If my vision of our 21st century economic future is correct, your choice regarding a micro-business is not whether you will participate in a micro-business, but when.
I see a future in which a greater number of skilled individuals will look forward to developing their own micro-business, rather than spending their entire career as an employee. To frame what I am about to say, I will use these definitions from Lloyd Lemons, a twenty-year micro-business owner:
Micro-business owners are people who refer to themselves as soloists, independents, consultants, craftsmen, artists, freelancers, and free agents. Perhaps a more meaningful way to define the micro-business owner is as an idealistic individual who shuns the corporate life for something smaller, simpler, and more personally rewarding.
Lloyd has also captured the rewards that comes from creating your own micro-business.
What a micro-business should be about…
1. It should be about bending the world a little, to fit your purpose, by doing something you truly enjoy doing.
2. It’s about being a catalyst for your own ideas, and not a facilitator for someone else’s.
3. It’s about personal freedom, largely brought about the integration of working and living.
If you can get your wits around that incredible vision, we can go on to discuss how you might choose a micro-business. The range of opportunities and lifestyles is vast.
You can provide consulting services for businesses and offer them flexibility and responsiveness that they cannot match with in-house resources. If you have the contacts and experience, this is a highly remunerative activity with many of the perks of corporate life. You get to wear power suits, carry a briefcase, and wear at least two kinds of electronic messaging systems. You also get to attend meetings with powerful people in distant places, so your frequent flyer miles accumulate and you stay current on the restaurants of a dozen cities. The only downside is that you are so closely locked to the rhythms of corporate life that you are for all intents and purposes, a contracted corporate employee without a benefits package.
At a less stratospheric level, you run your own business, either by yourself or with assistance from a small staff. You have developed a range of products or services and a means to deliver them profitably to customers on a regular basis so that your company continues to flourish and prosper. You call the shots and you ensure that customers are pleased with your service. Your customers refer other customers to you so your advertising costs stay at an acceptable level. You have all of the problems that any CEO faces, and you get to handle most of them yourself. You debug production, struggle with suppliers, refine designs, work nights to meet deadlines and sweep the floors and put the garbage out. Your earnings potential is open-ended, but you may need a 27-hour day to achieve the targets you have set.
At a more easily confronted level, you provide a service to individuals, or sell goods via the internet or in person on a part-time basis. This allows you to evaluate micro-business opportunities while continuing to receive income from your regular job. Your micro-business earnings, while they may eventually become substantial, are generally not sufficient to support your family for some time. It is vital that you arrange for more than one source of income.
You may continue to work at your present job or at a part-time job so that you have a regular income and some health insurance benefits. Some people work part-time because it gives them more flexibility to indulge in things they are passionate about like writing, or surfing, or performing music. Others work part-time to build a business of their own. The choices are many and they can lead to great personal rewards.
Once you make the decision to work for yourself, you may also realize that you are not locked in to any of these choices. You may find yourself led from surfing to running a clothing business. The choices are open ended. All you have to do is realize that the opportunities are there for you.