Travis Herche, Solopreneur

I interviewed Travis Herche the other day. He’s one of our featured speakers for the For Action Conference. One of the most interesting discussion points he brought up was that of the solopreneur.

Watch the entire interview on YouTube.

Click to watch the entire interview on YouTube.

This may be a new term for you. In fact, we both admitted that, before we knew what the term meant, we were already solopreneurs. It’s a relatively new idea in the world of business, and I even had to turn to the Urban Dictionary to get a solid definition to post for you:

SOLOPRENEUR: An entrepreneur who works alone, “solo,” running their business single-handedly. They might have contractors for hire, yet have full responsibility for the running of their business. (from the Urban Dictionary)

Perhaps you identify. Either you, too, find yourself running your business “single-handedly” (or, for the most part, most of the time), or you are doing something significant on the side of your real job and desire to branch off. Solopreneurship is attractive to you. I submit to you that this is because of three common sense reasons that, when embraced, make your work life very, very fruitful.

It is possible

Such a life was not possible 20 years ago. Even five or 10 years ago, it was clunky. The Internet and social media has changed everything, making the simple tasks of any business extremely simple to do on your own.

Travis has been doing Skype coaching for several years now. The tool of Skype — a free and widely used audio/video communication tool — is Travis’ main portal to coaching students nationwide. The service that used to be limited to geographical boundaries and commuting has now been removed. Travis can coach anyone, anywhere, as long as they have the Internet (who doesn’t nowadays?) and Skype (which is totally free).

My operation is a bit more complicated, but runs along the same premise: the Internet and tools from the Internet allowed me to do that which wasn’t possible before. I started in the days when mail-order was what businesses needed to master. That’s so archaic today, I don’t hardly ever send a mailing out anymore. Email is much more affordable, and even that is being replaced with social media marketing.

The point here is this: it is possible to do what God is calling you to do. You, like Travis, can connect with an audience without having to create an entire business of your own, or having to convince a gatekeeper to let you into theirs. You can go straight to the customer — just like Travis and I do — and get on with the business of serving others.

It is enjoyable

Both Travis and I love what we do. We can’t get enough of it. However, there is a tediousness to business that both the entrepreneur and the solopreneur must do. I don’t think things like accounting thrill either of us, but we both need to get our books in order.

The entrepreneur model builds a business of dedicated people who enjoy the work that they are tasked to do. An accountant, for example, is hired to take care of the books and finances of the small business. Directors of marketing, production, fulfillment, etc. are hired, plus a human relations director to manage them all. This is built up to manage the growing business, as well as to delegate the tedious work of running the business.

The solopreneur takes on the tediousness. I do my own accounting. I contract a professional to make sure my taxes are done right, but the day-to-day bookkeeping is my responsibility. Though I generally dislike the task, I enjoy the business of it. I get into analyzing my revenue streams, tightening my spending, tweeking things to make my business more profitable and more productive. I enjoy the tedious task of accounting because it empowers me to do that which I really love.

To tell you the truth, I have seen the entrepreneur model fail more often than the solopreneur. I know some businessmen who run much bigger operations than me, but they’re still very much involved with the daily routine of the business. It’s not micromanaging, it’s responsibility, much like the definition of solopreneur references above. This leads to my third reason solopreneurship makes business more fruitful…

It is the way it’s supposed to be

Because it’s possible to do that which you enjoy, I can’t help but wonder if this is the way it is supposed to be. When you think about it, business has always run in this simple three steps:

  1. You are called to DO SOMETHING of significance to a market that would pay for it.
  2. You figure out how to create whatever that SOMETHING is.
  3. You develop the business, make the money, create the machine, bring others in, etc.

I’m contracting out more and more of the tedious. My order fulfillment for Monument Publishing, for example, has been contracted to Oklahoma this year — as well as my customer service and much of my production. I love that. But I’m still very much a solopreneur, pouring time into content development and events.

Events like the For Action Conference! Slots are filling up, and I sure hope you’re able to join Travis and me to learn from one another how to be active in today’s changing world. Most of the speakers, like Travis and me, are solopreneurs who are making impressive impacts in their niche markets. You will want to be there!

For Action Conference

January 2-4, 2014
Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs