Due to automation and technology, anyone can set up an ultra-lean business with no employees and still generate one-million or more in revenue. It begins with a carefully selected idea reflecting a passion for something for which there is a market demand. Revenue growth comes from smart utilization of time, automation and technology, plus a willingness to outsource to leverage external resources. Add some persistence and a desire for continuous learning, and the opportunity is there for anyone who wants to take control of their time.
The tagline for the book says it all in a few words: “Make Great Money. Work the Way You Like. Have the Life You Want.” Building a million dollar business no longer requires a big staff and large amounts of physical space. Instead, solopreneurs take advantage of outsourcing, mobile technology and automation to build, operate and grow their businesses.
Elaine Pofeldt offers a guidebook to becoming a successful solopreneur. She uses numerous real life examples of people who have succeeded, like the mother of three in her fifties who sells bento box-style lunch-packing containers and a 32 year old man who sells eBooks on nutritional supplements.
There are many aspects to like about this book. They include the real world success stories and statistics backing up the claim that opportunities exist for everyone. However, what is especially appealing is that this is truly a guidebook based on reality and not business theory. For more on getting started, read the book Poke The Box.
It is not a traditional how-to book. The how-to advice is mostly presented though the true stories of successful solopreneurs. Pofeldt offers down-to-earth advice on what works and what does not work, how to find the right idea for a business and how to persist through the challenges. Her point is that you do not begin with an attitude that you will do anything to make money. Scott Belsky lead the writing of a book dedicated to this called: Make Your Mark.
Instead, the successful entrepreneur uncovers an idea that is enjoyable to think about every day. The idea is something you obsess about, no matter what it is – stock market investing, fashion, cooking, children, writing, etc. The idea is then backed up with market research to ensure it is a marketable idea. More on choosing the right idea read How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul.
The author spends considerable time explaining the five step process for starting and growing an ultra-lean business. The steps are to fund it, experiment and iterate, amplify what works, build predictability and put systems in place. Notice the steps incorporate the philosophy that successful solopreneurs continually learn as they discover what works best to scale revenues.
It is not a get-rich-quick guide. It is a guide for realizing a vision by making the best use of resources – time, automation, technology and outsourcing to independent contractors and businesses. It could be said this book is really about leveraging tools, systems and people or businesses to grow the solopreneurship. Something Tim Ferriss supports in his book The 4 Hour Workweek.
Of course, it is important for the business to connect with customers who are passionate about what they sell, and just as importantly, are willing to buy. This is sound advice for any business. For more on this read Big Dreams, Daily Joys.
In the example provided, a solopreneur took advantage of free digital tools like Facebook Audience Insights to identify the demographic profile of the targeted buyers. What makes the solopreneur’s business different from the conventional business is that the entrepreneur makes customer service the primary personally-managed day-to-day activity. This is highly supported in the book Creating Magic. Conventional businesses hand off customer service to low level staff.
A lot of information is provided in the book. Pofeldt identifies six categories of businesses that have proven to be the best opportunities for developing a one-person, million-dollar business. They are e-commerce, informational content creation, manufacturing, professional services/creative businesses, real estate and personal services. More on this is the book Ready Fire Aim.
She provides many stories of solopreneurs which is extremely helpful. The storytelling walks the readers through their thought processes for selecting an idea, scaling the business without hiring employees, learning to adapt and pivot as necessary and utilizing automation tools. This is not a magic formula for success. It is a nuts and bolts process with the potential for enormous success. The author also provides a section on Useful Resources for tools and hacks for automation which is very helpful. Another book with tools, systems, and ideas for automation is Built To Sell.
One of the resonating messages of the book is that work is rapidly changing due to technology. Conventional businesses continue to hold on to the model of daily in-office routines, meetings and reporting to a manager who controls the workload and career opportunities. Though remote work and flexible schedules are becoming more common, the employees are still subject to the control of their employer. This goes back to “Command & Control” vs “Cap & Trade” methodology discussed in great detail in the book Nudge.
There is always some degree of career limitation built into being an employee. The solopreneur answers to him or herself, finds work exciting and pursues growing a properly set up ultra-lean business to the point where it allows time to enjoy life.
It could be said this is a book that is both motivational and business practical. You do not have to have a goal of building a one-million dollar solo business to take advantage of the advice. It is a book for anyone who wants to build a solopreneurship of any size. You will be motivated to begin the process after reading The Million-Dollar One-Person Business and have the information needed to keep the process going. For more on this read billionaire Peter Thiel’s book Zero To One.