Here’s How Solo Entrepreneurs Break $1 Million And Live On Their Own Terms

How would you like to join the 221,815 entrepreneurs that are making between $500,000 to $999,999 as a non-employer businesses, a.k.a. one-person businesses?

Photo: Doug Foley; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Doug Foley; Source: Courtesy Photo

How would you like to join the 221,815 entrepreneurs that are making between $500,000 to $999,999 as a non-employer businesses, a.k.a. one-person businesses? Timothy Ferris has done it and countless entrepreneurs will too.

Forbes contributor Elaine Pofeldt reveals how bold entrepreneurs are breaking $1 million in one-person businesses; highlighting the rising trend of lifestyle entrepreneurship.

As more people go online and technology continues to advance, it has become easier to access new fans, acquire clients and create a lifestyle business.


Lifestyle and the Mighty 1,000

The question on everyone’s mind is this: How do I get started?

If you’re thinking about starting a lifestyle business, the first step is to read “1,000 True Fans”, an article on entrepreneurship by Kevin Kelly, the Senior Maverick at Wired magazine which he co-founded in 1993. In Kelly’s article he explains how: “a creator … needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.”

His take is one of the most inspirational pieces on entrepreneurship I’ve read in quite awhile. His perspective on how attainable it can be to make a living by creating value for your truest fans is enlightening.

According to Kelly, “A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce… Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day’s wages per year in support of what you do. That ‘one-day-wage’ is an average, because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that. Let’s peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks.”

Kelly goes on to further explain that, “One thousand is a feasible number. You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable. Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating. It rewards the artist to remain true, to focus on the unique aspects of their work, the qualities that True Fans appreciate.”

I want to re-iterate what Kevin Kelly said (think about it): “You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take three years to reach $100,000/year.”

Kelly penned “1,000 True Fans” in March of 2008, and since then a number of massive technological advances have made entrepreneurship even more accessible – 3D Printing, crowdsourcing and social media to highlight a few.


Tech Democratization Paves the Way

In BOLD, authors Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler share how technology is democratizing the power to change the world. “BOLD spells out how you can spy the opportunities and put your vision into action, blazing a path from mind to market.”

The book also highlights the benefits that crowdfunding and 3D printing are bringing to a new breed of entrepreneurs. One of the most important facts he highlights is the potential of online businesses when more than 5 billion people come online in 2020 – Yes! That’s almost everyone on earth!


Reaching Your True 1,000

In the new economy, scaling to 1,000 True Fans becomes much more attainable as the number of potential customers nearly triples.

What can you do today to reach your 1,000 and create a lifestyle business?


  • Read and Listen.

    There are a a number of free tools that will help you get started. For instance, Pat Flynn the creator of Smart Passive Income is “the crash test dummy of online business, sharing what works (and what doesn’t) so you know exactly how to build your business better.” While entrepreneurs like Tim Ferris, author of the Four Hour Workweek Blog and Podcast deconstructs “world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics and tricks you can use.”

  • Experiment.

    With the sheer growth in crowdfunding and 3D printing, entrepreneurs can validate the demand for their product and create prototypes at a fraction of the cost when compared to 5 years ago.

  • Just Do It!

    Every entrepreneur has one thing in common; they took a chance and learned quickly. The days of leasing a space, buying cost-prohibitive equipment and inventory are gone. There are so many budget-friendly alternatives to start a business. Just do it! Pick your idea and get started.

Most importantly, enjoy the happiness in your pursuit!


This article has been edited and condensed.

Doug Foley is a marketer, entrepreneur, and strategic thinker who frequently writes about marketing strategies that small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs can use to immediately implement to jump start their growth. Connect with @douglasjfoley on Twitter.


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