Last Thursday I began a series on women and the micro-business industry! It’s one of the hottest topics in economics today; yet few folks know what they are. Nor can they define it in any meaningful way.
I laid out several challenges I believe we face as we seek to understand 9/10ths of the world’s economic growth. Economic growth due to the proliferation of micro-businesses, many of which are owned or partnered in by women!
A quick review of the subject reveals that micro-business is specifically defined as businesses with 4 or less employees. There are other variables, but the most salient is the number of employees a business has. A micro-business may enjoy annual gross revenue of less than $25,000 to well over $1,000,000. Gross annual income does not define a micro-business as is the case with businesses defined as “small”.
One of the challenges I laid out is the lack of a language specific to micro-business. Yet businesses in this category are the driving economic force world wide – especially in 3rd world countries where non-profit organizations work with impoverished women – training, equipping and establishing them in a micro-business to support their families. Most of all, helping them develop a lifestyle safe from corrupt governments and human traffickers.
Ah, there’s that word “lifestyle“. I wish I could take credit for such a powerful descriptive word for the industry – but it was coined by friend and Boutiques member-owner Denise Cooper, solo-entrepreneur at CoachHR. As I ruminated about the various businesses of women I know who would be considered micro-business owners or partners; Denise exclaimed – “oh, it’s business built around a desired lifestyle!“
And boy is she correct!
While passion and purpose are at the core for all the women I know; it’s the desire for a specific lifestyle that micro-businesses afford talented motivated women. Passion, purpose and motivation that lights the ‘fire in their bellies!’
Reduced to an equation, it would look like this: passion+purpose+motivation+talent and fire = micro-business! TWEET THIS!
So when searching for the beginnings of a language unique to and descriptive of the micro-business industry; “lifestyle” gets us started!
To test this out, I asked a number of women solo-entrepreneurs and those who own or partner in a business fitting the technical description of a micro-business, their personal and professional “why“. Here’s some of the comments I heard:
*in order to spend more time with my children, especially while they are young. . .
*avoid the long daily commutes I hated when working in corporate America. . .
*work from home for the convenience, as well as reduced business expense. . .
*avoid the headaches associated with having employees and all that involves. . .
*provide extra family income without working 40+ hours a week. . .
*to do what I love. . .
*I don’t desire a large business with all that large business entails. . .
*to be happy and have less stress with what I do. . .
While women I’d call “feminists” are pushing for women to break the glass ceiling, occupy more corner offices and warm board room seats; the vast majority of women in business today are content to build a business around a desired lifestyle. Their passion is a deeply held sense of purpose unique only to them! A purpose to which they sense a “call” rather than a cubicle in corporate America!
Most of all, women owning or partnering in micro-business desire the freedom that comes with being their own boss rather than bossing others (or being bossed) in less than friendly environments! And the freedom to drop business at a moments notice to attend son or daughter’s latest athletic event!
A call that is less about business and more about lifestyle than anything else! Perhaps best said as building a life as much or more than building a business!
But doing so does comes with a downside as well. The women with whom I speak share the cons as well as the pros of making a decision for down-sized dreams, vision and mission.
Picking up the mantle that is owning a business many call “teeny-weeny” is no easy task. It has psychological and emotional aspects many women find the most challenging to overcome.
So the next post in the series will deal with the downside of the micro-business boom. At least for many of the women with whom I’ve spoken over the years. We’ll examine the phenomenon from both sides now and hopefully add to a micro-business vocabulary we can all use as the future of the industry unfolds for women who love what it offers!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-1/p160x160/10933880_10152999878054264_1749306739390848122_n.jpg?oh=3b9b3e144f0b306aa0cc748b03d9dd6a&oe=55550352&__gda__=1432002183_d9a5e0b3a35fc3cfbbe66ed7bc7658c9[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]