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5 Ways Solopreneurs Can Scale Their Business Through Collaboration Our culture loves to perpetuate the myth that entrepreneurs must go it alone. But for many, the path to success is found in collaboration.

By Christie Horsman Edited by Maria Bailey

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing tech platforms that offer community
  • Working from a coworking space
  • Attending in-person conferences and events
  • Teaming up with a partner
  • Finding a mentor

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There's no shortage of examples of successful solopreneurs who have forged their own path to grow ground-breaking businesses. They're often held up as people who value autonomy and control and who approach business building like it's a hero's journey.

But I believe our culture has blown the "solo" part of solopreneurship out of proportion, leading many would-be entrepreneurs and creators to feel like they have to go it alone. And while solopreneurs are solely responsible for making decisions about their businesses, it doesn't mean they have toil away independently on every aspect of it. Doing so can actually be detrimental.

Many successful entrepreneurs find ways to involve others for support and guidance and to create a shared journey. Through my work with creators, many of whom are solopreneurs, I've seen how this approach can be transformational. For example, for many years, my company has hosted an event in which women of color within the creator economy have shared their experiences. We found that creating space for these solopreneurs led to record-breaking attendance. It's all part of a larger movement that has seen solopreneurs come together in real life and on virtual platforms to leverage the power of community and collaboration.

Related: 5 Ways for Solopreneurs to Sustain Momentum and Thrive

As a solopreneur, you are part of something bigger

The growing number of solopreneurs has effectively changed the face of our economy. Today more than 80% of American small business owners operate without any staff. For some, this works well.

But I've noticed that many creators, for example, go into their journey with the mistaken belief that if they can't figure it out on their own, they're not cut out for entrepreneurship. The reality is that stoically resisting help or not seeking out support or community can lead to loneliness, burnout and even depression.

Working with others is powerful, and many brands are tapping into this movement and finding ways to facilitate inspiration and connection by bringing their communities together – whether it's around e-commerce, crowdfunding, fitness or other aspects of life and business. The cliche really is true: we may go faster alone, but we often go farther together. Embracing a community-based approach can lead to tangible benefits.

The power of finding your people (and places)

Broadening your definition of solopreneurship isn't just about finding people to work with though. It can also be about uncovering solutions you didn't know existed, getting access to information or guidance from people who have been there, or even just having a place to go when you need a break from your home office. Here are a few of the ways I've seen individuals take a collaborative approach to solopreneurship – and reap the benefits:

Choosing tech platforms that offer community

We've all experienced the rise of online communities – public and private – but consider the unifying force of tech tools that support people in achieving specific goals. Whether it's launching a course or implementing a payment system, you'll find people rallied around platforms offering concrete solutions. Choose your platforms wisely, and you'll end up with more than just tools; you may find new colleagues, collaborators and a wealth of shared expertise.

Working from a coworking space

Anyone who's ever worked from home – or launched a business from their basement – understands the value of a good coworking space. Beyond situating you among peers, they offer rich gathering spaces for solopreneurs who want to network, learn, and enjoy the creative energy of others. Research has shown that people thrive in coworking spaces thanks to the collective boost in productivity and creativity – and that they can also be a great antidote to burnout.

Attending in-person conferences and events

Ever since Covid put a pause on live events, it's been tough for many of us to get back into the swing of it. But there are benefits to immersing yourself in a room full of strangers – particularly the opportunity to forge deeper connections. Sharing new experiences with other people in person can lead to the kinds of bonds you just don't get over Zoom (and making that in-person investment can open up other ways to maximize your returns there, too.)

Teaming up with a partner

Collabs are still having their moment, but they can be more than just a trendy way to build an audience. I get genuinely excited when I see solopreneurs I follow come together because I've seen how great collaborations can effectively fill business gaps. Plus, good partnerships can also uncover new opportunities, boost revenue and even fuel innovation. Sure, there can be risks to collaborations too, but as long as you stay true to your goals and your brand, you stand to benefit.

Related: Solopreneurs are Changing the Face of the Economy

Finding a mentor

Much like peers, mentors offer business advice based on their lived experience, but they also bring the wisdom of seniority. But if the intimidation factor of approaching a mentor is holding you back, you can always start more informally. Many solopreneurs give back to their communities by sharing their learnings through courses or live events. Start by following people you admire and see what it can lead to.

However you choose to expand your definition of solopreneurship, keep in mind that inviting others into your journey doesn't negate your success; at the end of the day, the buck still stops with you. By piecing together a new narrative about the realities of solopreneurship, we can start to normalize the idea that creators and entrepreneurs don't need to walk this road alone. And sometimes, just knowing that help – and a shoulder to lean on – is out there can go a long way toward boosting resilience, capacity, and the determination to keep going.

Christie Horsman

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

VP of Marketing

Christie Horsman is the VP of Marketing at Thinkific, a software platform that enables entrepreneurs to create, market, sell, and deliver their own online courses.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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