I didn’t hear/read the word “solopreneur” until around this time last year. I don’t know who coined it, but I know it caught on like wild fire. I’m sure there are some people who think it’s corny as hell (I know I was on a string on Facebook where we talked about people trying to make “fetch” happen with blahblah-preneur and blahblah-ista), but I think this is a solid use of the word.
“I’m known to walk alone, but I’m alone for a reason.” – Beyonce
A solopreneur is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a badass who’s running things on their own. No cofounder. No crew. Or as Kid Cudi calls it, solo-dolo.
I don’t know at what point I started using “we” a lot when it came to my various business ventures. Because I never felt comfortable enough branding under my name alone, because the spotlight is just really not my thing, I began to blog or speak or vibe under the guise of “we”. Like, dude, there’s no one else here. Let’s be real.
Why is it that entrepreneurs are scared to come off as solopreneurs? Why are we faking the funk, pretending like we’ve got a squad, when in reality, all we have are #squadgoals? The readers / customers / clients know good and well it’s just you, and maybe a VA. So why are we pretending? Didn’t Hov say he’s too old to be frontin?
It is so totally okay to be a one-man or one-woman band. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you think about it, it’s like a group project. I hated doing group projects, because I knew I’d do most of the work, but other folks would get credit for it. So why would I intentionally leave that possibility out there to happen to me again as an adult?
No, it’s just me. Startup Noire is just Briana. Now, by that I mean the face behind the “brand”. The founder is me, that’s it. I came up with Startup Noire on my own (cue Pattyyyyyyy), and no one else gets to take credit for that. No one else is staying up for hours thinking about what comes next. No one else is waking up at butt-crack o’dark-thirty to make sure I kick some inspirational shit for the Gram. So why is it that I’m always hitting folks with the we (not the hee like Missy)?
In all honesty, when I first started, all I ever wanted was a cofounder. I felt like it was necessary. That was a confidence issue. I felt that I needed validation or even permission from someone else to run a business the way I want to run it. That doesn’t make any sense at all. The more I got away from that notion, the happier I felt, because I don’t have to answer to anyone. I have a vision, and I will do everything in my power to defend it and make sure it comes to fruition.
I see a lot of folks out there doing the same thing. I may have even read an article about it before. Again, it’s funny because your audience already knows it’s just you! So why lie?
I say all this to say it’s 100% okay to be a solopreneur. It doesn’t have to stay that way forever. Of course you can hire a team. Of course you can find a partner down the line. The beauty of all of this is, you’re in control. You decide where you see your company in a few years. Is it a room full of folks whose paychecks you sign, or is it you, the dog, and the baby?
You don’t have to be a coach to work alone. You don’t have to make and sell products to work alone. I think calling yourself a “boutique agency” is completely legit, but why not just call yourself an agent, or a consultant? Hell, sometimes I even have an issue with the word freelancer, but that’s another post for another day.
Action League Now: If you are an entrepreneur who is operating under the guise that you’ve got all these folks with you, do yourself a favor, and stop. Go through your website and other brand collateral, and make sure you let people know that it’s you and you alone. Remember, folks buy products and services based on individual people. Injecting you into your brand is essential.