How to Start and Operate a One Person Business

Discovering how to start and operate a one person business, or “solopreneurship,” brings career flexibility and the opportunity to build wealth on your terms.

Is it easy? No.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

In this article, we answer three important questions about how to start and operate your one person business.

Each of these brings clarity and direction to your journey and will ensure your one person business starts on the right foot.

How to Start and Operate a One Person Business

Begin with three questions.

  • What are the key traits of a one person business?

  • What types of solo businesses can you start today?

  • What are the benefits of a one person business?

5 Key Traits of a One Person Business

  • Scalability

  • Low Overhead

  • Specialized Skills

  • Flexibility

  • Niche Focus


Scalability refers to how fast you can grow your business to meet new demand.

Your goal is to pick a business you can scale without excessive cost or complications.

In the early months, you’ll wear several hats, and you’ll feel overwhelmed. It’s natural.

You’ll want to hire employees to give you help. I suggest you wait.

In my experience, the cost and complexity of adding employees too soon are greater than the gains they provide.

Once your single person business has consistent revenue and a repeatable process to gain customers, your first hire should be a virtual assistant.

The right VA tackles a wide array of tasks, including customer support, marketing, email organization, and content management.

Discover how solopreneurs make more money with a VA on the team.

Until you bring a VA into your business, focus on a business model you can operate on your own.

Popular examples of single person businesses ideas include:

  • Freelance writing

  • Ecommerce

  • Consulting

Low Overhead

Calculator, low overhead options to start and operate a one person business
Source: Pexels

A big challenge for your single-person business model is finances.

Many solopreneurs start their solo businesses as a side hustle to avoid personal finance challenges.

The side hustle approach helps you maintain consistent income from your full-time role and gives you time to ramp up your one-person business.

Once your single-person business generates approximately 60% to 75% of your full-time income, you can evaluate a potential exit from your full-time role.

Create a personal budget and talk to your financial advisor or CPA if you have money questions about launching your solo business.

The one person business ideas that have low overhead include:

  • Digital marketing

  • Professional coaching

  • Freelance writing and ghostwriting

As your business grows and your sales increase, the next step I’d suggest you take is collaborating with a bookkeeper.

Specialized Skills

Learning and developing nine new skills sounds fun. We all like to learn, right?

It’s counterproductive for the solopreneur.

Peter Drucker, the famous Austrian-American consultant and educator, reminds us to focus on our expertise. Don’t be a generalist.

It’s sage advice.

In the early days, you’ll handle much of your own marketing, operations, business development, and finance.

Don’t take on additional learning projects that fall too far outside your day-to-day business tasks.

If you’re a graphic artist, don’t spend months learning SEO.

If you’re a copywriter, don’t spend months learning how to build a website.

Leverage your unique skills and learn enough about the other areas to keep your business moving forward.

If you have the financial resources, lean on freelancers to help you with large-scale tasks outside your comfort zone.

I worked with a WordPress expert to build my website and design these blog posts. Her name is Melissa McDermott, and she’s sensational. You can contact Melissa here.

Seek good help from professionals and stay within your expertise.


Calendar, flexible schedule to start and operate a one person business
Source: Pexels

The one-person business model that flexes with your work schedule and locations is ideal.

Examples include:

  • Blogging

  • Online coaching

  • Content management

As a solopreneur, you’ll have days when your enthusiasm and energy are low. This is a natural challenge with the solopreneur model.

We all face it.

Loneliness is one of the challenges of running a home business.

To minimize loneliness, create a business that gives you the flexibility to work when and where you want.

Carve out a space in your home where you can work without distractions.

Highlight a dedicated time during the day when you have the motivation and energy to tackle business tasks.

If you’re a night owl, work after dinner. If you’re an early riser, tackle your business projects before breakfast.

This may take trial and error, but it’s essential that you create a business model that caters to your living situation and schedule.

Niche Focus

There is a popular saying among marketing teams.

“Try to help everyone, and you help no one.” This applies to your solo business strategy, too.

When you create your business strategy, start with a sandbox where you have an advantage.

If you start a personal coaching business, focus on a smaller market within the coaching space.

  • You can help female C-suite leaders in tech who want to start a new venture.

  • You can assist new fathers who want to get in better shape with a vegan diet.

Leverage your skills and expertise and build your business in a market you understand.

Gurus tell you not to niche too small. Take this advice with a grain of salt.

Yes. If your sandbox is too small, there won’t be any clients.

If it’s too big, you’ll have difficulty separating yourself from your competition.

Examples of niche sandboxes include:

  • Ghostwriting for tech startups

  • Career coaching for college graduates in healthcare

  • Vegan meal planning for single dads who work 9 to 6

What One Person Businesses Can You Start?

There are hundreds of single person business models you can start.

They cover various industries and niches. Here are examples and links you can visit to get started:

Freelance Writing

Writing on laptop, option to start and operate a one person business
Source: Pexels

If you write well and have an interest in a particular industry, freelance writing can be a lucrative one person venture.

You can write articles, blog posts, or other educational content for clients.

If you pursue freelance writing, give special consideration to YMYL (your money, your life).

Topics in health, wellness, and finance often require special knowledge and a license.

If you have a background and appropriate certifications in these areas, then they are among the most sought-after topics.

If not, I advise not entering these arenas. Stick with writing on topics where you have specialized knowledge.

Freelance Writing Sites

Lauren Ward is a veteran freelance writer who specializes in the finance space. You can discover Lauren’s valuable insight here.

I have read several of Lauren’s articles and can attest to her writing skills.

Kimberly Houston is another talented freelance writer who can provide valuable steps to get started.

Kimberly is a seasoned writer who specializes in web site and landing page copy.

Kimberly assisted me with a key project. Her editing and copywriting skills are A+.


There is always a market for finding and fixing business problems.

If you have expertise in launching new business ventures or building valuable marketing strategies, a one person consulting business can be an excellent choice.

Key qualifications in this space include your professional background and your ability to fix complex business challenges. The consultant’s goal is to find the root cause of a challenge and present solutions that create a positive transition.

Landing clients as a solo consulting venture hinges on your background and talent for demonstrating your problem-solving skills.

In the early days, you may have to illustrate specific business challenges and how you might solve them.

Consider demonstrating your consulting skills on social media (YouTube, TikTok, and LinkedIn).

Interact in the comments section, and you’ll identify specific challenges your audience wants you to solve.

As in freelance writing, it helps to demonstrate consulting expertise in a particular niche you understand.


Buying online, e commerce option to start and operate a one person business
Source: Pexels

Another popular one person business is to start an online store.

Many solopreneurs earn additional income selling niche products or drop-shipping items from suppliers.

Platforms like Shopify, Etsy, and Amazon make it easy to set up and manage your online store.

The key is to develop an operations system that is simple and easy to scale. If you sell digital products (e-books, calendars, planners, infographics, or templates), your inventory lives on your laptop.

If you pursue a traditional inventory model (clothing, artwork, or antiques), be sure you have the space, operating licenses, and systems to expedite shipment and delivery.

Either system requires a standard operating process that you can scale as demand increases for the products you sell.

Web Design

There is 24/7 demand for sensational websites. Yes, AI is on the move, and many of the tasks humans tackled in web design now fall to AI.

Still, there are many who prefer the human, artistic approach on their website.

If you have strong coding and design skills, you can launch a lucrative one person business that creates websites for individuals and businesses.

I suggest learning how to incorporate AI tools into your process. Use your unique coding and SEO skills while AI tackles parts of the project that may not require human touch.

Pick the more popular web design packages for newbies (Squarespace, WordPress), and then hone your skills to code a more advanced site for premium clients.

Online Coaching

Online coach, option to start and operate a one person business
Source: Pexels

Business, career, and personal growth coaching are highly popular one person businesses.

If you have certifications or degrees in a specific arena, you can highlight them to attract new clients.

There is competition in this space, so it’s essential that you build an online community that appreciates and trusts your approach to solving specific challenges.

Use caution if you coach individuals in the finance, accounting, physical, or mental health arenas. These categories fall under the YMYL heading and may subject you to certain rules.

It’s good practice to investigate the special requirements or licenses you need to offer coaching services in those arenas.

The Small Business Association gives you insight and suggestions on multiple small business topics.

I suggest you create an online coaching business that caters to a specific niche.

Examples include:

  • Couples who are starting a family

  • Divorced parents who want ideas on how to co-parent

  • Career changers who want a strategy to find their dream job

  • Recent retirees who are seeking new adventures to live a fulfilling life

Find a niche you enjoy and develop specific exercises and models to demonstrate the positive transformation your process delivers.

Content Creation

Content creation is a big category.

When you launch a content creation business, it’s important to determine if you want to create educational content (articles and ‘how-to’ blog posts) or if you want to be a copywriter.

Content creation is the art of writing and building a library of useful information to help satisfy search intent.

Copywriting seeks to motivate a customer or prospect to take action.

Another key consideration is the type of content you want to create for your clients.

Examples include:

  • Social media posts

  • Blogposts

  • Video

It’s difficult to master all of these. In the early stages of your content creation journey, pick one medium and learn it.

Absorb all the ins and outs of this particular space and prove you can generate business.

Once you have a client list, you might consider collaborating with a freelancer who can help you expand your content business.

You can hire a freelance editor for videos and a graphic designer for LinkedIn carousels.

As in the coaching and consulting space, I suggest you focus on one or two key industries. If you have expertise in pet care or vegan recipes, start there.

It’s much simpler and faster to gain traction in a smaller sandbox than to build helpful content for ten industries.

Can You Start a Business with One Person?

Absolutely! In fact, solo entrepreneurship offers several advantages.

Woman at home, working online to start and operate a one person business
Source: Pexels


You have complete control over your business decisions, allowing for agility and quick adaptations.

In the employee world, you may need confirmation and permission to make key decisions.

In your one person business, you don’t have these walls. That can be a positive.

The challenge is your expertise in key business areas, including strategy, finance, and marketing.

If you lack experience or insight in these three key areas, it’s important to chat with professionals who know them.

Ask questions and gain their insight. A few coffee conversations will save you months of frustration and money.

When I started my first solo venture, I leveraged my MBA education and professional expertise.

Even with this strong foundation, I often sought out experts to help me solve a particular challenge in marketing or accounting.

In addition, I suggest you build a 1-page strategy statement before you launch your solopreneur venture.

The strategy statement answers these key questions:

  • What problem do you solve?

  • Can you win in your sandbox?

  • Will people pay for your solution?

I take a deeper dive into solopreneur strategy in this article.

Low Overhead

Finances are a huge issue when you launch a one person business.

Whether you have savings to use or extra income from your full-time role, it’s essential to map out the money you’ll need to start and operate your venture.

Take these steps to evaluate your business expenses.

  • Create a financial forecast (yes, it will change and it’s essential you build one to start)

  • Chat with your CPA. They have exceptional insight on the ins and outs of business finances

  • Chat with your financial advisor

Avoid putting too much pressure on your personal finances if your business takes time to generate profits.

As a one person firm, you can save money on office space and employees. This helps.

It’s key to get freelance assistance and collaborate with a virtual assistant.

Profit Retention

Currency, Retain profits when you start and operate a one person business
Source: Pexels

The primary financial goal of your business is to generate profits.

A solopreneurship has a single owner, and that’s you. This means you enjoy the profits when your business performs well.

Since there are usually no investors in a one person business, you can keep the after-tax profits.

Remember, there are important tax considerations to consider.

I recommend you chat with your CPA to determine which business entity is appropriate for your business.

I have extensive finance education and experience, and I spent a few hours chatting with my CPA about which vehicle I should choose for my first one-person business.

S corporations and limited liability companies are among the most popular.

Evaluate all options, and let your CPA provide the pros and cons of each model.

Flexible Lifestyle

One of the biggest pros and cons of building a one person venture is that you can create your own schedule.

The cons of building a one-person business venture are that you can create your own schedule.

While many solopreneurs stay productive on their own, others struggle. Before you dive in and start your solo business, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Do you need direction from others to produce high-quality work?

  • Have you spent hours alone working on projects, and do you like this solo time?

  • Do you prefer to have people around you as you work so you can enjoy conversation and human interaction?

As humans, we appreciate conversations with other humans.

In the solopreneur space, you spend much of your time working alone.

This business model is challenging for many, so be sure you have a strong support system (family, friends, and coaches).

I find it helpful to build a few study groups with other solopreneurs.

When you meet a few times a week with others, you can exchange ideas and gain support. It makes a huge positive difference.

Niche Domination

Solopreneurs can become experts in their niche, building a strong brand and a loyal customer base.

When you start your solo business venture, consider a niche you know and where you can quickly build trust.

The online space is competitive, and it’s essential that prospects see you as a trusted resource or seller in your particular space.

If you start in a niche that’s too broad, you’ll float in the middle for a long time.

Avoid this by focusing on a specific market that has a BIG client problem you can solve.


If you start a podcasting business, it’s essential to focus on a specific niche.

The podcast arena is enormous, so start your one person business by building a solution to common podcast challenges.

  • Newbies who need help with equipment

  • 2-person podcast teams who need help coordinating a joint podcast experience

  • Seasoned pros who want to build on their social media following and launch a podcast

The time you dedicate to finding a BIG client problem to solve in a niche you like and understand is worth every minute.

It’s easier to expand your niche once you find solutions to a BIG client problem in a sandbox where you can win.

Have fun! The solopreneur world needs you.

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