May 6, 2023

How to Become a (Successful) Solopreneur

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Most aspiring business owners I know are busy planning instead of executing. They have elaborate ideas but rarely take action. When they do, it's often short-lived.

Don't be like them.

You can fantasize about building your empire, but dreams are just dreams until you take the first step.

Becoming a successful solopreneur requires you to do something today that will help your future self thrive.

In this article, I'll share the 10-step roadmap I’d take if I had to start over. I hope it helps clarify what it takes to become a successful solopreneur.

How to Become a Solopreneur

  1. Identify what you're good at
  2. Embrace an obsession
  3. Master something that blends your skills with your obsession
  4. Share what you learn in public
  5. Attract people interested in what you do
  6. Look for problems to solve
  7. Package the answers and solutions neatly
  8. Sell your packaged knowledge to the public
  9. Upsell to monthly recurring revenue
  10. Earn passive income and enjoy life

Step #1: Identify what you're good at

Becoming your own boss starts with figuring out your strengths. This could be writing, photography, cooking, or helping folks get in shape.

To get some potential solopreneur business ideas, ask yourself:

What would your friends and family say you're a "natural" at?

Is there something you feel you're gifted in?

Whatever comes to mind, jot it down.

Step #2: Embrace an obsession

Truly loving what you do is critical to building a successful one-person business. The game is long, and you don't want to get stuck doing things you dread.

So, take some time to think about what you enjoy and embrace an obsession.

What are your top three passions?

What's something you can talk about for an hour non-stop?

For me, it's building my own successful business so I can spend time with my family, do things that bring me joy, and live comfortably.

Step #3: Master something that blends your skills with your obsession

Once you identify what you're good at and what you're obsessed with, it's time to combine the two and work towards mastery in that field.

How you approach this is up to you, but I'll tell you this:

Self-teaching is the key to success for entrepreneurs.

Learning requires trial and error. If you're unsure about how you learn best, I suggest exploring a few ways to absorb knowledge: courses, podcasts, books — the list goes on.

I've found it helpful to study founders, business owners, and other solopreneurs who are where I want to be and reverse-engineer the daily steps to get there.

Step #4: Share what you learn in public

I was in my late-30s when I left my full-time job to pursue time freedom and uncapped earning potential.

But like everyone else new to the game, I didn't get into solopreneurship knowing everything.

I learned through publishing content daily on LinkedIn.

Some of my posts did well, others not so much. But that's part of the learning process, and people following my journey appreciated the candor because they could relate.

As I share my learnings, I've gotten feedback from my community and continue to hone my craft.

Step #5: Attract people interested in what you do

When you consistently share what you learn online, you'll naturally attract your tribe. But that doesn't mean everything you publish will be a hit.

Instead of letting the bombs discourage me, I doubled down on what resonated with people. I continued to create more content about those things.

Over time, I got attention from people with goals that aligned with the content I was producing.

They started asking me questions in DMs, and I responded to every message.

Step #6: Look for problems to solve

As I developed these relationships, I paid attention to people's pain points.

I noted the questions I often got, such as:

  • How do I grow my social media following to make money online?
  • Where do I find the motivation to create content consistently?
  • What steps should I take to monetize my LinkedIn account?
  • Is it possible to generate income without capital?
  • Why should I establish an online presence?
  • Where and how do I get new clients?

When people have problems that need solving, you (the expert) can offer business consulting or 1:1 coaching as a service.

This is the easiest (and fastest) way to get started.

Step #7: Package the answers and solutions neatly

These days, you can learn a lot for free online if you search hard enough.

But I learned that many people enjoy (and prefer) convenience.

They'll gladly pay money to have the answers packaged neatly in a course. They want someone they trust to take them from point A to point B.

After getting a clear picture of people's needs, I created course content to help them solve their problems and achieve their goals.

If people can't afford (or don't want to spend the time on) your consulting, coaching, or advising business, then let them go at their own pace.

Courses are an awesome way to do this.

Step #8: Sell your packaged knowledge to the public

After years of interacting with people on LinkedIn, I built an audience of over 400K engaged followers.

With that, I can sell my courses on content creation and LinkedIn building without aggressive selling. I continue to share useful content and occasionally drive people to my digital products where they can learn more.

Here's what I recommend if you're creating a course:

  1. Build a loyal social media following first
  2. Focus on your target audience and people's pain points
  3. Give people the solutions they're looking for in under 2 hours
  4. Provide so much value that people talk about it
  5. Make it a no-brainer impulse buy

Step #9: Upsell to monthly recurring revenue

This step isn't for everyone, but it works well for some solo business owners.

After establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field, you can upsell your expertise in a few different ways to generate monthly recurring revenue:

  • eBooks
  • 1:1 coaching
  • Notion boards
  • Additional courses
  • Paid community subscriptions
  • Resources like email templates
  • Collections of high-performing hooks

You may even combine one or more of the above with affiliate marketing.

Feel free to get creative here. Explore a few options and double down on what works best for your lifestyle and potential customers' needs.

Step #10: Earn passive income and enjoy life

One of the best things about running a digital product-centric business is the potential to earn money passively. Unlike my consulting gigs, my digital products bring in revenue while I'm enjoying life with friends and family.

My courses took time to build in the beginning. But since releasing them, I've sold an average of 20 per day without additional work or marketing.

I'm simply creating content on social media each day, and driving people to my website.

If you have a small following, you'll need to promote your offering(s) more frequently to spread awareness. But as you build authority in your space, people will trust you and convert over time.

Example solopreneur success stories

Solopreneurship looks different for everyone. Nobody is taking the identical path as you, and everyone learns at various paces.

When I began my solopreneurship journey, I found inspiration in the success stories of those who carved their own way. These solopreneurs proved that with the right mindset, systems, and drive, one can make an incredible impact and achieve long-lasting success.

Here are a couple of solopreneur success stories to inspire and motivate you:

Justin Welsh: My solopreneur story in a nutshell

Some of you may already know my story. Since beginning my solopreneur journey 5 years ago, my one-person business has crossed $4M in revenue.

During this time, I experimented with different revenue streams:

  • Courses
  • Coaching
  • Subscriptions
  • Paid community
  • Consulting and advising

From there, I discovered what aligned with my lifestyle and what didn't.

The paid community was a success, but it didn't work for me. It felt like I had to be available 24/7, which conflicted with my values.

The intention behind my one-person business was always to do more of what I love and less of what drains me.

So, I shut down the paid community to focus on other areas of my business.

Now, I primarily make money by selling two digital courses at $150 each: The Operating System and The Content Operating System.

I created them based on the questions and problems my ideal customers had. My ultimate goal was to make my knowledge accessible to as many people as possible.

Today, I have 21K+ students learning how to grow and monetize their LinkedIn following and create content at scale for their businesses.

Student ratings speak for themselves, and I’ve learned that selling becomes much easier when happy customers talk about your product(s) daily.

Dan Koe: Creator of Modern Mastery

Dan Koe is one of my favorite solopreneurs and online creators.

He started as a freelancer operating several skill-based businesses. During this time, he stacked skills by doing things unconventionally.

For example, he once had a digital art page that didn't work out as a viable business. But this venture gave him experience — it taught him how to create designs for his current business and grow on social media.

After freelancing, creating content, and building his audience for a few years, Dan saw the opportunity to productize his expertise.

So, he launched a private community called Modern Mastery, where he imparts everything he knows about crafting a meaningful one-person business.

With more than 1,000 members learning from him, he makes $27K+ per month by sharing his productivity, marketing, and sales strategies.

Get up from the sidelines and grab the mic

It's easy to sit on the sidelines, hard to step into the arena.

But you need to get on stage to do anything worthwhile.

It won't be comfortable at first because vulnerability can be terrifying.

But making noise doesn't have to be gut-wrenching.

I started small and developed a habit of publishing online daily — and you can, too.

Without aiming for virality, publish a piece of content on free platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube. It can be a social media post, a blog post, or a video… any piece of content.

The goal here is to establish a daily posting routine, not chase perfection.

Overcoming the fear of publishing content can help you reach your potential. You'll get feedback, build a community, and more importantly, learn as you go.


Nobody creates masterpieces from the get-go. To make progress, you must accept that some content won't perform as well as you’d hoped.

Your next steps for becoming a solopreneur

Becoming a successful solopreneur is a long game. Those who stick around when times get tough reap the rewards.

The first step in the right direction is to make sure you love what you're pursuing.

There are going to be days when you feel less motivated. Having an obsession keeps you on track.

After identifying what you're passionate about, experiment and try new things.

You'll inevitably fall as you learn, but these experiences will help you stack valuable skills. Even if one venture doesn't work out, you can use the skills you've gained to go after something that's a better fit.

At the end of the day, running a sustainable and profitable business begins with the propensity to take action.

So, what's the one small step you can take today that your future self will thank you for?

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. ​The LinkedIn Operating System:​ Join 16,000 students and 30 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 0 to 470,000+ followers and $4.8M in income.

2. ​The Content Operating System​: A multi-step system for creating a high-quality newsletter and 6-12 pieces of high-performance social media content each week. Join 7,000 students here.

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