Solo Entrepreneurship October 20, 2020

Solopreneurship optimizes for freedom first, not money

Jen @lunchbag

I have been reflecting a lot lately on why I chose solopreneurship and why I continue to choose this path with Lunch Money instead of growing a team or getting absorbed by a larger company.

As a result of this, I identified 4 key life & career decisions that I consider foundational to my journey. I've written these out in my latest blog post and I'd love to share this with the Indie Hackers community.

Feel free to let me know what you think!

https://lunchbag.ca/preparing-for-solopreneurship

  1. 12

    Great post. The solopreneur journey is different but I wouldn't have it any other way.

    I wrote a piece on it here - https://scottflear.com/solopreneur/

    Would love to know your thoughts.

    I find when I hire people (I have now) that I lose freedom. They ask me questions, they ask me for direction and it takes away from what I love the most which is being in flow state working on stuff I love.

    You become a better entrepreneur if you adopt the solopreneur mindset to start with

    1. 2

      I enjoyed your article @ScottFlear 🙌
      I agree that it is important to have experience with a task first before you start delegating it to other people. 🧐 Just wondering, who was your first hire? What was her/his role/position in your company?

      1. 1

        I hired a developer/CRO person. I've been using WordPress, woo-commerce, and running A/B tests myself for a while so when I hired him we knew exactly what needed to be done and results were fast. I learned from him, he learned from me and we've built a solid working plan from that.

        I made terrible hires a few years ago though for 2 roles I had no clue about at the time (logistics and in-person events management). Both gone now, but learned from that experience!

    2. 2

      Amazing article Scott! Loved it

    3. 1

      Enjoyed this article, what is your tipping point on hiring? I have worked for people in the past who were never in the business trenches (just handed start-up money) and it was a mess.

      1. 1

        The tipping point for me was when I realised I was being pulled too much into roles that didn't suit my skill-set.

        The struggle though is that I need to work on FB ads, email strategy, landing pages, and SEO together, as they all form a coherent strategy. I find it quicker for me to do them than hire someone for each one.

        But hired recently for business development (I know what we need but I don't want to do the outreach and small talk). I did it before, made some deals, and that but I was never going to love doing it.

        So yeah, hired to enable me to double down on the work that most matters for the business growth.

  2. 1

    Any chance you could add an RSS feed to your blog? I always like reading your posts.

  3. 1

    If everything depends on you, then it is quite easy for you to choose the direction of the path. I have looked towards startups but have not found an advantage for myself there. Now I am passionate about gambling sites like this - https://casino-hotspin.ca/ I am actively playing myself and plan to use my strength to create a new interesting slot game. This has both creative and financial interests for me.

  4. 1

    Great post! Ideas definitely resonated with me. Especially your realizations of what motivates you!

  5. 1

    Thanks for posting, Jen! I've enjoyed hearing about your journey in the past and this was a great addition to your story. I'm finding inspiration in your work as I start my own path towards solopreneurship.

    1. 1

      That's great to hear! Thanks for following along on my journey, Mike!

  6. 1

    Ha. The biggest question is what's the MRR ceiling on a solo founder business?

    1. 3

      I don't think money is the "biggest question" when it comes to solopreneurship. As noted in the title and in the last paragraph of my blog post, solopreneurship optimizes for freedom, not money. I rather make $80k annually and have complete autonomy over my daily schedule than to make $500k+ annually but be on-call during all my waking hours. And well, solo founders like @jdnoc who make $38k/month prove that it's possible to have the best of both worlds eventually!

      1. 4

        Very true! The original intention of the product I made was to only make an extra $500/month. I definitely started it for the money, but ultimately it was freedom because I didn't want to get a second job. I wanted to spend time with my kids and still get paid. Once I got past $1000/month, I started to see it more as a way out of employment and then grew it into a full lifestyle business.

        If you can scale the value you provide to others, then you can scale your income. That's why I emphasize automation and scalable marketing (marketing that you do once and always works for you). If I didn't know how to automate just about everything, then I couldn't do it myself.

        I'm ball-and-chained to about 10 emails a day at the very least. The other 23.5 hours of the day I can do what I want! Which is pretty awesome. It's especially handy during big life events like having a child or buying a house, etc.

        So yeah, I think you can certainly have both. I don't think this will last forever, and I'll definitely have to continue working on iterations and new products to keep earning at this level.

        1. 1

          Hey Jordan, thanks for your comment.

          scalable marketing (marketing that you do once and always works for you)

          What has worked best for you with the highest ROI, if you don't mind sharing?

          I'm ball-and-chained to about 10 emails a day at the very least. The other 23.5 hours of the day I can do what I want!

          #Goals

          1. 2

            1000% SEO, and now that there's more revenue I do paid ads (Google search ads).

            Getting good at SEO allows you to do very targeted sales marketing, at scale, for free. Just takes some time, and really good content + strategy.

  7. 1

    Thank you sharing your journey!

    As a solopreneur, how do figure out what's the most important thing you should work on at any given point? Is there a process you follow to keep yourself on track?

    1. 1

      It varies wildly, sometimes based on my mood, my bandwidth, or what the product needs to continue to grow. I go through a cycle of developing a major feature followed by shipping a variety of minor feature improvements. Sometimes I break out of the engineering cycle to write a blog post like this one.

      I use ClickUp to organize feature requests, and I frequently re-prioritize and re-organize them. I have some high-level goals that I revisit on a monthly basis. Things are always in flux and I follow my gut 100% of the time. This is part of the freedom I enjoy with being a company of one!

  8. 1

    I love it, and fully agree with it.

    1. 1

      Thanks for reading!

  9. 1

    Hey Jen, just wanted to say this was a great read! Enjoyed hearing about your experiences and how it prepared you to become a solopreneur!

    Just curious is continually running a company of one your long term goal with Lunchbag or do you think building a team is in your future assuming growth continues?

    1. 4

      Hi Deven, thanks for reading!

      To be honest, I'm not sure I would enjoy running a company with employees– that comes with a ton of extra responsibilities. For the foreseeable future, I will continue running Lunch Money as a company of one. Everything is still sustainable and I feel very fulfilled wearing all the hats and juggling all the tasks. The variety keeps things interesting for me!

      But... ask me again in 1 year :P

      1. 2

        I'm not sure I would enjoy running a company with employees– that comes with a ton of extra responsibilities.

        Perfectly mirrors my ideal life.

        Not sure I'll enjoy running a $1m ARR company of 10 more than a $100k ARR company of 1. Absolutely not worth it, especially given how short and precious life/time is.

      2. 2

        Thanks for your perspective! That makes sense to me, the sound of running a company with employees sounds daunting to me.

        Always enjoy hearing about your journey, excited to see what your thoughts are on the matter a year from now!

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