In this article, you are going to see how to become a solopreneur in three easy steps.
One of the most surprising aspects of us humans is the ability to adapt to any condition. This ability is so hardwired into our system that unfortunately it also makes us shortsighted and easily forgetful. Nowadays we all take for granted our life path, which goes something like that, grow up, study, get a degree (today you need at least an MBA or Ph.D.), work for a multinational company, die.
But has always been in this way? Not really. If we go back, not that far from now, just in the XIX century and up to the first part of the XX our great-great granddads and grandmothers used to be free from the 9 to 5 routine, which afflicts most of us today.
Reid Hoffman (Linkedin Co-founder) in his book “The Start-up of you” reports a quote from Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize Laureate, which once said “When we were in the caves, we were all self-employees…finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s when human history began. As civilization came, we suppressed it. We became “labor” because they stamped us, “You are labor” and we forgot that we are entrepreneurs.”
Going back to the cave
The information era is bringing us back into the cave. How? Before Internet became the standard, just few large companies and organizations had access to specific knowledge. In other words, if you wanted to acquire certain skills you had to go through those media.
Ever since Internet spread out more and more people had access to that knowledge. This knowledge soon transformed into expertise. This means that the same skills, which yesterday could have been developed through a large organization, today can be acquired by anyone, anywhere and most important with her/his own resources.
Step One: Continuous skills acquisition
Indeed, websites such as Coursera.com, Udemy.com, and YouTube.com are giving us the chance to learn the skills we need quickly and inexpensively.
This means that the old paradigm, “work for us and we will form you” (with a small invisible clause: “by signing this contract you will accept the 9 to 5 routine for the rest of your life”) it is no longer the rule.
But how can an individual compete with a large organization?
David vs. the poor Goliath
As Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book, “David & Goliath”, the biblical tale has been misinterpreted for centuries and he actually gives us a more interesting explanation.
As the story goes, the philistines, originally from Crete, eventually invaded Palestine, where Israelite resided. The two communities ended up fighting each other but as it was common at the time, to avoid bloodshed philistines sent Goliath, which was a giant to challenge one of the Israelite. What happened next is known; David, a shepherd, apparently disadvantaged killed Goliath with his sling.
According to Gladwell, by analyzing the story from a different angle, Goliath, which apparently seemed invincible, was instead very fragile. Indeed, despite his height (six foot nine), Goliath had a condition which doctors call acromegaly, which brings nearsightedness. In addition, Goliath was wearing a heavy bronze armor, which although made him look terrifying, it also limited his movements. Last but not least, David had a sling, which as power was equal to a handgun.
In other words, large organizations, which seem invincible, are instead very fragile. The “too small to fail” will be the new normal.
Not by chance most of the innovations today come from small businesses and start-ups, which are small, proactive and way less bureaucratic than large organizations. The so decanted “efficiency of the process” leads in many big corporations to a crystallized decision-making process, and stagnation.
Step Two: Repositioning
Finding the right place into the market will take a lot of trials and errors. For a large organization this would be too expensive. The individual instead can understand where in the markets there are gaps which large organizations are not able to fill instead due to their size.
Step Three: Niche down
Once found the gap in the market, it is then crucial to niche down. In other words, you have to drill into that specific segment of the market until you find a potential target audience (from few hundreds up to several thousand people), which will be your manna.
In conclusion, in this article, you learned how to become solopreneur in three easy steps. Nowadays Solopreners can challenge big organizations if they are willing to take on three challenges:
- Continuous skill acquisitions
- Repositioning through trials and errors
- Niching down until finding the potential target audience
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