4 Habits of Highly Successful Solopreneurs

By: Ryan Noble | Published: March 25, 2015

Full-time employeesThe freelance economy is exploding at the same time businesses are changing the way they recruit and onboard employees. The process of talent acquisition is moving from an expensive, variable-cost exercise to a fluid, pay-for-productivity system. Could this be a random coincidence, or are solopreneurs changing the structure of enterprise human resources?

Solopreneurs are a new breed of traditional freelancers who, unlike task-oriented freelancers, bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the trade of freelancing. A blend of the words “solo” and “entrepreneur,” a solopreneur is someone who, by risk and initiative, builds his or her business single-handedly.

By the year 2020, freelancers and solopreneurs are expected to comprise at least 50% of the full-time workforce. There is a lot for enterprise businesses to like about this prediction.

The habits of successful solopreneurs include:

1. A deep and narrow focus
The ability to access the right skills at the right time will prove disruptive for enterprise human resources. With thousands of qualification-tested and vetted freelancers available on a moment’s notice, no longer are businesses bound by the limitations of in-house talent. The most successful solopreneurs are becoming hyper-specialized, developing deep domain expertise to deliver niche, high-quality work at unprecedented speed.

2. Always learning
A deep and narrow focus is of value only to the extent your expertise is in demand. Jacob Morgan, author and futurist, advocates for the importance of learning workers versus knowledge workers. A knowledge worker is paid for what he or she knows, a learning worker – one with the ability to adapt and apply knowledge to changing situations – creates more value. In a world of constant change and technological disruption, the demand for learning workers will continue to grow.

3. Flexibility in working environment
Solopreneurs and freelancers are not tethered to an office or a cubicle, nor are they bound by the traditional 9-5 workday. By leveraging on-demand talent, successful enterprises are shifting project KPIs (key performance indicators) and cost accounting from a dizzying array of variable-cost time-tracking systems to fixed cost, per-unit-of-output project deliverables.

4. Autonomy and choice
In the past, the words, “work” and “choice” were not necessarily synonymous. Solopreneurs are changing that perception by pursuing only the work of their choice, performing work from the location of their choice. Stated succinctly, “choice” is an important habit of highly successful solopreneurs, one that the enterprise has grappled with for centuries.

The freelance economy is a new human resources frontier with solopreneurs at the forefront, disrupting and shaping the future of work.


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