Modern Australian

Most useful tips for running a one-person startup

  • Written by Diana Smith


Being a one-person startup is a good idea for several reasons. First, the overhead is incredibly low, which means that your break-even point is near. This reduces the risk of failure, as well as the potential damage caused by this failure. Other than making your job easier, it also puts you under a lot less stress, which is a huge benefit on its own. The second advantage of this is the fact that it makes running a business much easier infrastructure-wise. The biggest problem with running a one-person startup lies in the fact that the majority of people see it as a stage, a temporary solution, when, in fact, it can be a fully-functional business model. Here are several tips to make it so.

1.Validate your idea

The biggest problem with being on your own is the fact that you’ll have no one to tell you when you’re in the wrong. This means that you might keep doing things inefficiently or moving your company in the wrong direction for quite a while until the results show you that what you’re doing is bad. In order to prevent this, you should validate your own business idea. First, do market research and try checking if the niche that you’re trying to enter is segmented or dominated by a couple of dominant enterprises. Second, you need to ask for an outsider’s opinion in order to get some new insight.

2.You don’t have to have a team for fundraising

Even those who believe that they can run a successful business on their own have some concerns when it comes to the issue of fundraising. Namely, a one-person startup is a fairly common business model but are investors like venture capitalists really willing to invest in one-person teams. Surveys say that they indeed are. Due to the fact that the average size of a starting team is at about 1.72, it’s more than clear that this business model isn’t nearly as rare as you might think. Once you get the money, it’s irrelevant how big of a team you have, as long as you can deliver on what was promised.

3.Full control

Being self-reliant is a great advantage in the business world and although you’ll be forced to work with a tad smaller capacity, you will be in full control of your business. Due to the fact that you’re your own workforce, you’ll have a much easier job to make an estimate of your capacity and the quality of the end product/service will be completely in your hands. This means that it will be a lot easier for you to offer guarantees to your clients and make adjustments that are necessary for all of this to function as it should.

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4.Your potential for growth is unlimited

One more misconception is an idea that the potential of your business is limited by the fact that you’re a one-person startup. Now, when you take into consideration the fact that Amazon and eBay both started as one-person startups, it becomes more than clear that the potential is unlimited. Sure, some may see this as something in contrast with the topic of this post but bear in mind that chances of achieving this level of success aren’t that probable. Also, once you make a business model that works with one person in charge, adding other people to the mix will only change the scale.

5.Create passive streams of income

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that as the sole employee behind a business, you need to make sure you use your assets in a way that will allow it to earn you some revenue. This means creating alternative sources of income by making smart investments. Still, not all of your investments need to be in money-making venues. Sometimes, you need to differentiate your income so that your asses are, at least partially, safe. One of the ways to do so is by buying precious metal like platinum. Commodities are, in general, much safer than stocks, even if they stand to make you less money in the short term.

6.Make an adequate work environment

When you’re a one-person startup, your own productivity is the productivity of your entire organization. This is why you need to make an adequate work environment and stimulate yourself to become much more productive. The best idea would be to construct a home-office but if you find this to be too expensive or you need to work in a collective (while still remaining a one-person business), you can always look for shared office space. In the long-run, this could help an aspiring entrepreneur develop an incredibly efficient work routine.

7.Temporary outside help

Just because you’re running a one-person startup, this doesn’t mean that you should do it all on your own. The fact that you’re alone is exactly the reason why you need to have an incredible network of contacts. Outsourcing is always an option, but you need to know who it is safe to outsource to. If you’re running a blog (which you definitely should), you’ll need some reliable content creators and guest bloggers in your contacts. If you need some help, for a while, it’s better to hire freelancers to help you out on this project than to, unnecessarily, expand your retainer.

8.Branded online presence

The very last thing you need to bear in mind is the fact that it might be easy to assume that just because you’re a one-person startup, your personal social media presence is enough. Your brand needs to live the life of its own, which is why you need a website, a blog and social media profiles that you’ll use professionally. Sure, marketing yourself as an individual (especially on LinkedIn) could benefit your business and your brand as a whole, yet, a branded online presence is a most definite must.

It might even be worth your while to try and distance yourself from your brand by using a different tone when addressing your audience personally and professionally. Even though you are a one-person army, this doesn’t exactly have to be public knowledge.

The very last thing you should focus on when running a one-person startup is your long-term goals. This is where you need to be completely honest about your intentions with this enterprise – do you really want to remain a one-person startup or are your long-term goals different? Only you can have an answer to this question.


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