At age 27, Joey Healy generates more than $1 million a year in revenue through his New York City eyebrow-styling business—The Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio—as well as a related business that manufactures and sells products such as brow makeup.
Working with clients ranging from actress Kyra Sedgwick to major fashion magazines, Healy says he didn't build the one-man business overnight. In 2009 he began traveling on foot to the apartments of clients living in wealthy Manhattan ZIP codes to style their brows. "I would book my day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Park Avenue," he recalls.
As demand grew, he opened a private eyebrow studio and began charging $115 for a brow styling and soon after negotiated a profit-sharing arrangement with Completely Bare, a spa with four locations in New York, and trained stylists there to use his methodology.
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Healy is one of an elite group of entrepreneurs who are finding that it's possible to "scale up" a business to $1 million in revenue or more without hiring full-time, permanent employees. The U.S. Census Bureau found that there were 28,835 "nonemployer" businesses—those where the owners and partners were the only employees—that broke $1 million in sales or receipts in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.
While these folks work in a variety of industries—from glamorous fields like Healy's to more utilitarian ones, like shipping—they often share certain business practices. Whether you are thinking of starting a one-person business in 2014 or want to grow an existing one, their strategies are worth emulating if you want to get to $1 million in sales and beyond. Here are some of their best practices.