How entrepeneurs can scale their business

How solopreneurs can build a business empire

By Rachelle Waterman
Reviewed by
March 22, 2024
5 minutes read

How to build an empire: A bold query for any small business, but not an unreasonable one.

Starting a small business is no small feat. And growing one? Well, depending on the scale of the empire you’re trying to achieve, that’s a whole other challenge that comes with its own set of needs, goals, and short and long term plans.

Luckily, you’re starting in the right place: asking about how to build an empire, seeking answers, and planting the seeds. Hey, empires have to start somewhere, right?

What is a solopreneur?

If you’re reading this article as a one-person operation, you’re a solopreneur. That means you’re doing it all on your own: running your business, handling the marketing, running payroll, and (hopefully) growing at a sustainable pace. 💪

It’s like an entrepreneur, except for the fact that there’s no investors working in the background, co-founders carrying the load, or a team of staff managing the day to day while you work on your growth plan.

Another difference? As a solopreneur looking to build your business empire, you’re hyper focused. You’re probably not thinking about the multiple arms of a business you can launch to achieve growth. Instead, you’re looking for ways to build and grow one business model in a way that supports your goals and your lifestyle.

What is a business empire?

So, what defines a business empire? What kind of growth achieves “empire” status?

A business empire is a collection of companies under one management. If you’re a solopreneur, you’d be the sole leader of your empire.

As a solopreneur, achieving a business empire requires key work (more on that below), but overall, your growth needs to be quite substantial in whatever area you pursue.

For example, if you’re looking to expand your interior design business into a business empire, you’ll need to focus on areas of growth: Is it global clientele? Multiple branches with hired designers working under your business umbrella and name? Diversifying your offerings to include a wider range of services?

Building an empire can look different depending on the business and the solopreneur. It’s not always brick-and-mortar, and it doesn’t always mean stretching yourself (or your services) thin.

Keep scrolling to learn how to build your business empire in the best way—sustainably.

How to build your business empire: 10 tips for solopreneurs

If you’ve made it this far in the article, the thought of growth and solopreneurship is likely on your I-can-do-this-list… and you can! 👏 With purpose, preparation, networking, and a focus on brand and giving back, you’ll be able to grow at a speed that suits your life and the dreams you have for it.

1. Define your vision and purpose

Those dreams we just mentioned? In business speak, that’s your vision, mission, and purpose.

You’ve probably heard of the first two as “statements.” A vision is what your big goal is—what you’re setting out to achieve. Your mission is what you’re doing to get there. The purpose is your why: why it matters and why you want to wake up every morning to get it done.

Think of these things as your north star to building your business empire. They’ll guide you along the way, helping you stay on course and onward to your destination.

2. Prepare your business for scalability

When you’re building your business empire, you have to do more than just grow—you have to scale. What’s the difference? For one, growing can be costly. New team members, new products, new marketing initiatives… it all adds up, especially if your customer base or their spend isn’t growing at the same speed as you.

Scaling on the other hand is much more sustainable. It’s growth, but at a slower pace. This means your empire is growing but at a speed that you (and your finances) can keep up with.

3. Get your finances in order

One simple rule of building a business empire? You can’t grow what you don’t know.

This means that being wise about your dollars and cents is important, especially when it comes to budgeting for business expansions. Knowing what’s coming in and out of your budgets is key, as well as being able to spot where you can scale back.

Need help with getting everything in order and keeping it that way? You’re in luck—that’s our speciality.

4. Grow your network

You know the saying “it’s who you know, not what you know”? Well, a bit of that is actually true. Networking is a great way to both grow your professional network and build your business empire.

To get started, check out your local Chamber of Commerce or get to know other solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and their networks.

5. Expand your product and service offerings

Looking to build your business empire? Then look at what you currently offer to your clients and customers.

By offering a diverse product and service offering that’s consistent with your brand, you can tap into new customer demographics. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, ask yourself if you’d be willing to work outside of your current boundaries. By adding travel to your business itinerary, you have the option to grow from local to global.

Or maybe you’re a graphic designer, but are a pro when it comes to web development. In this scenario, you may be able to add a wider range of services to your offerings, helping clients to get a fuller package all while helping your business empire grow.

6. Enhance your brand awareness

Enhancing your brand awareness doesn’t mean you have to throw money into traditional marketing. It means you have to throw yourself into your brand. Get to know it, its story, how to sell it, and who to sell it to. Then comes the actual “telling” part.

And remember, the feeling your brand exudes as you tell your story needs to happen often.

“The excitement (the customer) is getting from me needs to continue after they hit buy,” explains Dominique Broadway, Creator & Founder of Finances Demystified.

Find ways to share your story outside of the cart. It will go a long way and stay with customers a long time!

7. Consider outsourcing

By definition, a solopreneur is someone who, well, runs things solo. However, building a business empire doesn’t always have to happen on your own. Outsourcing some of the tasks—especially the menial ones—can be a way to free up your time to do the work that’s critical to growing your business.

“As you add to your team, it should be people who do things that you don’t like to do or that you’re not really good at,” says Ben Schreiner, Head of Business Innovation, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

To do this in a sustainable way, consider services like Fiverr or Upwork to handle some of the things that you don’t always have the time for and can afford to pass onto someone else.

8. Give back to your community

Growth doesn’t happen overnight… or on your own. Sure, being a solopreneur means that you handle most-to-all of the operations, but when it comes to customer support and loyalty, that’s where your community comes in. Remember them as you grow and give back when you can through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, like sponsoring a team or donating to a local non-profit.

It’s good for your reputation and can make a positive impact on the place your business first called home.

9. Think globally

If you want to grow outside of your current market, you’ve got to think on a larger scale—i.e. globally. That means understanding the national or international market, how they work, and how you can be a part of it.

10. Be resilient and persistent

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t worry if your empire takes time to grow or faces hardships along the way. Resilience is key for every business owner, especially those who plan to grow and overcome obstacles along the way.

“Stay focused,” says Zahir Khoja, CEO of Wave. “Understand why you started your business, [and] the problem that you’re solving for your customer, and just do it well. Crush it. Own it. And you will succeed.”

11. Be a continuous learner

If you’re reading this, it means that you’ve already checked one tip off the list: you’re a continuous learner! This is an important part of building a business empire.

Not only do you want to hone your skills, you’ll also want to have a deeper understanding of how the world is continuing to evolve and how your business can keep up with it. Invest in your own education just as much as you invest in the growth of your empire. Take classes, network, ask questions, subscribe to podcasts and newspapers… the list goes on.

By staying curious, you’ll remain open to new opportunities and growth which is what building an empire is based on.

Get started building your empire now

Building a business empire doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen alone. Whether it’s outsourcing, relying on (and giving back to) the community, networking, and using tools to stay on top of finances, even the best solopreneurs need support.

And that’s okay! Business empires rely on people to grow, and not just customers.

Don’t be afraid to get help—even if that’s using Wave to save time on bookkeeping tasks, reaching out to your new virtual assistant to book a 20-minute power nap in your schedule, or hiring that person on Fivrr who can design a logo for your new product in less than 24 hours.

Every little bit of help supports your empire. (Especially that power nap.)

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Unlimited invoices, estimates, bills
Add your logo and brand colors
Automate late payment reminders
with online payments
Wave mobile app
Unlimited bookkeeping records
Dashboard and reports
Auto-import transactions
Auto-merge transactions
Auto-categorize transactions
Add users
Live-person chat and email support
with any paid add-on
Digitally capture unlimited receipts
additional fee
Payroll
additional fee
additional fee
Hire a bookkeeper
additional fee
additional fee
Option to accept online payments
Starting at
2.9% + $0.60
per credit card transaction
Starting at
2.9% + $0*
per credit card transaction
for first 10 transactions/mo
Unlimited invoices, estimates, bills
Add your logo and brand colors
Automate late payment reminders
with online payments
Wave mobile app
Unlimited bookkeeping records
Dashboard and reports
Auto-import transactions
Auto-merge transactions
Auto-categorize transactions
Add users
Live-person chat and email support
with any paid add-on
Digitally capture unlimited receipts
additional fee
Payroll
additional fee
additional fee
Hire a bookkeeper
additional fee
additional fee
starter
Plan
$0
Legacy businesses
New businesses
pro
Plan
$16USD or
$20CAD/mo
starter
Plan
$0
Legacy businesses
New businesses
pro
Plan
$16USD or
$20CAD/mo
Invoicing + payments
Option to accept online payments
(and create unique links with checkouts)
Starting at
2.9% + $0.60
per credit card transaction
Starting at
2.9% + $0.60
per credit card transaction
Starting at
2.9% + $0*
per credit card transaction
for first 10 transactions/mo

Send invoices, estimates, and other docs:

  • via links or PDFs
  • automatically, via Wave
when you add-on online payments
when you add-on online payments
Automate late payment reminders
when you add-on online payments
when you add-on online payments
Add your logo and brand colors
Remove Wave branding from footers
Add attachments to invoices and estimates (coming June 10)
Create reusable message templates (coming June 10)
Invoice and estimate in the mobile app
Accounting
Unlimited bookkeeping records
Auto-import bank transactions
Auto-merge and categorize transactions
Add users to your business
businesses already auto-importing bank transactions and/or that already have users added to their businesses as of May 1, 2024
Digitally capture unlimited receipts
Manage accounting transactions in the mobile app and sync with desktop (NEW!)
when you add-on receipts
when you add-on receipts
Other Wave features
Dashboard and reports
Live-person chat + email support
with any optional add-on
with any optional add-on
Optional add-ons
Receipts
nothing changes
additional fee
included
Payroll
nothing changes
additional fee
additional fee
Advisors
nothing changes
additional fee
additional fee
Invoicing + payments
Option to accept online payments
(and create unique links with checkouts)
Starting at
2.9% + $0.60
per credit card transaction
Starting at
2.9% + $0.60
per credit card transaction
Starting at
2.9% + $0*
per credit card transaction for first 10 transactions/mo
Send invoices, estimates, and other docs via links or PDFs
Send invoices, estimates, and other docs automatically, via Wave
when you add-on online payments
when you add-on online payments
Automate late payment reminders
when you add-on online payments
when you add-on online payments
Add your logo and brand colors
Remove Wave branding from footers
Add attachments to invoices and estimates (coming June 10)
Create reusable message templates (coming June 10)
Invoice and estimate in the mobile app
Accounting
Unlimited bookkeeping records
Auto-import, -merge, and -categorize bank transactions
businesses already auto-importing bank transactions and/or that already have users added to their businesses as of May 1, 2024
Add users to your business
businesses already auto-importing bank transactions and/or that already have users added to their businesses as of May 1, 2024
Digitally capture unlimited receipts
Manage accounting transactions in the mobile app and sync with desktop (NEW!)
when you add-on receipts
when you add-on receipts
Other Wave features
Dashboard and reports
Live-person chat + email support
with any optional add-on
with any optional add-on
Optional add-ons
Receipts
nothing changes
additional fee
included
Payroll
nothing changes
additional fee
additional fee
Advisors
nothing changes
additional fee
additional fee

*While subscribed to Wave’s Pro Plan, get 2.9% + $0 (Visa, Mastercard, Discover) and 3.4% + $0 (Amex) per transaction for the first 10 transactions of each month of your subscription, then 2.9% + $0.60 (Visa, Mastercard, Discover) and 3.4% + $0.60 (Amex) per transaction. Discover processing is only available to US customers. See full terms and conditions for the US and Canada. See Wave’s Terms of Service for more information.

By Rachelle Waterman

The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.

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