Are Solopreneurs the Future in the New Normal?

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I read an interesting article by Jan Norman in the OC Register today on Solopreneurs. Yes, I get the OC Register and the LA Times delivered. I read the article after I scanned the New York Times and the Globe and Mail on my iPad.

Now I have written about How to Create a Job by starting a Consulting Career in the past, but there were a number of items in Jan Norman’s article that resonated with me. I was not really familiar with the term solopreneur. Guess I should read more. There are almost 17 million Solopreneurs in the country. That’s half the population of Canada. The army of Americans working independently grew by nearly one million in 2011.  That is not surprising when the unemployment rate in California is 10.7%.

The solopreneurs straddle every age group and live everywhere. That seems to make sense.

Many Solopreneurs trekked out on their own because they got fed up with the bad bosses, the archaic workplace rules, the dysfunctional workplaces, and the false promises. I know a number of people that are stuck in the wheels of Metropolis. They work very long hours in a demanding workplace where the attitude can be if you don’t like it there is somebody in line to take your place. The New Modern Times. Some employers are stepping on toes in the New Employer Employee Dance. Being a solopreneur allows you to break the company yoke.

The burdens are high for a solopreneurs. They work very long hours, and over half of them worry about the lack of predictable income, the ability to retire and the absence of security. Many of these concerns sound pretty much like the same worries of the working class. I have always said that having to create a job for yourself every day is like being perpetually unemployed. It also makes you extremely grateful and close to the pulse of life. You notice different things. The people with signs at every shopping strip exit asking for work and food. The weary in people’s faces when the search has been too long. When somebody tells you to have a good weekend on a Friday it doesn’t feel the same as when you are employed because you will probably work on the weekend. The calendar moves differently for you.

What caught me in the end was that the majority of solopreneurs are happy. Over 70% were highly satisfied with their independent work style. I don’t think that employers at most companies would get those marks on their company’s employee satisfaction surveys.

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12 thoughts on “Are Solopreneurs the Future in the New Normal?

  1. I didn’t know the number of people who work for themselves was so high. I’m currently back in school, working part time in a well paying blue collar job, but still find myself seeking opportunities elsewhere. For example, I am working on writing an eBook.

    I think people who are looking to make an income for themselves is going to keep growing. The internet has a plethora of information, and allows many new opportunities for networking.

  2. I hope you enjoyed listening to Bobby McFerrin Hank and this article really summed up the life of a solopreneur. Long and scattered work hours, unpredictability but I’m undeniably happy and humble for being able to do what I love for a living. And it does make you aware that so many others do not have work or opportunities. Thanks for the article!

  3. Thank you Hank for bringing this article to my attention and adding more human aspects to the story. I too am surprised at how many “normal” looking people are holding signs up in the shopping centers in our communities. It saddens me. And scares me at the same time.

    At this stage of my career with 3 small children, I would rather work for a company with security , benefits and the social aspects then work for myself.

  4. No. Absolutely not.
    There has never been a successful business in the history of Earth, that survived with only one person in the company.
    Common sense is the simple answer to your question.


    Dave Phillipson, CP
    CEO Space – The Enterpreneur’s Best Friend™
    http://bit.ly/l4xEVB
    The World’s Largest, Oldest & Most
    Successful Organization for CEOs
    Entrepreneurs & Visionary Investors
    http://www.GlobalCEOspace.com
    Dave@GlobalCEOspace.com
    714-886-9CEO (9236)

    P.S.  Those that know me, understand that there’s not much that excites me more than helping a fellow entrepreneur grow their business!  I am passionate about sharing my resources, knowledge, and elite connections in order to build businesses cooperatively.

    I do this by receiving referrals from people like you.  Who do you know that is a business owner who wishes to grow with strength & velocity?

  5. I think it’s important to separate those “solopreneurs” who are in effect “employees without benefits” — i.e. freelancers working exclusively, or almost exclusively, for just one “client” but who would take a “real job” if offered — versus those who are committed to being in business for themselves and engaging in an active selling process to provide services to multiple clients. No criticism intended, just the observation that for the moment this arrangement favors companies who want to avoid extra health-care and other costs of actual employees, as well as the pain and costs of firing people if business fluctuates. But over time, I believe the lack of direct control over those resources combined with a lack of a commitment/plan for mentoring and growing their skills to improve the organization will impact companies to the point where the pendulum will swing back a little, maybe a lot, toward permanent employee status.

    Nothing wrong with freelance resources but not so sure that approach is “the future of the new normal.”

  6. There are a lot of baby boomers out there who have had some dramatic life event occur and decide to embark on a new chapter in life by becoming a solopreneur. Even though they bring vaste experience and knowledge with them they are often ill prepared for the journey of going it alone.

  7. Bambi Merz

    Continuing the cycle… Many solopreneurs grow to become successful entrepreneurs employing their own fleet of people… The difference is they do understand the value of people and of independence and can provide great harbors for those that aren’t cut from the self-employed cloth.

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