Sole Proprietor

If having your own business has been a lifelong dream, chances are you will start out as — and possibly remain — a sole proprietor. Legally, a “proprietorship essentially means a person does business in his or her own name and there is only one owner,” according to Wikipedia’s definition. These days the slightly antique IRS category of sole proprietor could includes everyone from the 50-something employee-turned-consultant, to a life or career coach, freelance commercial writer, motivational speaker, cruise ship lecturer, professional organizer, yoga instructor, or massage therapist, to name a few popular late life career choices. There are some distinct advantages to running your own business, tax-savings and the speed with which you can make decisions and respond to opportunity perhaps the most obvious. Anyone with a good idea can get into business at minimal cost. About $5,000 is typical to set up with the basic tools for a home-based enterprise.

Yes, small can be beautiful, and it appears may become the encore career of choice for many. In Free Agent Nation: How America’s New Independent Workers Are Transforming the Way We Live, Dan Pink predicted an explosion in independent contract workers, soloists and owners of microbusiness, a trend he believes is already reworking work itself. One example in our area of South Florida (more retirement central than a hotbed of entrepreneurial spirit) Kinko’s is open 24/7.

To be a successful soloist, you have to be self-sufficient and comfortable wearing many hats. It also helps to know yourself well enough to know what you don’t know, and what, when and where to outsource, in effect, building your own team of specialist/ sub-contractors. After all, being small in size doesn’t mean you can’t have big ideas. Luckily, there are any number of excellent resources so that you don’t have to go it alone. And many of them market themselves by giving away tons of free, valuable advice (take note). Here are three of our favorites, all small business owners themselves:

  • Terri Lonier’s Working Solo is a must read. See Terri’s excellent piece on Networking for the Terminally Shy.
  • Our former neighbor and friend, Ilise Benun’s excellent Marketing Mentor is another resource that belongs in your toolbox. Ilise is also the author of The Art of Self-Promotion.
  • For guerrilla publicity that really works, Joan Stewart’s Publicity Hound will inspire you to get going. Sign up for her free newsletter. Just say we sent you.