Being a Guilt-Free Solopreneur

Sorry, Inc. Magazine, but I don’t feel at all bad about having no employees. Not. At. All.

From the above-linked article:

Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, said in a statement, “Far too many founders are choosing jobless entrepreneurship, preferring to remain self-employed or to avoid assuming the economic responsibility of hiring employees. This trend, if it continues, could have both short- and long-term impacts on economic growth and job creation.”

Why shouldn’t people avoid the economic “responsibility” of hiring employees when our governmental system of burdensome business bureaucracy provides every disincentive to do so?

It is my stalwart intention to remain a solopreneur. And here’s the point missed in the Inc. article – in these days of networked communications, it is so easy to automate certain tasks and outsource others, that often there is simply no NEED to hire employees.

On the other hand, my purpose in the role as Connection Agent is to facilitate MORE employment by MORE people who can become solopreneurs based on their best abilities, through the multiplying power of trusted referrals.

I don’t want to manage people. I want to help them succeed through organic networks.

We should welcome this development, and encourage guilt-free solopreneurship. Self-employment is a liberating trend, not an economic negative!


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

16 Responses to Being a Guilt-Free Solopreneur

  1. Jay Ehret says:

    I have done it both ways, with employees and without. I can’t say that one way is better than the other. While going solo, I outsource several functions, which has its own pitfalls. Having employees is expensive because of employment taxes and employee benefits.

    I’m certain of one thing though, a solo-preneur needs helpers, whether they be outsourced or full time. Your possibilities are limited trying to do everything, all alone.

  2. Karen Swim says:

    I am also guilty with no plans to change it. The article is extremely shortsighted. I chose to create a business model that would allow me to scale as needed by connected with other solos and small businesses. Having employees is one method, and an increasingly outdated model of stimulating the economy. There is data that shows hybrid business models (on demand staffing, virtual workers) is becoming the new norm versus the on site, on premise traditional employee model. More people are choosing to create their own opportunity than to put their professional well being in the hands of others.

  3. Guilty as charged your honor!
    Recently I had someone ask me about why I don’t even have a formal office. How will I hire employees and become a real company? He went on to say; what kind of exit strategy do you have if you don’t plan on having an office nor employees? I tried to assure him that you don’t need these for an exit strategy; not that I have one.

    What I do is to help connect others for business services; which helps both sides to potentially hire more people. Or at the least stimulate the economy through more goods & services.

    I once had an office and even an employee; and I can tell you – I don’t miss either. Good article – I guess I will see you in employment jail.

  4. A lot of us so far seem to be guilty/guilt-free as charged!!!!

  5. Kellye Crane says:

    Sounds to me like the Kauffman Foundation needs to wake up to the 21st century — they are missing the point entirely. Yesterday’s employees are today’s entrepreneurial business owners, and we are all working together. If a Solo PR person subcontracts to multiple other Solo PR people to form the best team for a project, is the economic impact any less real? Of course not. Guilty!

  6. I am and will remain guilty as charged! As an independent consultant who hires subcontractors on a regular basis, I take issue with being called irresponsible for not hiring people as “employees.” I find that this model is more productive and more lucrative for everyone….me, my subcontractors and my clients. The overhead and time involved with having people on payroll takes away from the bottom line and the time availalbe to focus on deliverables…not my style and not for me at all.

  7. Alan Berkson says:

    Steve, I always said I wanted my next business to have no customers and no employees. I haven’t figured out the no customers part but I’m with you on the no employees part.

  8. Guilty and proud of it. I love working with other consultants – everyone has their own responsibilities, it is more lucrative, and I can expand and shrink without affecting anyone’s employment status…

  9. Jane Chin says:

    I am also guilty for remaining solo and appear incorrigible in this department. I’ve filled out those tediously long Kaufmann surveys 5 years running and finally quit participating once and for all. I don’t get access to aggregate data and frankly fail to see how these have made any difference for my businesses; I don’t see my interests advocated or affirmed. Talk about low value proposition… If KFwere a solo biz it would have folded after year 1.

  10. Gigi says:

    Me too!

    My very successful entrepreneurial aunt and uncle told me to hold out as long as I could without hiring employees. And I intend to do precisely that. Working closely with contractors all the time–but not hiring.

  11. Susan Hand says:

    Guilty as charged, but then am I really. Like so many others here I do hire contractors when I need their skills. I also collaborate on projects with other consultants. I retired in 2009 after too many years of working for a Fortune 100 company and I haven’t looked back.

    Solopreneurs are just one new aspect to the new economy where small businesses are helping to grow the economy here and major corporations are still sending jobs overseas.

  12. Guy says:

    Food for thought… As a SoloPreneur, (and please understand I don’t wish the following on anyone) if you get hit by a bus tomorrow, or are incapacitated in some way shape or form: what happens to your business?

    I am not an advocate for hiring employees but- far too many entrepreneurs forget to plan for succession and their business simply becomes a statistic.

  13. Chantal says:

    I agree that being guilt free and financially less dependent on a corporate paycheck is the way to go. I am amazed at the lack of regard for what solopreneurs do: go out to dinner, use airlines, hire lawn care service, spend money in many ways that supports business. It is not necessary to have employees to participate in the economy. I believe more people are applauding our willingness to carry our own weight and manage our future,

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