What is a micropreneur mean?

Some popular types of micropreneurs include Airbnb hosts, bloggers, life coaches, tutors, and photographers.

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Micropreneur Example

For years, Beth has worked in corporate America, typing away at her computer and filling out dull paperwork. All she wants to do is focus on her passion for creating puppets. In her free time, she makes beautiful marionettes and dolls for children and adults alike. She has always wanted to focus on this hobby and turn it into income. However, her corporate job is too absorbing, taking up all his time and energy. One day, Beth decides she has had enough and decides to quit her job to focus on starting a puppet business. But right away, Beth realizes that she has a problem. She has never envisioned making a giant company with tons of employees and departments. In fact, she prefers to work alone in her workshop. In this sense, she is not a traditional entrepreneur. She would love, in essence, to keep her business small and focused, rather than planning to expand and grow. Beth is therefore a micropreneur. Her goal is to work from home, on her own, and handle all the responsibilities and duties that come with managing a small business.

What Is a Micropreneur mean?

When an individual decides to start their own business, he or she will most likely think of themselves as entrepreneurs. The label comes naturally. After all, an entrepreneur is defined as someone who creates and runs their own business.

However, it is possible that a person is closer to a micropreneur than an entrepreneur. How does one know if this is true? The key part of the word to focus on is “micro,” meaning small. If an individual is satisfied with the idea of their business staying small and focused for the foreseeable future, then he or she may very well be a micropreneur.

If a business owner runs a company with five or fewer employees, or no employees at all, then he or she may be a micropreneur. Perhaps the owner manages almost everything themselves, including marketing, budgeting, and payroll. This is another sign of a micropreneur, who keeps the business small enough to control on their own, without the ambitions or pressure of a fast-growing company.

In essence, a micropreneur is an individual who begins and runs a very small business and does not aspire to quickly grow or expand the company. This scenario allows the businessperson to have a balanced, relaxed lifestyle while still pursuing the career that they are passionate about. A micropreneur is generally comfortable with working solo. In fact, for micropreneurs, the success of their business typically relies solely on their efforts. Occasionally, a micropreneur might delegate tasks to a few employees. But in general, a micropreneur would prefer to run the business on their own, managing most tasks using their own knowledge and skills.

Micropreneurs are usually satisfied with the small scope of their businesses. It is not their goal to quickly grow or expand, as may be the case with traditional entrepreneurs. It is common for micropreneurs to work from home rather than rent out a large, expensive office space. In general, micropreneurs do not invest a lot of money in their business. That said, once they earn a profit, they may invest it back in their company. However, they typically maintain a status quo outlook, prioritizing the business model and size over ambitious expansion.

Example: Kerry just graduated college with a degree in English and has been hired at a local newspaper. While Kerry loves the work, she is not making a lot of money. Eager to supplement her income, Kerry decides to make use of her English degree. She starts her own small business where she tutors local middle and high school students in English literature and composition. For an hour a session, Kerry teaches students how to use English grammar, how to compose essays, and how to analyze famous novels. Kerry charges $50 per session and typically teaches 20 sessions per week. One of the student’s parents asks Kerry why she does not turn the tutoring into a full business. Kerry explains that she is content with the business being a small side-hustle. Because she likes her full-time position as a journalist, she does not want the stress and hassle of creating an entire tutoring company. She is satisfied with the modest set-up she has and is not focused on expansion or growth. Kerry would be described most accurately as a micropreneur.  

How Do Micropreneurs Differ from Entrepreneurs?

Some of the main similarities between entrepreneurs and micropreneurs is that both individuals work on their own terms, enjoy perks such as flexible schedules, and can look forward to unlimited income potential.

However, micropreneurs are focused on keeping their business ventures small. While they put passion into their work, they are not interested in growth or expansion. As a result, they do not spend a lot of money on operations, hiring employees, or renting expensive office space. In general, micropreneurs work from home and manage almost every aspect of their business. They rarely delegate tasks, using their own skills and knowledge to solve problems and meet responsibilities. Entrepreneurs, by contrast, will usually hire people to handle different jobs so that the business can be efficient and grow.

Micropreneurs tends to be very productive because they have a long list of tasks to perform each day. Because their business’ success depends entirely upon their performance, they are generally very efficient.

Example A: Wanda runs her own jewelry business, where she makes necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to sell on Etsy. Wanda orders her own materials, including gold chains, clasps, crystals, and gems. With her own tools, she fashions the jewelry in her home workshop. When a customer orders a piece, Wanda makes it, then packages and ships it to the customer. She has no employees and on average produces 100 pieces a month. Wanda has no goal of increasing her output, because she wants to focus on enjoyment. She does not want the stress of growing her business and has no interest in managing employees. Wanda is therefore a micropreneur.

Example B: Freddie has always loved baking French patisserie. From his own kitchen, he makes croissants, pastries, and tarts, which he sells to customers through a local market. While this earns him a modest profit, Freddie is not satisfied. He would like to grow his business to the point he can create his own café. Ideally, he will one day expand into a chain of French pastry shops that all sell his recipes. Because of Freddie’s ambitions, he would be best described as an entrepreneur.

What Are the Benefits of Being a Micropreneur?

When the average person considers opening a small business, their goal is probably to grow or expand the business as much as possible. In their view, the bigger and fast the business grows, the more money they will make in the end. This is the classic perspective of an entrepreneur.

By contrast, micropreneurs think about business management in a different light. Their goal is to stay small in scope, with less of a focus on growth and ever-increasing profits. From their perspective, there are a number of benefits to a business remaining small.

Five of these major benefits are discussed below:

  1. Micropreneurs Identify Potential Work Opportunities Everywhere

It is common for micropreneurs to see business opportunities wherever they go. They have trained their minds to recognize a need in any situation, and they capitalize on those chances. For instance, a freelance writer might visit a website to buy a new bicycle. He might think that the content is outdated and that the bikes could use better descriptions and advertising. The writer would take the opportunity to email the owner of the bicycle site and ask if they would like any writing services. While the writer may not receive an offer of work from the owner, he at least made the effort. The more solicitations the writer makes, the more likely it is that he gets work.

Perhaps later in the day, the same writer goes to his son’s school play and meets another parent who owns a small business. The parent may describe how he is in desperate need of a writer for his website. The freelance writer can then offer his content writing services.

The next week, while taking a break from writing for the small business owner’s website, the freelancer visits a café. There, he strikes up a conversation with the café owner, who says that he is looking for someone to create content for the café’s blog. Again, the freelancer is able to offer his writing services. In one week, he has succeeded in finding two jobs.

As shown in the previous example, a micropreneur is constantly thinking about their business. They are always looking for opportunities for work and are excellent at taking advantage of random meetings or conversations. After all, a micropreneur is solely responsible for the success or failure of their business. They cannot afford to let chances pass them by, especially when one job or project can be the difference between success and failure. Therefore, they never miss an opportunity to advertise or promote their business, whether that is leaving business cards on Starbucks note boards or chatting to local members of the community.

While entrepreneurs may hire a team to handle marketing and advertising, a micropreneur manages these tasks on their own. Without a dedicated sales team or an outsourced marketing firm, they must take the risk of finding clients using their own resources and creativity.

Example: Kieran is the owner of his own tutoring company that focuses on math, physics, and statistics courses. As a micropreneur, Kieran prefers to keep his business small, only taking on forty clients per week, tutoring for an hour or so per session. He charges the same fee per client and does not have any plans to raise prices, though in theory he could. Technically, Kieran could create his own legitimate tutoring company with a campus, where he might employ other tutors. However, Kieran enjoys the comfort of tutoring out of his own home, and he does not want to take on the stress of creating a large business. In order to advertise his business, Kieran uses a combination of social media and community events. He has Instagram and Facebook profiles, which he posts in local cafes and shops to attract clients. He also offers his business cards to local schoolteachers, who can refer students in need of academic help. Kieran also visits local athletic events, such as high school football games and swim meets so that he can chat with parents and offer his tutoring services for their children. He is sure to attend community fundraisers, marathons, and street parties to meet new people and introduce himself to potential clients. In essence, Kieran is sure to take advantage of every social opportunity, constantly thinking of his business.

  1. Micropreneurs Solve Small, Focused Problems

When a micropreneur creates a business, usually he or she will focus on solving a small, specific problem. Their businesses often cater to one, unique need instead of taking on a lot of diverse responsibilities. For instance, a freelance writer will not offer web design services or graphic design. They might not even offer to write social media content if their focus is on writing articles or blogposts for websites. Believe it or not, some may only want to write blogs! Writing is the micropreneur’s specialty, and this skill can be as focused as they want. If their skillset is writing blog posts, then they will not pretend to do anything else or adjust to suit others’ needs.

By focusing only on writing, or writing blog posts, let’s say, a freelance writer can perfect their craft and advertise themselves as experts in a particular field. They might market themselves as a specialist in blog writing, assuring customers that they have spent a lot of time honing their craft and do not waste time doing anything else. A customer can rest comfortable knowing that they will get precisely what they ask for, and do not need to worry about the writer’s proficiency.

It is also easier for micropreneurs to run their businesses when they focus on a specific craft. The longer the list of services a micropreneur offers, the more challenging it is to manage their projects. For example, if a freelance writer offers to write blog posts, journal articles, research papers, and social media content, they will not have the time to improve in any of those areas. Their resources, in essence, will be spread too thin. In the same time that they write two blog post, ten social media posts, a research paper, and five journal articles, the freelancer might have written twenty blog posts. If a customer specifically wants a writer for their business blog, then the freelancer will appear less attractive. It will appear as though they have less experience and less focus on blog posts. Not only this, but working on so many different projects, each of which involves separate skills, is difficult for anyone to manage.

Entrepreneurs, by contrast, create businesses that are meant to solve many problems all at once. These business owners hope to grow their companies as much as possible, so they tend to expand their offerings in an attempt to draw in more customers. It is fairly common for an entrepreneur to offer one or two products or services, then expand to many more over time in an effort to increase profit and influence.

Example: As a micropreneur, Cara runs a tailoring business from her home. Members of her community bring in their wedding dress, suits, and school uniforms to be hemmed or taken in. Sometimes, a neighbor will ask for Cara to design a custom outfit using her sewing skills. One day, a customer is so happy with Cara’s work on her wedding dress that she suggests Cara expand her business into fashion design. “You should create your own line!’ declares the customer. Cara is flattered, and she begins to design a line of her own wedding dresses. For a while, she is tempted by the prospect of opening her own boutique, selling her very own designs to brides. She could become the next Vera Wang! However, as Cara becomes more focused on designing her own fashion line, she begins to have a harder time managing her tailoring business. Stitches fall apart, orders are late, and customers ask for refunds. She realizes that she will have to hire employees to handle tailoring if she wishes to expand her business. But at heart, Cara is a micropreneur who enjoys tailoring for her local community. Therefore, she decides to stay focused on being a seamstress, which is less stressful and more enjoyable than the hassle of creating a larger business.

  1. The Micropreneur’s Business Process is Unique

Micropreneurs have a unique way of running their businesses. Every micropreneur is different, and much will depend on their particular business, but most are motivated go-getters who are ready to tackle whatever life throws at them. As individuals, they are committed and productive, which means that they are constantly thinking about their business and how to promote it.

Normally, a micropreneur will create a list of tasks or responsibilities that they plan to do each day. For example, a freelance writer’s list might include the following:

  • Respond to emails that came in overnight
  • Create proposals for new projects/jobs
  • Work on current project
  • Send invoices to clients

A micropreneur does not have a team of employees to handle these tasks on their behalf. Instead, the business owner is responsible for completing everything on their own. While this may seem stressful, micropreneurs are careful to keep their businesses scaled down and focused so that everything is doable by one person.

In the end, it is the micropreneur’s responsibility to attract and retain their customers. Because of this important task, they spend most of their time advertising and marketing their business. Wherever they go and whatever they are doing, their mind is on how to get their name out there. They are able to see opportunities where others are not. So, while they may not have the same number of customers as entrepreneurs, they are perhaps more skilled at acquiring them.

Even when a micropreneur thinks that they have achieved maximum capacity, they keep pushing to advertise their business. They have the realistic concern that a project can fall through at any time, thereby putting their income at risk. Therefore, they are constantly focused on building their customer base so that they always have projects to fall back on.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, approach the business process differently. Instead of thinking about individual jobs or projects, they tend to focus on the big picture. Instead of spending time on small tasks, they delegate those jobs to employees. This gives the entrepreneur time to plan larger aspects of the business, such as new products or services to offer, or how to target a new type of consumer. An entrepreneur will not advertise his or her business at every opportunity, mainly because their businesses target larger, more diverse groups of people. Essentially, it is easier to attract clients due to the nature of their businesses, and the fact that they have employees devoted to marketing the company.

Example: John, a micropreneur, runs a small handyman business in his community. John’s specialty is carpentry, so he generally does not take on plumbing jobs, for example. Constantly focused on his business, John wakes up every morning to a to-do list. With his morning coffee in hand, he answers emails, which usually consist of project requests and questions about existing jobs. He then works on plans for current projects, examining blueprints or writing up proposals. He will then get in his truck and drive to the job location, where he works for several hours. Afterward, he spends some time going around town advertising his business. He leaves business cards in hardware stores and garages, as well as running his social media pages. He even creates YouTube videos showing how to do common carpentry work. At the end of the day, he manages customer invoices. While he does not have a large business and works on his own, John is great at building customer relationships. Clients trust his workmanship and know that he will personally manage projects. Still, John is always hustling so that if a project falls through, he will have a backup.

  1. Micropreneurs Work Well in Small Teams or Solo

One major difference between micropreneurs and entrepreneurs is the former’s ability to work well alone or in small teams. Micropreneurs are very motivated and organized. They therefore have no problem completing their everyday tasks and responsibilities. In fact, many micropreneurs enjoy checking items off their to-do list because it gives them a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Part of their motivation stems from the fact that their business’ success depends entirely upon themselves. Therefore, they must perform at their best every day.

Some business owners require others to encourage them or guide them in the right direction. For these individuals, running an entire business on one’s own is not attractive due to the many responsibilities and tasks. Instead, this type of businessperson prefers to work as part of a larger team, where everyone does a specific job. It is generally less stressful because not all duties fall on one person.

By contrast, micropreneurs prefer working on their own or within a small team. These individuals may feel more productive when they work solo. They may also not enjoy managing other people. In general, they enjoy working in quiet environments with few distractions. As a result, it is unusual for a micropreneur to rent office space since they are normally working on their own. In fact, micropreneurs often work from the comfort of their own homes, where the environment is familiar and under their personal control. They have the organization and focus to get their tasks done every day, even when not in a traditional office.

As is apparent, this is largely down to individual preference. Some people may be better cut out to be entrepreneurs than micropreneurs based on workstyle and personal habits.

Example: Emma used to work in an office that had fifty employees. She herself was the leader of a team made up of ten people. Unfortunately, Emma did not like managing others’ work, preferring instead to focus on her own projects. In general, she found the large office overwhelming and stressful. Shortly after leaving that job, Emma decided to start her own business from home, where she sold products on Etsy. To do this, Emma did not need to hire other employees and could work solo. As a micropreneur, Emma felt much more comfortable. She could control the entire company, taking on the responsibilities and task herself instead of trusting others to do them. In fact, she felt a sense of satisfaction performing every aspect of the business, going to bed every night feeling accomplished.

  1. Micropreneurs Value Creativity

An aspiring micropreneur must have certain characteristics that will suit the challenges these unique businesspeople face. One of the most important traits is a natural curiosity. A curious micropreneur will always be observing the world around them, looking for opportunities for their business. This inquisitiveness opens doors that others may not see.

Curiosity also allows micropreneurs to solve problems that might not have been apparent otherwise. For instance, a freelance writer might meet a local restauranteur who is concerned that nobody understands the business enough to write about it to their satisfaction. The writer will take time to familiarize themselves with the restaurant business, researching the ins and outs, as well as the challenges, of owning a restaurant. Perhaps they even research the culture behind the food and wine that is served. After successfully writing content for the restauranteur, the writer may seek out other restaurant owners to offer his or her writing services. Had the writer not reached out to the initial restaurant owner, perhaps even on a whim, he or she may never have discovered this opportunity.

Example: As a micropreneur, Caitlin creates costumes for local Renaissance Fairs. She has been looking for other communities whom her skills may serve. One day, she is at a PTA event at her son’s school when she is approached by the Drama teacher. The Drama teacher asks if Caitlin would like to sew the costumes for the drama club’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Caitlin is happy to agree. The show ends up being a success, and other schools hear about Caitlin’s excellent costumes. As a result, she receives requests from other drama clubs asking for her to make their theatre costumes. Simply by going to a PTA meeting and chatting with teachers and parents, Caitlin was able to find several new clients for her costume business.

Summary

Nowadays, more and more business owners are looking to conduct their operations on a smaller scale, at least at the beginning. For those who are looking to leave the corporate way of life, then becoming a micropreneur may be a great career move.

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