Most free agents don’t go into business to make millions. Usually, they’re looking for a better lifestyle, more interesting work and greater control over their lives. But increasingly, new technologies make it possible for solopreneurs to build a seven-figure business working from home. And that means a better financial life, too, for the owners.
In our recent posts for the AARP Life Reimagined site, you can find out how several solopreneurs are pulling this off. Jason Weisenthal, who started a business printing decorative wall stickers in his suburban basement, is on track to bring in $2 million in sales–with no full-time employees. Kelly Lester, an actress and mother of three, expects to generate more than $1 million in revenue this year at her company Easy Lunchboxes. There’s one more story in the series to come. They’ve “scaled up” their businesses without an element that used to be mandatory for growth–a big full-time staff. Technology makes that unnecessary.
Stories like theirs highlight why it’s time to do a new cost-benefit analysis between taking a traditional job and working for yourself. In the days before the internet, a six-figure job with benefits might seem like the best financial route for many professionals. But for someone who doesn’t mind learning a bit about technology and taking on some personal financial risk, starting an internet-based business could actually end up being a more secure route in the end–and a lot more financially rewarding. Of course, you’ve got to have a great idea and the ability to execute it.
I’ve been doing a lot of coverage of high-revenue, one-person businesses lately. One lesson from the founders stands out: They often ramp up gradually, testing the waters while they still have a full-time job. That takes some of the risk out of what they’re doing and means they don’t have to pull the plug prematurely because they have run out of cash.
Many people today feel they’ve lost control of their careers and work-life balance because of current economic trends. It doesn’t have to be that way. As people like Lester and Weisenthal have found, there are new and exciting ways to create a great career, far from the world of corporate cubicles.