The “Urban Dictionary” defines “solopreneur” as…
- An entrepreneur who works alone, “solo,” running their business single-handedly. They might have contractors for hire, yet have full responsibility for the running of their business. The typical solopreneur is easily tempted to become a work-a-holic, not feeling their work is ever done! They do the administrative tasks, marketing, customer service and service delivery typically by themselves.
Recently, as I was putting some finishing touches on a marketing piece that I had been working on while at the same time working on completing some financial “back flips” between my two separate business checking accounts (don’t ask) and my corporate credit card only to be “interrupted” by a bit of unscheduled client work…this definition echoed in my brain.
Am I a “solopreneur” or a “solo entrepreneur???”
The difference between these two types of “-preneurs” is a subtle but important one. The “solopreneur” is generally happy being a “company of one” – preferring to own a job rather than to own a business. On the other hand, while the “solo entrepreneur” may currently be a “company of one” due to financial circumstances (read: She is not sitting on piles of “startup capital” that would allow her to hire all the employees that she would like), she is constantly keeping an eye out for the right opportunity and financial circumstances that will allow her to bring employees on-board.
There is no right or wrong to either of the “-preneur paths” outlined above…only what’s right for YOU!
That said, it occurred to me that there might be a relatively simple set of questions that could be asked to help you know REALLY whether you’re a “solopreneur” or a “solo entrepreneur.” Those questions are…
- True or false: You prefer spending your time making existing customers happy rather than trying to find new customers.
- True or false: You prefer to keep all of the “secret sauce” of your business locked up in your brain rather than documenting your work (under the assumption that, someday, others might need to follow in your footsteps).
- True or false: You really DO believe that given enough time and/or money that you can do just about anything better than anyone else.
- True or false: You prefer producing over delegating and managing.
- True or false: You spend more time INSIDE your business rather than OUTSIDE your business. (This is a purposefully nebulous question…go with the answer from your gut.)
The questions above are by no means scientific or comprehensive but I think if you’re honest with yourself in answering them, then they will tell you where you sit on the “solopreneur” vs “solo entrepreneur” spectrum.
If you answered more than three of these questions “true,” then you are a “solopreneur”…for now at least. This may change as time passes, though.
Indeed, when I started my very first business in 2000 (a now defunct company that I called “Refractive Design” which is also a testament to my love of spectrographs that endures to this day – “redshift” is another spectrographic term) I would have unequivocally answered ALL of these questions as “true.” Today, I would answer four out of five of these questions as “false” since I really DO believe that given enough time and/or money that I CAN do just about anything better than anyone else! (This is also the reason, I suspect, why I’ve always been a great worker but a horrible employee…but I’ll save that topic for another day.)
Bottom line: Know thyself. If you’re a “solopreneur” at heart, then embrace this fact but remember to find yourself a new customer every now and then so that your “company of one” can remain successful. If, on the other hand, you’re a “solo entrepreneur,” then figure out how to hone your leadership and communication skills as these will be critical in hiring great employees and achieving your vision of success.
When Danny is NOT busy “trying to understand the complexities of ‘Hubble’s Law’”, he’s also leading a technology consulting company. Hit him on Twitter or Facebook.