The Secret Ingredient To A Successful Solo Startup

It All Comes Down to You

Every year, some six million Americans decide to start a business, either full-time or part-time. That’s 15,000 businesses a day, or about 11 every minute. To start a business you need guts, grit, and determination, not to mention a great product or idea, but that is not enough, not nearly enough because the unfortunate fact is: Many businesses fail.

And that begs the question: Why do so few businesses succeed?

Starting your own business will definitely require you to make sacrifices, but there are ways to help ensure your success.

If an entrepreneur has a great idea, a solid plan, and a passion for his or her product, then success seems all but guaranteed, right? Well, it takes more than passion to produce results, and in the end, if you are self-employed, then the single most important factor in the success of your business is… you!

Love What You Do

So you want to quit your job and build a business of your own? Great! Now the only question is, what exactly will you do? Plenty of people would love to ditch their cubicles, but until you fall in love with a business idea, it may be better to bide your time and store up resources. It is easy to become infatuated with a concept or a product, but your business will be your baby and you need to be prepared to nurture and support it, not for months, but hopefully, years.

Starting your own business will require you to make sacrifices. Your pay will almost certainly decrease at the start. Solopreneurs work around the clock—in fact, working from home usually means that your home becomes an office, and in no time you may find yourself putting a printer in the kitchen—so you need to be prepared to have less time for yourself and your family.

It isn’t easy being the boss. You need to be flexible and firm at the same time, guiding your business while remaining open to new possibilities. Many small businesses sink because they fail to adapt or evolve to new circumstances. As a solopreneur, you will be working mostly without the benefit of conflicting ideas and the dialogue that naturally occurs in an office; that means you’ll need to rely on your instincts and your sense of purpose. On the other hand, working alone means you can adapt almost instantly when you see a unique opportunity arise.

You have to have good judgment.

Take a Long Look in the Mirror

The most successful solopreneurs are self-confident and self-aware. In order to run a business by yourself you have to know your goals, your resources, and your limitations. As your business grows, you will need to build relationships with contractors, consultants, and possibly partners, and if you aware of your strengths and weaknesses, then you will be able to build a much more effective support network.

Trust Your Customers

Let’s say that you are in love with your idea, and you connect with a small group of customers who feel almost as passionate about it as you do. The problem? The rest of the world does not; they really couldn’t care less. And in that case, what do you do when your little contingent of loyal enthusiasts isn’t large enough to support a successful business?

You need to listen to customer feedback and be willing to rethink your product or your service to fit the needs of the market, that’s what.

When you’re self-employed, your customers become de facto colleagues; they help guide your business, and without them, you’re a goner. So the secret again is – You. You need to be wiling to take into consideration every comment and critique; this way you will be building a following as you build a foundation for your business.

So in the end, you will know if you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur if you are passionate about your idea, trust your gut, have a great plan, are willing to work hard, and are willing to adapt.

You are the secret ingredient – not your product and not your plan. You need to be both the visionary and the worker bee, the great boss and the great employee.

Be that, do that, and your chances of success are much higher.


  1. This is an excellent post.

    At the beginning, even when surrounded by others, an entrepreneur can be in a self perpetuating vacuum. Customers are the ones that create success or cause a business to bomb. They are the  “management consultants” you really need if you listen carefully and intuit between the lines. Internal customers (the ones that work with and for the business) and external customers (the ones that become interested in what you have to sell) are your greatest asset and sources for directional and actionable decisions that propel towards success.

    You ability to know yourself, how to implement your best personal and professional assets and delegate to others what they do best is also key.

    Last, the ability to be in it for what is usually a lot longer road to success than one ever dreams is a critical need. Without it, your business will definitely fail.