lifestyle

Becoming a solopreneur can be a fantastic way to carve a business lifestyle you will love and enjoy. Having a business, creating something from nothing can be extremely satisfying and rewarding. So many of us are realising that finding the right life and work balance can be a challenge, knowing that being self-accountable helps you to be mindful of your own values, business decisions and actions. Take ownership of your success, don’t focus on too many business niches, pick one and dedicate yourself whole heartedly. 2018 you could well see yourself up for nomination for a UK small business award, I you know someone who deserves a nomination for 2017 don’t forget to give them a vote, after all good business karma is the foundation for success.

Further reading on solopreneurs

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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