How To Create A Seven Figure Business By Yourself
Many aspiring entrepreneurs dream of building a seven-figure business, but what if you could do it without hiring anyone?
Elaine Pofeldt is the author of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business,a book that looks at how entrepreneurs are generating seven-figure revenues in businesses where they are the only employees.
Several years ago, Pofeldt discovered U.S. Census Bureau statistics revealing pockets of businesses with no employees that earned between one and 2.49 million dollars in revenue. She found these entrepreneurs typically run e-commerce, informational, professional or personal services businesses. They also depend on at least one of two key strategies to succeed.
Use Automation And Outsourcing Creatively
A new entrepreneur might spend their first year scrambling from one project to the next and worrying about unplanned expenses. After a year, they should generate enough revenue to divert some toward either automating or outsourcing mundane tasks.
A personal nutrition coach who spends a significant amount of time arranging check-ins with clients could reclaim some time by purchasing a low-cost scheduling app, for example.
Many of these tools are affordable for entrepreneurs with modest budgets. Profeldt recounts how an e-commerce project she consulted on eleven years ago cost more than $50,000. Today, that project would cost less than $1,000 thanks to tools like WordPress or Shopify.
“A lot of those tools have gotten so easy to use, you don’t even need a web developer, and they’re very inexpensive,” she said.
The entrepreneurs Pofeldt met also work extensively with contractors via sites like Upwork. These professionals help entrepreneurs take care of everything from marketing to design. Working with contractors has other advantages too.
“Some people don’t like to manage other people,” Pofeldt said. “There’s nothing wrong with…keeping it very lean. You don’t have to go through the process of recruiting which some people are fine with, but some people just don’t like.”
Charge Higher Rates
Many of the entrepreneurs Pofeldt interviewed grew their businesses after charging higher prices for more premium services or goods.
Wellness coach Meghan Telpner initially sold low-priced ebooks before creating the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, an online course and membership site that retails for several thousand dollars.
Martial arts expert David Fagella developed partnerships with martial arts experts in the United States and Norway and sold online courses via his website before moving into the self-protection market.
It’s easy to scale up a premium course that you can create once and sell many times. However, Pofeldt explained service-based entrepreneurs can grow revenues if they have patience and track key metrics like courses sold per month.
“You have to be somewhat realistic about what you’re offering,” she said. “If you’re committed to getting better every day, and professional development…you’ll be able to charge higher prices.”
She cites the example of a copywriter who “may have opportunities to create reports for clients showing what results they have gotten from your work, so that can give you an argument in favor of charging more.”
Following Your Passion.
Building a seven-figure business isn’t much fun if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing.
Many of the entrepreneurs Pofeldt met turned their hobbies and interests into businesses they enjoy spending time on.
Matt Friel enjoyed playing retro video games like “Super Mario Brothers.” When old copies of these games went on sale in stores like Best Buy, Friel bought and then sold them online via Game Deal Daily. Today, revenue from his business grosses three million dollars annually.
“I laughed because I think [of] the parents who try to discourage their kids from too much screen time,” Pofeldt said. “It wound up paying off, and he has a very active life…so it worked out really well to follow his passion.”
Today, Friel’s driving ambition is one an aspiring entrepreneur will recognize.
“I never liked the prospect of selling someone else’s product so the executives could get rich off of it. I don’t want to be someone’s instrument.”