The pandemic has left many of us with more questions than answers. When will the coronavirus (or the vaccine) be so far in the past that they are no longer part of our daily discussion? When will supply issues created by COVID problems begin to cease, making it easier to find the products we want and need…preferably at an affordable price?
As a solopreneur, I also have questions about what this year will look like as a one-person business. I could certainly be wrong—it wouldn’t be the first time—but the way things are going, it really makes me think that this year might just be the year of the solopreneur.
The Great Resignation and Solopreneurship
On January 4, 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary. This summary reported that, as of November 2021, job openings have decreased by 6.6%. At the same time, while total separations have remained fairly steady, the quit rate increased to 3%. This suggests that ‘The Great Resignation,’ as it is now called, continues to be in full effect.
My question is: if job openings have decreased and quit rates have increased, what is everyone doing to stay afloat financially? If this is you and you have marketable skills that don’t require an entire team to execute, becoming a solopreneur is a great option.
How to Start Your Own One-Person Business in 2022
If you’ve already left your job or are about to make this move, there are certain actions that you can take to start building and growing a business in 2022. Taking these steps can help:
- Step 1: Create a Skills List. Make a list of all the skills you have that other people or companies may be willing to pay for. Maybe you’re good at building a strong social media following or you can paint interior rooms without so much as leaving one dribble on the floor. Write down every skill or talent that comes to mind, being as thorough as possible.
- Step 2: Pick Your Top Enjoyable Skills. Go through the list you’ve just created and pick out the top 1-3 things you would enjoy doing, even if you were doing them daily. Make a pro and con list for each. For instance, staying with the example of being a good interior painter, the pros might be that each job would be different and you would provide people greater levels of happiness by updating their home’s internal environment. The cons might be that you could have to deal with extremely picky customers or be required to work in not-so-clean homes that have unpleasant smells or pets that get in your way.
- Step 3: Select the Skill You Could Turn Into a Business. Based on your pros and cons list, choose one skill that you enjoy and could see yourself doing for a living. (You might even want to do a bit of research to see if that skill is desired in your area or the amount of competition you’d face.) Then close your eyes for a moment and envision yourself offering that service to others. Does that vision make you smile? If so, you’re on the right path. If not, or if it feels like it would be more headaches than it would be worth, go back over your list again and see if something else jumps out at you. Starting and growing a business is a big commitment and it’s easy to lose steam if your heart isn’t in it.
- Step 4: Write Out New Business Steps. Create a list of the steps you’d have to take to get your business off the ground. Consider any equipment or supplies that you’d have to purchase and their cost. Think also about whether you could work out of your home or if you’d have to purchase or lease some type of outside space. If you aren’t sure what you’d have to do, it might help to do a quick search online. Type in “how to start a business as” then add the service you want to provide. See what others in that industry recommend as far as the steps you’d need to take.
- Step 5: Know What You Need for Legal Compliance. Check your local and state laws to learn what you have to do to legally start and operate your business. For instance, some jurisdictions require that you file for an assumed name or get your DBA, which stands for ‘doing business as.’ Depending on the services you plan to offer, you might also have to secure some type of license or bonding. Agencies that can help you learn what you need include:
- Your Local Chamber of Commerce
- Your Local Small Business Association
- Your County Tax Collector (to see if you need a license)
- Your Department of State
- Any regulatory agency that oversees the skill or trade you plan to offer
- A local attorney who is well-versed in starting businesses
- Step 6: Get Your New Business Online. After you get your paperwork in order, the next step is to set up an online presence for your new solopreneurial venture. This is important as a BrightLocal survey found that 93% of consumers find local businesses by using the internet. Getting your business online includes setting up a website and creating a business profile on one or two social media platforms. Several do-it-yourself platforms walk you through building a website, or you can hire this service out. If you use social media yourself, start by creating a business profile on the ones you use. Once you get more comfortable with this, you can expand to other platforms—preferably the ones that your prospective clients use most.
- Step 7: Create a Marketing Plan. Now that you have one or two online sites you can send clients to, it’s time to decide how you’re going to market your business. You can run online ads, send out flyers to people in your area, and promote your business through word of mouth. If you can get one or two people to give you a try and you do a good job for them, ask them to spread the word with their family and friends, or to share their happiness with your service on the Nextdoor App. They can also leave you a review on Google or Yelp, giving you more credibility.
Admittedly, starting a new business is a lot of work. But it is also work that comes with a high level of reward. Taking these seven steps can help get you started, making 2022 the year that you became a solopreneur!