There are so many good reasons to start a business.
Maybe it’s to have personal and financial independence, and get rid of your corporate job.
Perhaps it’s the desire to create a lifestyle business.
Do something you’re passionate about.
Or the lure to travel and work from anywhere in the world.
Whichever it is, you know you want your business to be small, simple and agile, without employees, significant overheads, or financing arrangements — and generate a serious income.
Most people believe that small businesses barely make a livable salary. And to be successful, you must act like a big corporation. That’s not reality.
In her book, The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business: Make Great Money. Work the Way You Like. Have the Life You Want, Elaine Profeldt interviewed more than 30 one-person million dollar businesses and tells how they did it.
The One-Person Million-Dollar Business
A one-person business is defined as having no employees, except for the owner, who can be a partnership or joint venture.
And one-person doesn’t mean you fill all the roles, do all the necessary jobs, and work yourself to exhaustion. Quite the opposite. Many one-person businesses outsource, hire freelancers, or vendors to do the work you can’t or won’t do. Automation, software, and apps can go far to fulfill the more mundane tasks.
It’s Already a Reality
Profeldt did the research and found the numbers are growing, statistics show that every year the number of nonemployer businesses grow along with those that have revenue over a million dollars.
According to the US Census Bureau, there were almost 25 million nonemployer businesses in 2016, accounting for more than 76.2 percent of all businesses. In 2015, 35,584 nonemployer businesses earned between $1 million and $2.49 million in revenue in, which is a 33% increase from 2011.
How Does a Profitable One–Person Business Happen?
She found several traits are common among these companies. They automate as much as possible to free up their time; they use freelancers to do the work they’re not good at. They use outsourcing services, like fulfillment or invoicing firms. Social media is a big part of their marketing and engaging with customers. They use every tool to be efficient, lean, and not have to hire any permanent employees.
They are disciplined, focused, and self-motivated, and have a strategy to grow.
The businesses that get over six figures start to have a more strategic focus. The ones that get to a million are thinking very much like scalable entrepreneurs because they are scaling revenue and creating an opportunity for themselves to scale beyond if they want to. ~Elaine Profeldt
What Kind of Business Can Become a One-Person Million-Dollar Business?
Profeldt identified the best six categories of businesses to create a solo seven figure business.
- Informational content
- Professional services
- Personal services
- Real estate
Four things that were common to all of these entrepreneurs: they enjoyed what they did, embraced automation, technology, and outsourcing as much as made sense, stayed fluid and changed when something wasn’t working, and developed the mindset that runs their business to support the way they want to live.
Every one of them learned to free up their time so they could focus on more essentials aspects of their business.
Technology and Outsourcing – a Powerful Combination
Technology and outsourcing have opened the way for a one-person business to do more and grow without adding overheads. No need to have the expense of additional office space, employees, insurance, payroll, and benefits.
For instance, if you provide an ecommerce product you would outsource your supply chain or order fulfillment. Sell your products through one of the many online stores, as well as your own website. Manufacturers can use online marketplaces to find materials and fabricators or produce products through 3D printing. They can automate their shipping and invoicing process. Information creators can depend on freelancers, management software, social media ads, and internet retailers to help sell their digital products.
Professional and personal services use automation, outsourcing, virtual assistants, and independent contractors. They can use profit sharing arrangements or license other people to use their name and brand for a fee. Additionally, they put together a service or training packages to people who want to get in the business and shorten the learning curve. They can run webinars for a fee, or offer a membership plan.
Real estate owners can have a hands-off approach to running their properties by outsourcing the property management to a firm.
In short, if you create a team of people, vendors, and automation you can go beyond what you alone can do.
Someone to Provide Advice
Successful one-person businesses don’t get to a million dollars in revenue without a team helping them. The same is true for getting outside advice. Coaches, mentors, and mastermind groups are most often employed by entrepreneurs to help them make decisions, take action, get insights and support, and break through roadblocks when they feel stuck.
An article describing the benefits of coaches, mentors, and mastermind groups read The Best Way to Get Business Answers -—Seek the Right Advice.