illustration of The Solopreneur and AI assistants

The Solopreneur and AI assistants

My thoughts about how solopreneurs and indie hackers can leverage AI tools to delegate work tasks without having employees or paying freelancers.


I have been using custom GPTs for myself since they were released, for example my personal "Health Bro" that knows my exact body values (weight, strength, diet, ...) and my fitness goals hardcoded in its system prompt, uses a Gym-Bro tone to make discussions more enjoyable and I ask about any question I have rgarding to health/fitness topics. Basically my personal assistant that can tailor advice exactly to my personal circumstances.

On top of that, I have been using ChatGPT via API for a lot of work tasks in my day job already, mostly for single shot prompting repeatedly. Classify some data, generate some summary, usual stuff. Works extremely well nowadays, given that I manage to build up sufficient context and have a clear task description before using the LLMs.

Now that I am starting to get into solopreneurship, I started realizing that these AI tools actually have several benefits when used in a certain way. I can create an Agent that is specialized on a very narrow field, delegate jobs-to-be-done to it, and a few seconds later have a good enough result. This is actually much better than having ordinary employees doing a similar job for me! Why?

"Good Enough" is the key

Of course real human experts in a field (currently) produce far better and novel outcomes than state of the art LLMs. But takes much longer than a few seconds to get there. And lets face it: most people are in the average part of the bell curve. So assuming that a good GPT prompt will produce average quality results, its significantly faster in doing so.

Another aspect: no drama involved in iterations. If I want something differently, especially when I framed my initial context or task not right, its not a deal at all. With humans, that can be a different story.

And the final point is that for most (business-related) tasks, the bar for "good enough" is relatively low. If I need some dummy illustration for a powerpoint chart or a throwaway website experiment, the previous way was to either purchase some stock image or have a designer in reach that assembles something when he has the time. Now I can prompt DALL-E a few times and get something that is okay-ish for the purpose. Instantly. And sometimes even a really cool idea to be honest!

Operational Advantages

Even as a solopreneur or indie hacker, the topic "operations" is important. This could also be because of my deep background in devops, but hear me out: the goal of an indie hacker is to bring creative/radical/copycat projects to life somehow, as fast and cheap as possible, build an audience, and keep iterating or trying the next thing of interest. And in that processes, there are a lot of work tasks that, well, are not universally liked.

An example is an developer that goes into solopreneurship (like myself): it hurts to realize that no matter what you build or how awesome it is, nobody will even see it by default. Nobody knows that you or your product exists. So you have to get into Marketing and Sales roles and probably realize the actual coding part is maybe 30% of the time spent in total! And developers, broadly speaking, produce really bad marketing material... except when the audience are other developers. In this case, the "good enough" output by the LLM actually is better than what painful hours of trying to write copy will ever produce.

So my point is that all steps from initial thoughts over shipping a solution up to marketing dances should be mapped out by everyone. Then you can roughly pinpoint which tasks in the flow you don't like or are honestly bad at, and build some AI assistant that does it for you on-demand and for free. That way everyone can focus on the parts they actually like doing, and "delegate" the others to machines. And technically speaking, that strategy is an advantage over many competitors consisting of multiple employees/teams, since they have to align/discuss/produce anything much slower. And even though they ultimately might produce a superior end result, the clever solopreneur already has shipped several advanced iterations based on customer feedback or two more products in the same time.

And there are solopreneurs that come from an engineering background, but also folks that have a somewhat technical understanding that love the marketing/sales side but hate the actual coding phases - but even coding is becoming much simpler every other month now, with a wealth of boilerplates to jumpstart a project and tools like Copilot and Cursor for direct code gen with in-project context.

I assume now that every step along the journey can be significantly boosted by AI assistants.

Future Prediction

I firmly believe that the new meta won't be startups competing against enterprises to become billionaires themselves, but rather many solopreneurs that literally outmaneuver or even steamroll traditional companies. Except for very capital-intensive industries of course.

These indie hackers can ship at a pace that most multi-person companies can not compete with and don't have to compromise or restrict themselves for "policy" reasons. The goal is to have a lifestyle business (and of course make some serious money), but not neccessarily the "change the world" attitude or becoming some monopoly in a market. They usually don't need or take traditional funding but bootstrap instead, making "Investors" rather obsolete, and they don't have shareholders forcing them to grow beyond their comfort zones.

Even if the worst case happens and the self-built products don't make money, the fallback option always is freelancing for the remaining companies (or contracted work for the successful solopreneurs that still could need some human help). Their company isn't strictly tied to a single product or business model, there aren't specialized employees to take care of.

Assuming that AI will continue to get much better every year now, I think that will be the critical accelerator where more and more people realize the new situation. Execution of new ideas/products will get faster and cheaper, more and more traditional human roles can get replaced with a good enough AI agent. Prices for any given new product/service will fall since more and more people can compete on their own, and only solopreneurs with truly lean operations can survive in that kind of market, whereas bigger companies with lots of overhead will struggle more and more.

I'd like to be part of that movement now, lets see if my assumptions hold true!

  • Number of words: 1080
  • Reading time: 6 minutes
  • Posted: 1 months ago

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