Being your own boss can be very liberating and it can also be laborious. As a result, the magic of micro-business is not always realised. Although finding the formula that suits your style is not easy, it is possible.
The micro-business or micro-enterprise is smaller than small business. If you’re the one who changes the printer cartridge, pays the invoices and manages the business’ website, then there’s a good chance, you’re running a micro-business. Exact definitions of a micro-business vary across continents. In Australia and the United States, micro-business would comprise five or fewer employees whereas in Europe, it could be a business with ten or fewer employees. Definitions can also include a particular level of turnover.
It is more helpful to look at the type of characteristics that micro-businesses share. Typically, the owner has strong involvement in all aspects of the enterprise (yes they change the printer cartridge) and they have a specific skill or product that they actively deliver or produce.
So what does that mean? It means that professional creatives like writers, painters, musicians, architects, hairdressers and graphic designers typically operate as micro-businesses. It also means that people with technical skills like financial planners, bookkeepers, computer technicians and editors; or people with specialised knowledge in management, training, investment, psychology etc are likely to run a micro-business.
So, if yours is a micro-business, where do you find this magic? The magic of micro-business is freedom. There is freedom to make your own decisions about the type of work you want to do. There is freedom to choose how you will run your business. Being your own boss can be a ticket to working and living well.
The downside or the upside, depending on how you look at it, is that with this freedom comes responsibility. That means that it all begins and ends with you, the owner. There is risk that comes with being the business and there can also be reward.
When we start a micro-business, we take the risk of not having an institution that will keep paying money into our bank account every fortnight. There is no sick leave if we’re unwell. There is no paid annual leave. We have to build that into our fees so that we can comfortably take time away from working and ensure that we live well.
A trap for micro-business owners is taking all the responsibility and risk but not enjoying the freedom and reward of being self-employed. Much of what we allow ourselves to do in our business comes from how we think and feel about it and who we are. This means that the business will reflect our fears as well as our dreams.
See this post for tips on how to find some of those rewards: 7 tips for micro-business owners.