Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

6 Tips to Be a Successful Solopreneur

If you're a writer looking to build and monetize your personal platform, or you're hoping to leave your corporate job to become a solo entrepreneur, you will love Jon Acuff's story.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you're a writer looking to build and monetize your personal platform -- or you're hoping to leave your corporate job to become a solopreneur -- you will love Jon Acuff's story.

Acuff is a New York Times bestselling author of five books and an in-demand speaker who has appeared on stage for clients such as Whirlpool, Microsoft and Comedy Central. He's a social media influencer with more than 275,000 followers and his blog posts have been read by 4 million people.

How did he do it?

Well, if you've read his books, you've followed his story. He left his corporate job for his dream, started a business and reinvented himself a few times along the way.

Before going solo, Acuff worked his way up in an advertising career, eventually writing for brands such as The Home Depot, Staples and later landed his dream job, writing and speaking for the Dave Ramsey team. After taking the leap? He had his best financial year ever and books speaking gigs a year.

Here are his six key steps to leaving your job, creating great work and achieving solo success.

1. Just start

Acuff launched his first blog, a satire site called Stuff Christians Like, while still employed. What finally prompted him to start writing?

"My frustration level eclipse my laziness level, where I was just tired of not writing the kind of stuff I wanted to write," he says.

So, he woke up early, wrote then went to work. After launching the blog, he sent it to about 100 friends. On day nine, he had thousands of views and friends of friends were sharing it with him, not knowing he'd wrote it. He'd hit the blog lottery. But he made it there by posting around five posts per day. He kept up that pace, which eventually led to a book deal and some free speaking gigs. One of those speaking gigs was for the Dave Ramsey team -- leading to his eventual employment years later.

If you're considering pursuing your passion, now is the time, Acuff says. There's never been a better time in history to launch an idea or start a business.

"All the gatekeepers are gone except the hardest one, which is you," he says. "There is no one stopping you."

2. Be patient

Acuff warns that leaving your corporate job will take some recovery time. He says most people want to jump right in, but to get your feet under you, you need about three months for each year you were employed there.

Another mistake is rushing ideas to market. You need to "give yourself time to develop good ideas." The longer he can sit on an idea, he says, the better.

"They are confusing the ease of getting an idea online with the need to do it that second," he says. "So just because it's easy to sell a class doesn't mean you're ready to sell a class."

This also means you should put in the time and become an established industry leader before publishing a "business card" book.

"Develop your authority [first]. Never write a book to establish your authority," he says. "Books are hard and they're not for everybody. It's not failure if you don't write a book."

3. Be authentic

Acuff is not a fan of the current "expert marketing" trends. For example, he explained that while people would buy it, he wouldn't try to teach people how to grow a speaking career, because his experiences are not replicable. It's paramount that you're authentic, Acuff says.

"Go get more expertise, be honest about what your strengths are that you can share and sell, and be honest about what you can't," he says.

4. Stay flexible

Acuff is a writer who wants to write, but he knows that's not enough today. He also creates video content, email marketing promotions and online courses.

"I'm a writer, so doing videos is new to me. And that's taken time to get comfortable with," he says. "I'm like everybody else, I don't love change. I'm not like, "Yay, my whole model is upside down.' I've really seen the impact."

If you want to get your message out into the world, you have to adapt to different methods of sharing that message.

5. Stay hungry

Acuff started his path to New York Times bestseller with around five posts a day. Today, as an established author, he still writes four hours a day. He also spends years researching, writing and rewriting each book. His smartphone has thousands of photos and ideas for posts, tweets and instagram images. He's studied more than 100 comedians.

"I'll give a speech 50 times and hone it each time," he says.

Though he's spoken professionally for seven years, he does not consider himself an "expert" speaker.

6. Always serve

When Acuff had the idea to help people reach their goals in 30 days, he gave the program away for free for more than a year. When he is hired to speak, one of his first questions to the company's event planner is "how can I make you look like a rock star?" He is active in his Facebook fan communities, has attended fan organized events and hosts free meetups across the country.

Though accomplished, Acuff maintains his position, writing "from the trenches" rather than as an authority. He shares openly and honestly in his writing, because he remembers what it felt like to be without support.

"I'm always trying to write to the me I used to be," he says, "who didn't have a community, who felt like the only weirdo who wanted to do a dream."

Watch more videos from "The Pursuit" on the show's YouTube channel.

Related: 5 Lessons to Help You Become an Industry Disruptor

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical and provides partners with distribution on as well as our apps on Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple TV.

Click here to become a part of this growing video network.


2020 in Photos: A New Book Captured the Year that Changed Everything

Christina Hawatmeh, the CEO and founder of Scopio, a community-based image marketplace, talks about her new book, 'The Year Time Stopped: The Global Pandemic in Photos' with Entrepreneur's Jessica Abo.

Geoff Alexander of Wow Bao on Branding Dark Kitchens

Interview with Geoff Alexander, CEO and President of Wow Bao, about improving your online brand presence, digital ordering innovations, and letting go in order to grow.

3 Ways Your Brain Reacts to Uncertainty

Here's Ben Angel's three-step plan to control your emotions and achieve your goals.

How a Throwaway Joke Became an Award-Winning Ad Campaign

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, Creative Director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners Tristan Graham and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss the birth of a very funny (and impactful) commercial.

How This Amazing Campaign Succeeded in Changing a Brand's Perception and People's Lives at the Same Time

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Group Creative Director Tony Jones gives the heartwarming story of how Operation Santa finally took off.

How this Tech Entrepreneur, Biohacker, and Author is Helping Women with Their Periods

The founder and CEO of Flo Living on the future of biohacking and hormonal healthcare.

Duce Raymond of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ on Using Social Media Like a Boss

Interview with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Catering Culinary Director Duce Raymond about his fresh approach to social media content marketing and huge results with short video for the already world-famous brand.

The Key to Effectively Communicating Important Messages Is All About Simplicity

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, award-winning Group Creative Director Giancarlo Rodas and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss distilling complex ideas down to a simple message.

How to Deliver a Serious Message Through Humor

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Creative Director David Stevanov explains how humor can be a storyteller's most effective tool.

This Successful Shark Tank Entrepreneur Shares His Latest Innovation

The Founder of Ooonimals, Club 44, and the OOO Studio Lab talks about his current projects and what you need to know about the risks and rewards that exist in the NFT space.

Brendan Sweeney of Popmenu on How Ego is the Root of All Evil

Interview with Popmenu CEO Brendan Sweeney about building a positive user experience, the state of restaurant technology, and the importance of providing answers.

Recession-Proof Your Mindset with Neuroscience

With top economists fearing a recession, award-winning author Ben Angel teaches how to recession-proof your mindset with neuroscience to manage stress levels.

How to Find Your "Oxygen Points" to Sustain and Grow Your Business, According to an Investment CEO

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with the CEO of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, Dr. Adil Alzarooni.

How to Get Investment Funding for Your Business

Entrepreneur magazine's Editor-in-Chief Jason Feifer and Narya Partner Falon Donohue have a lively and informative conversation about securing the funding you need to launch your dream.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.