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6 min read

A New Way to Look At Scaling Your Solopreneur Business

scale your solopreneur business

Scaling is something that many solopreneurs hope to achieve once they’ve figured out their base business. Successful scaling is a matter of breaking down the business into simple pieces and making decisions in small steps.

There’s lots of advice on how to scale your business but it tends to be very cookie-cutter. Every solopreneur business is unique, and to me, it helps to break the challenges into their root components so that you can determine which strategies will help you.

I haven’t seen this perspective anywhere else. Let me know if you think it is helpful.

Scaling up a business involves one or more of the following:

  1. Get more customers
  2. Sell more to your existing customers

But scaling as a solopreneur is different from scaling as a regular business. If a regular business gets more customers or sells more products, it can hire more employees to deliver the products and services. But it’s not so simple for solopreneurs, who have limited time and fewer options for expanding capacity. Therefore, there is a third step that needs to be factored in:

  1. Deliver more efficiently to your customers

Improvements in any one of these categories can help you scale up. Improvements in all three can be amazing.

Getting More Customers

How you get customers can be looked at on a continuum from what I call Hunting to Zero Touch. This relates to the level of effort involved in getting a new customer. I’ve laid it out here in what I call the Customer Acquisition Effort Scale.


Hunting: You must find each prospect and convert them into a customer

High Effort





Referrals: Something sends the prospect to you, and you convert them to a customer

Medium Effort





Zero Touch: Prospects become customers with no direct effort to convert on your part.

Low Effort

Customer Acquisition Effort Scale


This is the most time-intensive way to sell because you are out looking for and closing new customers. It involves things like:

  1. Finding new prospects
  2. Engaging the prospect
  3. Selling the prospect
  4. Closing the first sale

Often times this results in a "feast-or-famine" situation because you get busy producing work for customers, and you don't have time for prospecting. When you finish the work, there's not enough new work in the pipeline because you stopped prospecting. Then you go back to looking for a business instead of producing revenue and the pattern repeats.


Here you've built some kind of system to deliver prospects to your doorstep. Traditionally this was thought of as word-of-mouth, but these days there are many other ways to drive opportunities to you with little effort. Affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, pay-per-click advertising, organic social media, or perhaps a lead-gen agency are all options today. But once the prospect comes to you, you need to close them. This reduces the feast-or-famine problem because you spend less time finding opportunities, though you still need to close them. This is a Medium Touch sale.

Zero Touch

In this case, customers come to you and buy from you without you interacting with them. Online retail is an example of this kind of selling. Opportunities for selling this way are usually limited to lower-cost items or items that are well-understood and trusted by the customer. However, by building a top-notch reputation, you can increase the price point of online sales.

Where You Should Be On the Customer Acquisition Effort Scale

Where you target for Customer Acquisition Effort depends on the nature of your business. Unless you are selling a low-cost product like an app, a low-cost online course, or have an online retail store, many solopreneurs start on the Hunting end of the spectrum, often using relationships to generate leads.

If you are selling something like one-one coaching or a high-priced software product, it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve anything close to a No-Touch sale. In one case you're selling yourself, in the other, you’re asking for a big check and so should expect some up-front effort to make it happen.

If you are selling, say, dog toys online, it's fairly easy to imagine being on the No-Touch end of the scale from the start. People come to your website, see the dog toy, and order it online. Your website and associated marketing activities can refer the customer to you with little effort per customer, though there may be work in creating content, posting to social media, and so on. But individual sales do not cost you much time to close. In fact, it wouldn't be feasible financially if they did.

Even if you have a very High-Touch Sale, there are things you can do here to move to the right in the Customer Acquisition Continuum:

  1. Finding new opportunities: Use affiliate marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, social media, and so on to drive people to your site. This beats cold-calling from a time-investment perspective and is often more effective in the long run.

  2. Engaging the prospect: Find a virtual assistant to vet opportunities so you don't spend time on deals that don't make sense. Or use an online questionnaire to determine the viability of the deal.

  3. Selling the prospect: Put social proof on your website from satisfied customers. Produce some content or other material that can help convey that you are the right fit for the job.

  4. Closing the sale: This may still involve you, but you could contract with an experienced salesperson to handle the closing process. This will likely be expensive but can be worthwhile if the time you gain back is more valuable than what you pay them or you are terrible at sales and need someone else to do it.

Getting Repeat Sales

Being more effective at selling to existing customers is a powerful way to scale your business. This can range from re-selling to recurring. This relates to the level of effort involved in selling to an existing customer.

Re-selling means selling a new product to existing customers from scratch; it’s usually a lot of effort unless it's a low-cost product. Re-signing means selling the same product gain to the customer. This is less effort since they’ve bought once but still involves some work on your part and it requires that you sell a product that needs to be bought more than once. While recurring means it happens by itself and there is no effort by you. I’ve laid it out here in what I call the Repeat Sales Effort Scale.


Re-selling: You have to engage customers and sell them something new.
High Effort Repeat Sale





Re-signing: You sell the customer the same thing over and over.
Medium Effort Repeat Sale





Recurring: The customer basically subscribes to your offering.
Low Effort Repeat Sale

Repeat Sale Effort Scale

Doing a good job for the customer can make repeat sales easier. But if you can find ways to move right on this continuum, you will be able to scale your business much more effectively.

Some strategies for moving to the right in the Repeat Sales Continuum are:

  1. Continue to engage your customers with valuable content after the sale so that re-engaging them is easier.

  2. Create new products that are consumable in some form so customers will purchase them again.

  3. Develop subscription-based products that people pay for monthly or annually.


Once you make a sale, you need to deliver something to the customer to actually earn the revenue. How revenue is earned is on a continuum from High Effort to No Effort. The Fulfillment Effort Scale is shown below.


High Effort: Fulfilling the sale involved a lot of work.
Coaching, consulting, freelance work, etc.



Medium Effort: Fulfilling the sale involves some level of effort. Customizing or updating a pre-existing product.



Low Effort:
Fulfilling the sale involves a small amount of effort.
E-commerce, etc.



No Effort: Fulfilling the sale involves no effort. Pre-recorded videos, courses, e-books etc.

Fulfillment Effort Scale

The easier it is to deliver your product, the easier it is to scale up. If you are a coach and all your available coaching time is booked, getting more customers is pointless since you won’t be able to fulfill the sale as you have no more time to coach.

If you can reduce the effort to fulfill by offloading some of the work and/or creating an easier-to-deliver product, you can scale your business. There are several different approaches you can use to move or expand your business to the right on the Fulfillment Effort Scale.

For example, you could:

  1. Automate business processes

  2. Outsource some of the jobs that need to be done

  3. “Deputize” outside contractors or partners to deliver their products and share revenues

  4. Create a group session where several people are paying you for the same hour of time

  5. Create a paid online course that requires only a small amount of your time

  6. Produce a paid online video series or e-book that requires no effort to deliver

What Should You Do?

Moving your business to the right on any of these three scales will help you to increase revenue and profit. But it is important to be sure that when you do, you will have the capacity to deliver. This includes your ability to produce as well as the availability of the necessary working capital. If you keep these factors in mind, this could be the start of a new phase of growth for your business.


Like getting the inside scoop on how to be a successful solopreneur? Join our free community of solopreneurs to learn a thing or two, get your questions answered, share knowledge with others, and build your network. 

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