Thanks to the internet, productivity software, virtual staffing solutions, and freelancers and consultants of all types at your disposal, a single person can cause a major economic ruckus.
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According to new statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, an increasing number of single-person businesses are breaking into 7-figures of revenue. There’s also an accompanying shift in mindset that rejects the need to “scale up” to hiring hundreds or thousands of people to make more money.
Today we’re going to talk about another mindset shift — remaining a single-person or very small company, but creating a portfolio of businesses that you own an interest in. This is what’s known as becoming a habitual entrepreneur.
In this 8-minute episode I discuss:
- The power of one person
- The rise of the millionaire solopreneur
- How a portfolio of companies creates wealth
- The key asset of the habitual entrepreneur
- Audience as a key asset
- Why you might collaborate with a “content person”
- Details about upcoming webinars
Listen to Unemployable: Advice for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs below ...
The Show Notes
- How Bold Entrepreneurs Are Breaking $1 Million In One-Person Businesses
- From Solo to CEO: The Evolution of an Entrepreneur
- Register for free webinars
The Habitual Startup Approach to Wealth Building
Brian Clark: Hello all you unemployable types, wherever and whenever you happen to be. I’m Brian Clark, your host for another episode of the show for people who simply don’t think having a job is a good thing.
The Power of One Person
So, let’s kick things off talking about the power of one, as in one person. Thanks to the internet, productivity software, virtual staffing solutions, and freelancers and consultants of all types at your disposal, a single person can cause a major economic ruckus.
I read an article a while back called How Bold Entrepreneurs Are Breaking $1 Million In One-Person Businesses, it’s linked up in the show notes. Basically what used to be a pipe dream is becoming a more common reality.
Here are some stats:
According to new statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 30,174 “nonemployer” firms that brought in $1 million to $2,499,999 in 2013. That’s up from 29,494 in 2012 and 26,744 in 2011.
The article goes on to pinpoint what I think is the more important key – a shift in mindset. These people see no need to “scale up” like the business models of the past that required hiring hundreds, if not thousands of people to achieve greater revenue.
That’s pretty cool, and I guess in a way that was exactly what I was dreaming about back in 1998 when I made the plunge and embraced the internet as my medium of choice. It seemed like you could do so much with a small company with that type of reach.
How a Portfolio of Companies Creates Wealth
Let’s talk about another mindset shift. Sticking with the one-person or very small company, but leveraging multiple different lines of business and holding companies.
Remember back to the Solo to CEO evolution lesson, which was the second Unemployable episode. Specifically the 2006 – 2010 era, after I started Copyblogger, but before we merged several companies together to form the larger enterprise I run now.
I was operating during that period as a portfolio entrepreneur, or what’s known as a habitual entrepreneur, instead of serial entrepreneur. You may have seen that I call myself a habitual entrepreneur … it sounds humorous in a way, but it’s an actual designation in the academic study of entrepreneurism. Those wacky academics.
Any ways, that means you’re involved in several companies at once, not just one after another like a serial entrepreneur – but you’re still essentially just one person, or a very small holding company that has interests in several other companies.
So you may be saying, yeah Brian, wonderful for you. What about me?
Well, remember, that was a place I evolved to, not how I started. I started as a solo who would never have dreamed of that kind of approach at the time. At the time, I was bowled over by the fact that I could make money without a job at all.
But it’s totally doable if you’re a committed unemployable. You are, aren’t you?
This all comes down to what’s your key asset? And how do you find a way to make that somewhat scaleable into other ventures?
Audience as a Key Asset
So my key asset during that period was the audience that I’d built and the skills that allowed me to build it. It’s no secret I’ve been an advocate for creating content and building an audience as a vital aspect of modern business.
This content/audience fueled all of my businesses to a great degree. In fact during my portfolio phase, all my partners came to me because I had the reach and influence they didn’t.
But think about this … each of my partners had other skills or assets that they brought to the table. And they usually owned half of those businesses with me, each of which did seven figures in revenue.
Which means you don’t have to be a content creator to benefit from this strategy.
Why You Might Collaborate with a “Content Person”
For example, there are plenty of people out there who are great at building audiences, but suck at other things. Or maybe they just don’t want to do the other things. That’s where you can come in.
So, it goes both ways. My first partner Tony Clark, who’s my current Chief Operating Officer, was a blogger before we formed a company together called Unglued Media. The day we did, he said “I’m never writing another word.” And he’s more or less stuck to that while focusing on processes and systems, the stuff he loves to do.
Think about this a bit from your perspective, and try to identify your key asset or skill. We’ll talk more about this in the future as a way to develop your own portfolio entrepreneur plan.
In fact, I think this will be one of our future webinar topics. Not the first one, but definitely part of the series.
Details About Upcoming Webinars
For the first webinar, I think I’m going to get Tony Clark to talk about processes and systems. It’s the thing I was missing with my pre-Copyblogger businesses, and it’s made all the difference.
The interesting thing is that the fundamental processes we put into place when it was just Unglued Media, which was me, Tony, and his wife handling support, have been scaled up to how Copyblogger Media runs today. Put things in place when you’re solo or small, and scaling up becomes a lot less painful, and much more lucrative.
Once processes are in place, our second webinar will focus on staffing, specifically of the virtual variety. You may not know that our company is virtual, or as we like to call it, “post-geographic.” We have people all over North America and the world – including Australia and Brazil.
So, if you want to have access to these webinars, and you haven’t registered yet, you’ll need to do that. Just head over to unemployable.com – it’s quick and free.
If you’re looking for the show notes for this or any other episode, you can access that in the member area by selecting the Streaming option.
If you’re not a member yet, you’ll need to head to a different domain – it’s unemployable.fm. Go there and look for this episode, which is entitled The Habitual Startup Approach to Wealth Building.
That’s it for now … talk to you in the next episode.