The Rise of the Solopreneur

How and why Baby Boomers should consider this pivotal shift.

Liz Porter
May 16 · 10 min read
A white bench covered in blue cushions on a deck facing a view of the blue ocean waters
Photo by Miriam Eh on Unsplash

biggest source of stress — my ego-driven shit-ass boss — is now a distant memory. Gone are the days that some lame idiot, put in charge because of office politics, dictates my financial future.

This thought prevails as I breathe in the exceptional view of the Bay of Fundy from the deck, with a glass of Cab Sav at my fingertips.

The salty air is swirling around me, cooling my cheeks and soothing my busy mind as I anticipate the countless opportunities coming my way.

My laptop at my side, I bask in the gratitude I feel towards my new portable office. The walls are gone, and I get my vitamin D from the sun instead of a pill or a smoothie on the run.

But more importantly, I can breathe again.

As I watch a small lobster boat lurch its way back to shore, I’m thinking about my days as a cubicle slave and how far I’ve come from that toxic environment.

This tiny fishing village in New Brunswick is my home for the next 3 weeks, as we quarantine and consider a move to another province. It’s the perfect spot to brainstorm and write my next articles.

I’m thinking about you, the pandemic and what it's done to your career goals, your travel plans and possibly your hopes of owning a home as the real estate markets go berzerk.

But as I take in the amazing view and wiggle my toes in the warmth of the sun, I feel inclined to holler at you across the water, “do you understand how fucking excited you should be right now?!”

This unprecedented situation we’re all facing has offered you a giant “get out of jail free card” — use this downtime to pivot and make some changes.

Don’t waste these precious moments being scared, worried and angry like I did back in the economic crash of 2008 after being laid off. Embrace the opportunities and bounce into the unknown without fear.

I promise you’ll never look back.

It’s the perfect time to embark on this new journey of becoming self-sufficient. Shake off that old “gotta have a nine to five to survive” mentality.

Get excited!

Because your imagination and your laptop are all you need to take control of your finances and your future. You don’t have to depend on that boring, going-nowhere job and lousy pay-check forever.

We’re living in a volatile, mixed-up world, and people are getting a reality check when it comes to how they make a living. Our jobs have become personally built prison cells.

Counting on that single pay-check, or a tiny pension in the 21st century is like walking death row — the outcome is inevitable.

Working for someone else keeps us in cities we don’t want to live in and doing things we hate, causing intense stress. We may also find ourselves working for people that hold us back intentionally to further their own careers.

Building multiple streams of income online and taking charge of your life is where it’s at, and many empowered creators worldwide have embraced this powerful shift towards Solopreneurship.

A young guy in a red t-shirt and black ball cap laying on his belly in the grass using a laptop — his ten speed bicycle in the background
A young guy in a red t-shirt and black ball cap laying on his belly in the grass using a laptop — his ten speed bicycle in the background
Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

It’s us “little guys” on the porch doing podcasts, freelance writing jobs and running Etsy stores from our phones that are making the big bucks and enjoying life in 2021. Not the folks stuck taking crap from their boss with reduced hours, less pay, mind-numbing zoom meetings and government bailouts.

Our entrepreneurial spirits coupled with massive online opportunities have given birth to a new species — the Solopreneur.

We’re small, but we’re mighty!

We’re passionate, fearless and open-minded. We don’t need employees, payroll software, office space, or a government loan to start our businesses.

If that gets you excited, join us, all you need is heart, a great attitude, discipline and a mobile device!

emote Solopreneurship has been my reality since I made the bold decision to leave the corporate world behind after being laid off at age 48.

It’s been a wonderful and crazy roller coaster ride. It’s also been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not just financially, but for my state of mind and my personal development as well.

As the pandemic presented itself, I saw it as the next big opportunity to pivot with my income streams—the polar opposite of how I experienced 2008, as my world crumbled around me.

Was getting started scary?

— Absolutely!

Did I wonder if I was doing the right thing?

— Oh ya…

Could I hear voices scolding me for taking such risks?

— You know it, especially at my age.

Were there learning curves so steep I wished I could download “new brain” software?

— OMG, yes!

But when I considered the alternative of going back to Corporate prison, I was more determined than ever to make it work.

So when the pandemic hit, I was already home doing my thing. Not much changed for me, except that I could see more opportunities and doors opening wide.

Why?

Because I’m eleven years in, and remote work just became a household word.

There are tons of people trying to adapt to new ways of providing for their families, and they need help from those of us who have blazed the trail before them.

And the biggest secret to having success with your online side hustle (or full-time gig) is figuring out the best way to use your skills and your passion to help people all over the world get what they want.

It’s not a new concept, but it’s certainly overlooked.

The key is setting your ego aside long enough to figure out how you can use what you know and love to help someone else succeed.

Simple right?

And from where I sit on the porch, the possibilities are endless.

Start it Up!

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

— Zig Ziglar

Some of you have a million ideas floating around in your head, but if you’re like me, you’re struggling with the details.

  • Where do you start?
  • How do you transition from that employee mindset?
  • How will you get it off the ground when you need a steady paycheck?

Don’t let fear block your motivation.

The best advice I can give you is — just start!

I know that kinda blows because you’ve heard it before. Right?

Hell, you’ve probably seen it on a t-shirt (an awesome business idea, BTW), but there’s no denying that it’s excellent advice.

When I finally took it to heart, this is what happened next.

Step One

I made a list of all my bills that had to be paid and stopped spending money on all the fluff I knew I could live without.

I’m not recommending you to quit your job immediately (assuming you have that choice) but to get a more accurate picture of what you can live on temporarily.

That reduced dollar figure will surprise you and calm your mind.

Once that’s cemented, take inventory of the things you’re great at, skills you’ve mastered, stuff you enjoy doing, and things you’ve always wanted to learn. It can be anything, whatever blows your skirt up, so don't limit yourself; let those ideas flow.

Perhaps you’re super organized, great with people, or have a talent for building spreadsheets. Tap into skills you’ve learned at your 9 to 5, and think about where you excelled.

If you’re more of the creative type, think about your hobbies.

Do you play the guitar, paint, sketch or love taking pictures?

What makes the time fly by for you? Anything goes in our new passion economy!

Have you worked through a life-altering experience or trauma that changed you? Did you come out on the other side stronger and more self-aware? Are there people who could benefit from your unique life lessons?

Don’t overthink this step…just brain dump!

Step one can be daunting because we aren’t taught to think this way. But you know you’re a fantastic employee and where your strengths are, so be honest with yourself.

Step Two

Now drill down further with the most intriguing ones, and make a list of the problems you can solve for others with your skill set(s) or life experiences.

For example, I came out of an abusive 10-year marriage and decided to write my story as part of my personal growth journey. The process was so cathartic that I came through that experience super confident that my book could help others heal or avoid the same trauma.

That memoir is a stream of income now.

If you’ve got techie skills, there are tons of people that need help setting up basic websites, and they’ll pay you to write content for them as well.

Bloggers also need an endless source of photos for their articles.

Suppose videos are your thing; you can show people “how to” do anything on youtube. Like how to colour your own hair, apply makeup, use photoshop, practice a fitness routine, add a hyperlink to an email, play the guitar, sketch, fix a lawnmower…anything goes!

The idea here is to brainstorm problems people are searching online to get help with. When you match your skillset to a real-life problem you can solve, you’ve found your niche.

Step Three

Is deciding how you want to deliver your help to the world.

Social Media plays a huge role here, but don’t limit yourself because some demographics are moving away from what used to be the most popular platforms.

There are lots of free and creative ways to make this happen.

Free websites, Youtube videos, Etsy stores, Shopify, webinars, podcasts, e-mail lists, online courses, and e-books, to name a few.

If you want to write, there are platforms like Medium and News Break that pay. There are job boards for freelance writers popping up everywhere because there is an ever-growing demand for fresh online content. There are also a ton of businesses that offer affiliate programs. So if you want to build a business, by promoting other people's businesses, they’ll pay you to do that too.

Remember, the streams of income don’t have to be big — they can trickle in, and you can have as many as you want.

The key is setting them up to see what works, what doesn’t, and what gets you jumping out of bed in the morning.

What’s intriguing are all the things that continue to happen if you actually take that first step and start. As you work your way through the exciting world of Solopreneurship;

  • You’ll learn new current skills and network with like-minded Entrepreneurs/Solopreneurs.
  • You’ll grow personally by leaps and bounds and gain confidence.
  • You’ll discover new things you hadn’t thought of, and you’ll make connections that open more doors.

After I Escaped my 9 to 5 Prison — Life Got Better

“I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and built that bitch myself” — Unknown

A big muscular guy with a dark goatee in a black t-shirt and ball cap on backwards-looking out from behind prison bars
Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

I started in Network Marketing in 2009. Talk about an open-minded group!

Slam the industry all you want, but that important first step flipped my switch from a disgruntled employee to Solopreneur like nothing else.

I developed solid sales skills, gained confidence, travelled, made incredible lifelong friends, learned how to network effectively, and built a tribe. The passive income stream I created continues to grace my bank account today, years after I’ve stopped working that part of my business.

From there, I discovered a training program that was trending online. I joined their affiliate program that taught Network Marketers how to take their traditional businesses online, effectively creating another stream of income with my new skill-set.

Motivated by my control over my time, I decided to write a book, a memoir. It was the most healing and cathartic exercise I’d ever experienced. Using a hybrid publisher meant working through another massive learning curve. I used that experience to help others embark on the same journey.

Through all of that, I’ve managed to help others with my story, and I created my third stream of income.

That’s when I realized I was a pretty good writer. That led me to a writing platform that pays. I enjoy it immensely, and it‘s become my fourth stream of cashola!

I’ve built a website, an email list and an Etsy store as well. I look forward to tackling course creation next as my knowledge base and followers grow.

This past month another network marketer referred me to a Solopreneur podcaster that interviews authors, among others who choose to live fearlessly.

This calculated step provided fresh content for her listeners and will further broaden my audience and help me sell my book.

Networking at its best!

Wrapping it Up

“It’s impossible said pride. It’s risky said experience. It’s pointless said reason. Give it a try said the heart!” — Unknown”

None of the above could be considered a traditional “well-thought-out” business plan by yours truly. It was simply a choice I made years ago to step forward and embrace whatever comes next.

You don’t need to have it all figured out from the start; you’ll find plenty of rabbit holes to jump down… see where they lead.

I laid out my journey to provide you with a real-life example of how one thing leads to another in the online world.

Some income streams will dry up, while others will take off and open you up to others. Go with the flow, there’s no right or wrong choice, and there’s no need to panic because you’ll no longer rely on one source of income.

Maybe you need to stop shrinking into places you’ve outgrown?!

Find your sunny deck, breathe that fresh air and let it inspire you. Ditch that shitty boss that’s holding you back and pivot towards a new happy, and lucrative future.

If this old, “low-risk” chick can do it, you sure can!

Here’s more on the topic…

I’m Liz, a personal growth fanatic that stopped shrinking into places I’ve outgrown. Join my Newsletter to get Medium tips and my best stories.

Boomerangs

Baby Boomers on the Rebound

Thanks to The Startup

Liz Porter

Written by

Happy Solopreneur *Thriver*Author *Founder/Editor of Boomerangs Publication-Empowering & Entertaining with real-life experiences. Website: selfempoweredblog.com

Boomerangs

Move over Millenials, we Baby Boomers are writing about our life experiences! We’re not grumpy old buggers, we’re extremely wise thirty-something-year-olds rebounding online. Boomerangs share life lessons about recovering our power, money, relationships, health, and self-worth.

Liz Porter

Written by

Happy Solopreneur *Thriver*Author *Founder/Editor of Boomerangs Publication-Empowering & Entertaining with real-life experiences. Website: selfempoweredblog.com

Boomerangs

Move over Millenials, we Baby Boomers are writing about our life experiences! We’re not grumpy old buggers, we’re extremely wise thirty-something-year-olds rebounding online. Boomerangs share life lessons about recovering our power, money, relationships, health, and self-worth.

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