Do you know what a solopreneur is? Discover the pros and cons of going it alone – the clare people
Today’s world no longer requires companies to be collective units. Solopreneurs, or solo entrepreneurs, have been a growing trend in recent years, but a few factors – cloud computing, rising unemployment, employee dissatisfaction, and the COVID pandemic – have accelerated this. Brazilian data on the subject is outdated, but the general impression is that more and more people are not only trying to be their own boss, but also to be the whole team.
A 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey, conducted with data from 49 countries, said more than half of Brazilian entrepreneurs (53%) conduct solo flights. Another DataSebrae study from the same year reported a much higher rate: 85%, in a universe of over 24.9 million entrepreneurs. With unemployment growing in the country, with just 48.8% of its working-age population employed in 2020, going it alone has become more of a necessity than an option.
What is a solopreneur?
He is a professional trying to start a business on his own and does not intend to hire medium or long term employees. “We call it ‘team’,” jokes Eder Max, business consultant at Sebrae-SP (Brazilian Service for Micro and Small Businesses). If you found this concept very close to that of an MEI (individual microentrepreneur), an ME (microenterprise) or an independent, it is understandable; after all, the differences are minimal.
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A solopreneur can choose to enroll in the MEI or ME category. But while the former has an annual income limit of R $ 81,000, the latter can earn more: up to R $ 360,000. These categories allow by law to hire employees; the MEI can only have one who receives the minimum wage or the minimum wage for the category, and the ME can have a team. But of course: if the entrepreneur chooses to be hired, he will no longer be a solopreneur.
Self-employed professionals who own legal persons are also, in essence, sole traders, but generally act as service providers. But there are also isolated entrepreneurs who sell products.
Okay, what about startups? According to Bruno Rondani, CEO and founder of the open innovation platform 100 Open Startups, this type of company by definition presupposes the existence of teams. “A micro-entrepreneur who grows a lot can start to operate as a business. To grow in the company, it will need partners. But there are a lot of freelancers who can participate in startups, ”he says. However, Max warns, “Many companies have used MEIs as employees, which is prohibited by law, with the exception of construction contractors.
Image: Playback / Startup StockPhotos / Pixabay
What characterizes a solopreneur?
In short, he must be good on the three fronts of a successful business: operational (knowing how to control all flows), managerial (having the head of a manager) and behavioral (attitude to persist in the company). According to Sebrae, the 10 commandments of a solo entrepreneur are:
Take initiatives and seek opportunities Be persistent Know how to calculate risks Require quality of your service or product Be committed Study hard Set goals Create surveillance systems Have a large network of contacts Have self-confidence
In Brazil, many enter this field out of necessity and without prior planning or capital. Thus, they end up getting frustrated with the life of a lonely entrepreneur. Cases of work overload due to the accumulation of functions or business management problems are frequent. Others have a good command of the technical part of the business, but not the administrative part, and vice versa.
With the right preparation, however, stepping into this life can bring good results, such as the freedom to be your own boss and autonomy in decisions. “They (the solopreneur) have a very independent nature, but not all business owners are entrepreneurs. About 12 million of the 19 million CNPJs are MEIs. Statistically speaking, most of them are on their own due to the lack of infrastructure in the company, ”explains Sebrae’s national director of customer service, Enio Pinto.
This activity is usually short-lived in many cases for one simple reason: When the business begins to prepare, the entrepreneur sees the need to hire more people to move forward. The exceptions are liberal professionals, such as language teachers, photographers, painters, electricians, etc. who, in good condition, earn the money they need to both live and maintain the business, without needing more professionals to help them.
The role of technology in the solopreneur
An important factor in this scenario is that more people are working today without the need for large offices, equipment or physical structures. They can do everything remotely and on time, as is the case with digital nomads.
Thus, current technology allows the existence of different types of solopreneurs, such as:
Small online store via marketplaces Consultant via videoconference Online course creator Airbnb homeowner Youtuber web page design agency Personal trainer Writer Podcaster Application developer Video editor
Almost all of the above professions require individual equipment, a good laptop, and internet access. But without all the professional requirements, the entrepreneur could be wrong. “You have to set up a business model and calculate all the scenarios,” suggests Eder Max, from Sebrae-SP.
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