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One-person Businesses: How to Make an App Startup Alone

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Those from tech industry like to say: humans don’t scale. And in some cases, it is 100% true. Such companies are usually called one-person businesses.

Apart from the salary, employees require a bunch of additional perks like office space, bathrooms, health insurance, and supervisor that also requires perks. Which is why some projects and businesses are better off without people.

If you think that way too, you’re not alone. Hopefully, there are more than 20 million one-person businesses in the U.S. Almost ¾ of all businesses in the country. So you’re in a good company.

Business Idea Validation

Now, you want to be a solopreneur? Wait a second before turning this way. First, you need to check whether your business idea is suitable for the solo journey.


Could you scale up your business without hiring full-time employees? Affirmation means you can process all routine tasks by just making one-time payments to specialists. Like paying a lawyer for a contract template preparation, paying accountant at the end of each month only, etc.

On the other hand, if your core income-generating business process relies on additional workers – then you probably can’t grow a solo business. Unless you want to limit your income.


At a certain point you may face the need for additional capital to scale your business. You know: advertising, freelancers, product enhancements and relocation – all requires some money.

This is where you can look for a partner, go to the bank, or bootstrap your business. If your business model can afford the interest on loans or you’re able to feed the business by yourself then you can be a solopreneur.
In addition, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great places to fund your project too. As well as conferences and event for startups.

Product Development

If you’re heading into software world, you better ensure that you possess required skills and proficiency level to develop a software app. You may not be a superb CTO for a startup, but at least you should have relevant knowledge and expertise.

In case with software development, outsourcing is the most viable way to cut expenses and gain the expertise you need without investing your own time into learning programming.

Moreover, by outsourcing software development to India, you can cut costs as much as 60% but there is usually a big tradeoff between money and quality. On average, though, app development outsourcing can cut costs by 30% according to Telegraph.

But outsourcing software development is only the part of a plan. You won’t be a solopreneur if you’ll be required to do all the maintenance work onshore. Which is why by outsourcing product development you should also be prepared to pass offshore all the maintenance works.

Now, if your idea matches all three of this core demands, you can start a one-person business.

TOP 5 One-person Million Dollar Companies

Finally, we prepared a list of one million dollars in revenue companies that started out as one-person businesses.

  1. Amazon 177,9 billion dollars in revenue. roadly known e-commerce company nowadays. But it has started as an online bookstore by Jeff Bezos on his own in his garage.
  2. eBay 8,97 billion dollars in revenue. Computer engineer Pierre Omidyar wrote the code for an online auction website called Auction Web. The first item sold was a broken laser pointer. Now, this website is called eBay.
  3. Plenty of Fish Sold by 575 million in cash. This is a first dating website made solo by computer engineer Markus Frind. Now it creates 1 million relationships a year.
  4. Jon Oringer 1 billion in net worth. A founder and now CEO of Shutterstock, one of the biggest American stock photography, footage, and music provider.
  5. DuckDuckGo 1 million dollars in revenue in 2015. Gabriel Weinberg created an Internet search engine that actually successfully withstands Google pressure and processes over 1 billion queries a year.

It must be acknowledged that 9 out of 10 examples of solopreneurs are from a tech industry and computer engineers themselves. Hopefully, now is the time when the luck in computer knowledge can be easily covered by outsourcing.

10 years ago there was no such thing as software development outsourcing. It was an expensive business (mainly because of connectivity issues) that only big tech giants like Microsoft and Cisco could afford.

For example, we’ve got Drophook case study. This is a great example of a one-person business venture that grew from the hobby. The client is fond of fishing and eventually, he has created a successful app for professional and amateur fishers.

Hopefully, now the prices are much lower compared to the average rates in the U.S. In addition, you don’t need to rent an office for your foreign team of programmers or freak out about legal issues. Outsourcing now is the well-developed business practice that allows solopreneurs to grow their software products with minimum expenses and without profound tech knowledge.


There are two most effective ways to get a necessary sum for an app development. You can either find investors and share your concept with them or use fast crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Many startupers consider developing MVP and releasing a pilot version of an app with limited number of features to check the users’ engagement. Such approach is cost effective and it provides real feedback that helps to identify what exactly can be improved or which features should be added next.

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