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Original Article

2008: The Year of the International Solopreneur

You’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Yeah, I’m talking to you, the aspiring event planner. You too, would-be financial consultant. And that goes double for you public relations “wanna be.” In fact this message is for anyone who has a dream of becoming their own boss while doing what they love. Now is the time to consider taking a shot at becoming a solopreneur, one of the fastest growing segments of the small business community. Better yet, shoot for becoming a world-renowned, international solopreneur.

I say become an international solopreneur because everything’s in place for determined, driven, serious folks to compete on a global scale. Here is why 2008 will be “the year” for you.

Each One Reach One…Million

One thing that any “soloist” needs when going into business is to find prospects. This typically means hitting the business networking circuit, and spending lots of time and money on lunches and dinners with prospects, who turn out to be suspects looking for a free meal. A solopreneur has to be especially careful with their time, so it’s critical for them to maximize time spent with people who they think would make great customers. And with cheap, high-speed Internet access prevalent, not only can you reach a greater number of people, but you can do so in a more meaningful way. Just as important, you can make it easy for them to reach you. And before you jump in a car or a plane, jump on a Web conference instead to determine if this is business you really want, without having to drive across town to pick up the check before you should.

SaaS to the Rescue

With the infrastructure in place for cheap, worldwide communications, the other factor fueling the rise of the solopreneur is software-as-a-service (SaaS). SaaS has made it possible for solos and other very small businesses to utilize software that would have only been available to the big enterprises just a few short years ago. Marketing, project management, e-commerce and other mission critical software is now easy to use, and easy to pay for on a monthly basis, with no big upfront hardware and/or software costs. Even a virtual PBX professional phone system like, GotVMail, is easily affordable at a few bucks a month.

Plenty of Help for the Do It Yourselfer (DIY)

Back in the day (a year or two ago) it was a pain to create and maintain a Website. Now you can get one up in running in minutes. And it’s easy to cut and paste code widgets to keep your site fresh with good information. You can even add a PayPal widget that will allow you to accept payments. You can use a Webcam, along with software such as Adobe’s cool Visual Communicator 3 product, to create a professional looking video for your site. And if you do need some help building your site or creating interesting content, you can go to Elance.com or RentACoder.com and put your project up for bid. Chances are you’ll find someone who will do the job for what you can afford.

So everything is in place for aspiring solopreneurs. The infrastructure is in place. The software and services are in place. The cost and complexity is steadily decreasing. And the prospects are in place, all over the world. They’re looking for what you have to offer. Are you ready to step up to the plate in ‘08?

Brent Leary’s column on business technology appears weekly at BlackEnterprise.com. He is co-founder and partner of CRM Essentials, an Atlanta-based consulting/advisory firm. He has been quoted in national publications such as Newsweek Inc., and Direct Marketing News. Leary is also host of “Technology-for Business Sake,” a weekly radio program heard on 1160 AM in Atlanta, as well as on www.BusinessTechnologyRadio.com. His popular blog can be found at www.brentleary.com.