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How to be a digital solopreneur in 2021

Article written by Alan Shannon (Executive: Client Engagement, Professional Banking & Small Business Services – Nedbank)

Running an online business on one’s own is part of the new wave of entrepreneurship. Young adults who want to be the boss and are confident that they can manage their business finances are driven to create their own businesses.

Solopreneurship is when someone strikes out on their own as a fulltime entrepreneur. They run their entire business independently, taking sole responsibility for the business operations – from service provision to administration.

About 81% of small-business owners (out of 30,7 million small businesses) in the United States are solopreneurs. Many are running their businesses on social-media marketplaces or using online platforms. Examples include providing transport services through an e-hailing app, providing digital marketing services or selling products via an online store.

With a particular interest in independence, the solopreneurship route is more attractive than ever as COVID-19 spurs the evolution of small businesses and the work-from-home dynamic. These business owners are self-sufficient, self-reliant and multiskilled. This type of entrepreneurship offers much freedom and flexibility without the need to take care of big teams. Solopreneurship is becoming a popular choice and will continue to be in the post-COVID-19 business landscape.

The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption. According to a Cisco study, at the onset of COVID-19 about 94,5% of South African companies admitted to the value of digital transformation. As businesses scrambled to survive in an even further-depressed economy and contemplated life beyond the pandemic, COVID-19 highlighted the importance of digital adoption, for not only business efficiency but also customer convenience.

For most businesses, going digital has proven to be necessary. During lockdown and the ongoing curfew restrictions, which placed many challenges on trade, businesses that supplied products and services digitally thrived because consumer demand shifted to e-commerce due to social distancing. The customer of today appreciates that virtually every product or service can be shipped directly to them, cutting out much of the inconvenience of travelling and standing in queues.

Solopreneurship mainly involves running a virtual business and is dependent on digital tools and internet connectivity. A good internet connection is an essential tool for a solopreneur, ensuring they are always connected to process online orders or carry out cloud-based business functions. There are roughly 36,54 million internet users in South Africa, making the internet a great medium to leverage when running a small business. The digital era is empowering virtually anyone to start a business anywhere and rely on the internet for success.

While a solopreneur needs to be focused on running all aspects of a business, they also need to have a good handle on the finance side of their business to ensure that it is sustainable. Entrepreneurs can access Nedbank’s free tools and information hubs, like SimplyBiz and The Essential Guide for Small-business Owners, which were created to empower small businesses. Visit simplybiz.co.za to register or nedbank.co.za/smallbusiness to download the guide.

Nedbank is a proud Partner of the NSBC