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21 DAYS AGO • 5 MIN READ

The One-Person Business Framework

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It took me 8 years to make my first full-time hire.

Three months later, I was back working by myself.

Those three months were enjoyable. I had more time to work on my business, sales went up, and it was less lonely. But the stress of paying a salary and managing someone else outweighed the benefits.

For me, owning a business is about creating your ideal life. And my ideal life is all about autonomy. The more overheads and HR issues you have, the less freedom you get.

That’s why the One-Person Business Framework appeals to me so much.

With today's tools at your disposal, you can grow a highly profitable and scalable business by yourself. I believe this model is the future for creative entrepreneurs.

Look at people like Justin Welsh and Dan Koe. Their one-person businesses make over $1,000,000 a year selling scalable digital products. They focus on high-leverage tasks like content and offer creation, and have a blend of income and freedom that is unfathomable to the majority of society.

This idea hit home recently during conversations with three different agency owners. One has let go of her employees and is going solo. The other two are struggling for work and considering layoffs. They’re on the hamster wheel - needing to cover the costs of offices, employees, and other expenses every month.

The leaders of these agencies are creative and talented. They could use the one-person business framework to enjoy the benefits of owning a business without the stress.

Here are the 7 key parts of the One-Person Business Framework:

  1. Brand
  2. Distribution
  3. Audience
  4. Skills
  5. Offers
  6. Tech
  7. Talent

Let’s break down each part and look at how to get started.

1. Brand

Your brand is what people think of when they hear your name.

The strongest one-person businesses have a unique worldview and own words/phrases in their audience’s minds.

For example, Justin Welsh believes building a business is about freedom, and owns the word "Solopreneur.”

Greg Isenberg owns the word "Community," and believes building community-first businesses is the future.

One person businesses are built on the foundation of owning a worldview and word/phrase.

2. Distribution

To grow a successful one-person businesses, you need distribution. In others words, getting your message out at scale through channels like social media and PR.

A good distribution system allows you to be everywhere online.

For example, you can create a newsletter and use that as the basis of a YouTube video, podcast and all your social media content.

Some people master distribution through speaking and networking. This can work if social media isn’t your thing, but it limits your reach.

Whatever approach you take, getting distribution is vital for growth.

3. Audience

Great distribution will attract a following of your target audience, but that is only one part of the equation.

It’s crucial to capture the attention you generate and turn it into an owned audience.

This could be an email list, WhatsApp group, or Skool community.

An owned audience gives you a direct line to communicate with your audience to build trust and sell your offers. Unlike a social media following, this audience can’t be taken from you.

4. Skills

As a one-person business, you need a unique skill-stack.

Your core skill is what you’re an expert in, but you’ll also need to master other high-leverage skills, such as:

  • AI
  • Design
  • Persuasion
  • Automation
  • Networking
  • Copywriting
  • Social media

The more you invest time and resources into developing your skill-stack, the more you future-proof your one-person business.

5. Offers

Once you have a brand and owned audience, you can monetise though a ladder of offers.

This ladder can range from low-cost digital products to paid memberships and high-value coaching or services.

Entrepreneur Daniel Priestley suggests every modern business should have the following 4 types of offers:

  1. Free resources (E.g. Lead magnets)
  2. Low-cost products for prospects (E.g. A book)
  3. A core product offering (E.g. Group coaching)
  4. High-value products for long-term clients (E.g. Bespoke services)

Having this ladder of offers in place allows you to guide your audience from strangers to customers and high-value clients.

6. Tech

The one-person business framework is possible thanks to tools like ChatGPT, no-code software and automation. Every process within marketing, sales, operations and accounting has affordable technology to help streamline and automate your one-person business.

For example, in my business I am using:

  • Convertkit - For email marketing, landing pages and digital product sales
  • ChatGPT - For research, transcription and content strategy
  • Canva - For visual designs
  • G-suite - For email, documents and cloud storage
  • Calendly - For booking meetings and taking coaching payments

All of these tools offer powerful automations and integrations which can save 100s of hours per year.

And the beauty is you only need a handful of tools to create an efficient and streamlined one-person business.

7. Freelancers

While you can do everything yourself, you can also access the global talent pool to get specific tasks done once you reach a certain size.

This could include an assistant to handle emails and customer service, or a designer or videographer to elevate your content.

You can access the best talent, when you need it, for a fraction of the cost of an employee, through platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.

Allowing you to focus on doing the high-value work that you love.

Actioning The Framework

Here are 7 ways to take action on this framework:

  1. Define a worldview and word/phrase you can own for your personal brand
  2. Choose one social media channel to master and grow on
  3. Develop a content system so you can distribute consistently
  4. Learn a new high-value skill like AI, copywriting or design
  5. Map out an offering for each stage of the offer ladder
  6. Research what tools you could use to streamline your business
  7. Hire a freelancer to handle low-value and time-consuming tasks

Case Studies

Justin Welsh

Justin Welsh is a leading example of the one-person business. After burning out in startup land, he quit his job and started writing online. A few years later, he's the top voice on LinkedIn and has made over $5 million selling two low-cost digital products.

Zoe Dew

Closer to home, my sister Zoe Dew is another great example. After leaving her role running operations for a high-profile entrepreneur, Zoe eclipsed her previous salary within one year of going solo. She owns the word ‘Offer,’ has unique worldviews like ‘you need action, not more information,’ and is consistently distributing content to a small yet engaged following, whilst expanding her offer ladder. She has both enviable income and autonomy.

Conclusion

Business building is changing.

Success is no longer about how much investment you raise, the number of employees you have, the size of your office, or the car in your driveway. Entrepreneurs are using tools like AI and social media to build intentional, highly profitable one-person businesses without the headaches of traditional models. Optimising for freedom, health and sufficient income.

What did you think of this framework? Hit reply and let me know.

Can You Help Me?

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See you next week for another framework.

Garth

NO SUNDAY BLUES

Stories & insights on building a fulfilling business & life

Landing in your inbox - every Saturday

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