The One Person Business – Powered by Productization

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I’ve seen a lot of posts about how AI will allow ‘one person companies’, and feel it’s generally correct – but hasn’t quite been my experience.

The AI Hype vs. Reality

We’ve all heard the buzz about AI agents and how they’re going to revolutionize productivity for solo entrepreneurs. While there’s truth to this, I think it’s more nuanced than the hype suggests. Sure, if you’re an expert who knows how to leverage AI, you can become that mythical 10x engineer or programmer. But here’s the rub: most of us aren’t experts. We’re idea people, myself included. (Insert joke about ‘idea guys‘ here.)

The 99% Problem

I’ve played around with tons of AI tools and agents. They’re impressive, no doubt. I could now code 90-99% of an app using AI. But that last 1%? That’s where things fall apart.

When something breaks or needs troubleshooting – like a security error, payment glitch, or API connection issue – I’m stuck. That tiny 1% becomes a massive roadblock, stopping me from moving forward.

The Agency Opportunity

This gap creates an interesting opportunity for agencies with real experts. They’ll be able to take on more clients, especially as they start training their own specialized AI models.

Imagine a design agency with an AI tool trained on all their past projects and brand assets. That’s not public knowledge – it’s their secret sauce, their competitive edge. They’ll be able to apply AI to the 99% that takes time with custom training, then finish up the final (and vital) 1% by hand. (Internal tools, powered by AI.)

The Future Business Model

So, what does the future one-person business look like? I see it as idea people backed by AI, but more importantly, supported by AI-powered productized agencies.

The New Approach: Agency Stacks

Instead of the old model of hiring full-time employees (which is expensive and risky), the new approach is all about leveraging specialized productized agencies:

  1. Hire an MVP-as-a-service agency to build your initial app (under $5,000)
  2. Get a social media agency like Feedbird or Sarcomms to grow your accounts ($200-$300/month)
  3. Bring in an SEO agency for organic growth ($1,000-$3,000/month)
  4. If you’ve got more cash, add a paid ads agency and a cold email service
  5. Grab a developer as a service package for maintaining the app ($2000-$5000/month)

The Cost Advantage

Here’s the kicker: even with all these specialized services, you’re still spending less than you would on a single software engineer. You’re getting multiple expert teams for under $10,000 a month. (Vs a typical software engineer salary at $11,333 per month.)

The Alignment of Interests

The best part? These agencies want you to succeed. If you go out of business, they lose a customer. They’re motivated to help you grow and become sustainably profitable.

The Power of Experience

Agencies bring a wealth of experience from working with similar businesses. They can apply winning strategies from other clients to your business, saving you time and costly mistakes.

The Future is Here

I’ve tried this approach with SEO and design services, and it’s mind-blowingly simple. I brainstorm ideas (sometimes with AI), put them in a Trello board, and get results days later with minimal effort on my part.

I compare that to the headaches of hiring, taxes, compliance, time-off requests, and even just paying for team communication tools like Slack. The agency model wins hands down.

This is the future of one-person businesses. By leveraging AI and specialized agencies, solo entrepreneurs can build empires without the traditional overhead and risks. It’s a game-changer, and I’m excited to see how it evolves.

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