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Recently, my wife quit her job and started her own coaching and consulting practice, Alexasia Coaching & Consulting, to help guide people on their personal liberation journey and realize a sense of freedom and truth. Like most solopreneurs, she is passionate about her purpose and wholly committed to being successful by doing what she loves. I’ve been so impressed by her ability to problem solve and multi-task on her own, but it’s also made me realize how challenging the solopreneur experience can be.
While all solopreneurs are entrepreneurs, all entrepreneurs are not solopreneurs. For example, while I was building Lumanu, I had a team of investors, advisors and employees to rely on, whereas my wife acts as CEO/CFO/CTO/CMO all wrapped into one package. I have engineers to help build our product, but my wife’s product is herself. Not only is she the founder and creator of her business, but she is also solely responsible for producing and delivering her services. Comparing her experience to mine has opened my eyes to just how many privileges I’ve experienced as a venture-backed founder.
Related: 4 Differences Between Solopreneurs and an Entrepreneur Working Alone
With more than 41 million American adults currently working as solopreneurs, many of whom participate in the creator economy, solopreneurs will continue to be a driving force of future economic success. Last year alone, YouTube paid out over $30 billion to solopreneur creators. And that’s just one company. But how can solopreneurs sustain this level of momentum?
1. Access tools tailored to their needs
One of my wife’s greatest assets is her time. But to make the most of her available time, she needs technology and tools to help her — and her business — thrive. One of her favorite tools is Kajabi, which she used to build her website and develop and sell online educational classes to target clients. Canva has been another indispensable resource, helping her design compelling content and materials from scratch — from e-books to graphics. A major benefit of tools like these is that solopreneurs can use them to fulfill multiple business needs, streamlining the number of apps and platforms they need to visit on a daily basis.
2. Ensure that personal and business finances are kept separate
My wife spent a great deal of time determining the best kind of business banking account to open. She had to weed through an endless number of ads, sponsored content and pay to play to get there, but she knew that the right financial set-up was critical for budgeting, expense tracking, invoicing and accurate financial reporting. In the end, she ended up using the Lumanu app to manage her invoicing, payments, finances and business banking.
3. Take care of your physical health
Getting healthcare coverage as a solopreneur can be extremely difficult. While new regulations are in place that purportedly make it easier, solopreneurs often only qualify for individual insurance, which limits the number of types of HMO plans to choose from. And if you miss the open enrollment period, you can go up to a year without coverage. One solopreneur I know even moved up her marriage timeline so she could get healthcare benefits!
Related: 12 Things That Are Awesome About Being a Solopreneur
As the creator economy continues to flourish, it will be important for companies in this space to provide health benefits for creators and solopreneurs alike. Platforms like Substack offer a health insurance stipend to writers who use the platform and make $5,000 per year. And I think as time goes on, we’ll see more companies extending this benefit to its customers.
4. Prioritize emotional wellbeing
The work life of most solopreneurs can be lonely and isolating. Inevitably, there are ups and downs of running any business, but for solopreneurs in particular, it’s critical to have resources to help manage the down times. Whether this means taking a class, starting a fitness routine or joining industry or professional groups, placing value on mental health is well worth the effort.
5. Build a community
One of the most important things solopreneurs can do is network, but this can be easier said than done. When I spend time networking, for example, I have an entire team to keep things moving, but the hour that a solopreneur spends networking is one they’re not spending working directly on the business. How can solopreneurs best balance the need to expand their communities while still moving the business forward?
The good news is that there are a variety of great professional networking platforms. In addition to LinkedIn, platforms like Discord and Reddit can help solopreneurs create stronger networks and engage with communities of like-minded individuals in a fun, non-judgemental environment. By networking in this way, solopreneurs can more easily access resources for business-building and even potential customers.
Related: Community Is the Best Company Culture
I’ve learned so much from watching my wife in action. Aside from the differences between our two journeys, the biggest thing I learned is that everyone has his or her own process for starting a business. Not everyone follows the same playbook or business planning process, and it’s important to respect whatever path you choose to take. Whether you choose the solo route or not, so long as you have passion and purpose, you have the power to make a positive impact on the world.