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It’s your Business so do what you want to-Part Two

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=sunshine%2blandscape&iid=5276696″ src=”6/0/b/1/Rays_of_sunshine_8254.jpg?adImageId=9515058&imageId=5276696″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]See the sun peeking through the trees?  There is hope for spring to come and there is good news in this conversation.  *This is Part Two of a 2-part post: It’s your Business so do what you want to.

PART TWO: It is your BUSINESS so do WHAT you want to.

Yesterday I took a break at noon to have lunch and while eating my sandwich [I’m one of those people who just loves sandwiches…my favorite is on homemade white bread with mayo, a couple of green leaf lettuce leaves, slice of provolone cheese, Virginia baked ham slices and thinly sliced yellow onion – good!] I watched the latest episode of Castle.  I’m such a fan of Nathan Fillion – ever since Firefly.  Anyway, the commercials were from Blackberry and their newest tag line is Love what you do and Do what you love. Great advice.  Especially for small business folks – those of us with tiny businesses…the less than 5 employees and the solo-preneurs.

Yes 2009 – even 2008 – simply was awful economically.  However I don’t want to talk about that today.  I’m one of those people who suffer from sunshine deprivation in the winter and we’ve had over a week straight of rain and clouds and I’m missing the sun…I do live in California after all…so I want to bring some sunshine into this conversation.  It’s not all bad out there and there is hope.

One of the proofs of that was in my morning newspaper’s business section.  A medical device maker is going to call my community “home” this year.  In fact it was the second company in two weeks to announce a move to my city.  According to the article by George Avalos five companies have done significant things in the past few months that will bring jobs and commerce to my community.  The companies are Bridgelux IncJLA Inc.Wiley X Inc. Enray Inc. and Admedes Inc. This is good news.  The newest mention is Admedes, a medical equipment maker and, according to the article:

  • “…Admedes has bought an 18,000-square-foot office and research building that it will use for a manufacturing center and a showcase for its medical products. The company makes miniature components for medical devices…’Our plan is to get to 50 employees in about five years,’ said Eric Veit, a vice president with Admedes Inc. ‘We are looking at and interviewing a number of people right now.’….”

There are more positive notes out there in the ether

In an article at Forbes.com, Mark Wolf wrote about “…A remarkable trend is emerging in the U.S. job market–one that will greatly impact the workplace of tomorrow. Women are becoming the nation’s job-creation engine, starting small businesses and stimulating new jobs at a rate that outdistances their male counterparts and disproportionately exceeds their current contribution to U.S. employment….”  He was referencing a newly published report by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute and summarized it by saying, “…Specifically, the Institute expects that women who own small businesses will create from 5 million to 5.5 million new jobs across the U.S. by 2018, and in the process transform the workplace of tomorrow into a far more inclusive, horizontally managed environment….”

I know I’m a woman business person and chose this tidbit for inclusion in this post, but don’t take it that I don’t see that men who start new small businesses aren’t also a positive factor for this year because they are.  There are only two genders and we’re all in this together.

INC.Com has a great article, 9 Home based Businesses You Can Start In Your Pajamas In 2010, and gives a short description of the 9 people who are making a go of it:

This article tells me two things: 1) there are innovative and interesting niche markets that people are creatively finding ways to have businesses in – I, for one, had never considered “Online Content Aggregation” prior to this and love the way Chris Jordan has approached the insurance business.  and 2) have you noticed that I was able to find a link to each and every one of those businesses?  Just a marketing hint: no business is too small to have a presence on the web.

Small Business Trends had an article earlier this month by Dawn Rivers Baker, Top Microbusiness Trends for 2010. She says, “…there’s no reason to imagine that there are no opportunities to be had in a sluggish economy, as any astute student of entrepreneurship will tell you. And right now is a particularly good time to run a lean, efficient microbusiness that doesn’t need a bank loan to chase growth prospects….”  Of the trends she mentions the one I’d like to highlight:

  • “…Federal contracting. Plenty of people will tell you that microbusinesses are too small to fulfill government contracts but I’m not one of them. There is still plenty of money appropriated for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects that hasn’t gone out the door yet. For microbusiness contractors in construction and related sectors, there will be plenty of contracting and subcontracting opportunities….”
  • Also, in the comment section following the article Ms. Baker responds to a commenter in part: “…nonemployers are a subset of the microbusiness universe. Micros are defined as firms with fewer than five employees. Nonemployers are firms with no paid employees outside the business owner(s), which means they certainly fit the micro definition. They are, in fact, the largest portion of the microbusiness population, comprising about 80% of it….”

I found this article interesting because (a) it reminds us that the government [in the U.S.] does have money to spend on contractors and why shouldn’t the tiny businesses be included?  And (b) I found it a very interesting statistic that 80% of micro-businesses are what I call solo-preneurs…a business that is comprised of me, myself and I.  Just like the business here in my community where my husband and I take our vehicles for maintenance – Ron’s Valley Brake & Auto Repair.  Ron has a shop downtown and he’s the owner and only employee.

Another article at Small Business Trends, this one by Anita Campbell, 10 Small Business Trends and Opportunities, speaks to solo-preneurship; her trend #10:

  • “…More Sole Proprietorships – One thing that we know is that during and in the aftermath of recessions, more  people who are out of work will turn to starting their own businesses…If you are looking for businesses to start, these typically require little startup capital and may not require highly-specialized training or degrees:  pet businesses;  kids products;  Web businesses; consulting for your former employer or industry; virtual assistants; apps development; home based franchises.…”

Again, there is a mention of small business ideas I hadn’t thought of like apps development.  Interestingly, my husband’s cousin is currently developing just such a small business.  This is very cool to learn of an industry about which I previously had not known and discover it is a trend.  Cool.

Even in my industry, fine arts – I consider myself an artist-preneur – there is hope.  This Friday I will participate in the first art event of the year and who knows maybe there will be a sale or two.

So all-in-all there is hope regardless of the screaming headlines.  The sun will indeed shine again and I won’t have to rely on my Ott Lite.

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Make the decision – be a leader

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=sailing+boat&iid=7204341″ src=”1/e/5/9/Outdoor_Sports_1706.jpg?adImageId=8930591&imageId=7204341″ width=”234″ height=”373″ /]Before you set sail it is probably a good idea to know where you’re going.  In fact, it is probably an even better idea to know if a sail boat will get you there faster or more comfortably than a train.  Or an airliner.  Or even an automobile.  Before you set sail you have to decide if sailing is the best use of your time.  You have to decide if leaving on a Tuesday is better than on a Thursday or if you should sail solo or with a friend.  Lots of decisions to make before heading out on a journey.

Business is not different than sailing in this regard.  Every business has a leader and the leader must make decisions regarding direction and timing.  Oh, he or she gets input from everything and everyone from the Farmers Almanac to the bookkeeper.  Shall you travel north next Tuesday? Well, only if the weather is good and the chores are done and you have the extra cash.

Leadership involves making decisions. And making a decision is the single most difficult task a leader must do.  Let’s look at a couple scenarios.

Scenario One: you and two buddies have a fantastic idea for a business.  You thought up a clever gizmo that will revolutionize the internet and your two friends have some money to throw in and some expertise.  One friend is great with numbers and the other is a super salesman.  However, the business dream is yours and mantle of leadership falls on you.  You get input from your friends and research you’ve done, but you have to decide:

  • what the business will look like
  • when to launch the business and where
  • what aspect of the gizmo to spend this year’s budget on
  • where to best use your sales efforts
  • how to spend your capital

None of these decisions is easy and the business will go nowhere until the decisions are made.  But it’s the making the decision process itself that causes the most stress and anguish.

Scenario Two: you and your buddies have been in business now for five years and are making an annual profit.  You are able to offer your employees good benefits and you were able to finally take a vacation.  One of the friends asks you: now what?  Now where do we go with this gizmo?  They are wanting to know if you want to take the next step of growth in the business through innovation and expansion into new markets.  There is risk involved.  What will happen if you take on the added expense of research and development and speculation?  What would happen if you don’t?  As the leader you have to decide:

  • how big you want your company to be
  • how diversified you want your product offerings to be
  • if the risk of expansion is worth the cost, time and effort

To be a good leader, you have to decide to lead.  What that means to a business is:

  • the leader holds the vision for the business – ‘this is who we are, what we stand for and what we look like’
  • the leader sets the direction – ‘this is where we are now and where we’re headed and hope to be in ten years’
  • the leader is willing to alter course – this could be necessary due to outside economic factors or due to rising opportunities
  • the leader is willing to make the decision to hold or fold [in this lies the interesting thought that maybe a business has a life span…when is it time to retire not just the human element, but the business itself? – that’s grist for a whole ‘nother post]

“…Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall….” Stephen R. Covey.

Even a home-based business person has to shoulder the daily decision of upon which wall to lean the ladder.  And sometimes those decisions just aren’t easy to make.  However, once made, it’s all management the rest of the way.

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Thirty Women Entrepreneurs to Follow-article on Forbes

I’m honored to be included in a list of  “Thirty Women Entrepreneurs To Follow On Twitter,” an article appearing at Forbes.com and written by Natalie MacNeil.   Natalie is a media producer and consultant, specializing in online media and marketing.  I did a blog post interview with Natalie that appeared here this past September.

In her article Natalie says, “… Twitter has been an incredible tool for connecting with like-minded people from around the world….”  And I agree.  I’m not a fast technology adopter, but I do have some marketing sense and I could see that Twitter would have value to business people and entrepreneurs early on.  It’s possible to do quite a bit with just 140 characters…it teaches you economy of thought.

If you remember that marketing is the process of telling everyone “out there” about your products/services in as many ways as possible for people to find and receive information, then you know that Twitter fits in here naturally.

Let’s say you are a shoe company and you are ready to launch a new brand…that you have a celebrity endorsement.  You’ll do all the usual marketing: print, ads, tv, radio, in-store displays, direct mailers.  With Twitter you would have a company account and the day you ship you Tweet: Celebrity Shoe available today! Given that there are tens of millions of Twitter accounts, chances are good some people are going to see your tweets [the term for those 140 character messages].  Also, you’ll want to monitor Twitter for the world mentions of your new product by using one of the Twitter search applications.  Why would you do this?  You want to know if folks are positive or negative towards your new product or if they are even talking about it.  It’s just another tool for your marketing toolbox.

 

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From Business Entrepreneur to NonProfit Entrepreneur

Linda’s Business Blog is an ongoing conversation about all things business…mostly.  I’ve digressed from time-to-time, written about a vacation or two, done a book review or two -but always relevant to what I’m doing.  In January – hopefully – I’ll not only write about vacation again but the process of buying a fruit tree.  Tomorrow I’m going to write about a small, tiny even, business owner’s reaction to the differences between China’s cultural outlook on national economics and the United States’ cultural outlook on national economics.  However, today is today.

I’m writing a book  whose working title is, “Your Presence on the Internet-A Beginners Guide for Home-Based Business Owners.” [What do you think of the title?] In there I have four definitions that are relevant to what follows:

  • An Entrepreneur – someone who organizes a business venture and assumes the risk for it…you put up the capital and all the risks is yours; all the benefits are yours, also
  • A Small Business Owner – a small business is…independently owned and operated, with a small number (1 to 10) of employees and relatively low volume of sales [this is relative of course]
  • A Business Leader – the capacity to establish direction and to influence and align others toward a common goal
  • An Innovator – act of introducing something new

I’ve met someone who meets all these definitions and who has done something exciting beyond the day-to-day of business.  Leah Oviedo is a California businesswoman.   Her business, Mercado del Mundo, is [from her website]: “…in business since 2006, selling Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing and Accessories, Fine Art and Organic Products from around the world! Our goal is to support artists and cooperatives that have a positive impact on the world!…”

Leah has a heart for reaching out and created Investing In Women [from that website]:

  • “…Investing in Women is a place for Empowering Women through education and appreciation. The goal of this site is to invest in Women around the world from big cities to remote communities…Our main goal of Invest In Women will be to give information and access to resources and issues concerning women today.  We also have a micro grant program for women business owners in the USA…”

Investing In Women was created in the spring of last year [2008] and on November 9 of this year awarded its first micro grant to a woman-owned business, The Underground Railroad To Success [URS]. From the press release that Leah sent to me:

  • “…The recipient of the award is Tanisha Cunningham, founder of The Underground Railroad to Success (railroad2success.com). The URS is a non-profit that provides a service to foster children aging out of the system to live independently as adults while becoming an integral part of society. This is great for foster children and also has a positive affect on our society as a whole…The recipient of the award is Tanisha Cunningham, founder of The Underground Railroad to Success. The URS is a non-profit that provides a service to foster children aging out of the system to live independently as adults while becoming an integral part of society. This is great for foster children and also has a positive affect on our society as a whole….”

There is an old saying that “even one person can make a difference” and the examples of Leah Oviedo and Tanisha Cummingham are proof of that saying.  I think it’s a lesson that illustrates that:

  • none of us should feel that we cannot help in some way to make this world a better place
  • that just because our business impact might be small does not mean we cannot make a great impact socially
  • change starts with an idea

The new year, 2010, isn’t that far off now.  If you have a business – of any size – do you have somewhere in your business plan some kind of “giving back” to your community or the world-at-large?  It doesn’t have to be money, we all have other resources: time, talents and gifts that we can share.

 

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Business Mentors and Hot Mommas Project

TriffidsIt’s a funny way to begin a post about mentoring in a business context, but I’ve been a fan of science fiction movies from childhood.  My dad used to love to watch them with me, the old black and white movies.  One of my favorite wasThe Day of the Triffids,” and those taller-than-people plants that moved were very scary.  This love of sci-fi has stayed with me and I’m an unashamed fan of several television sci-fi franchises including Stargate SG-1.  One of the characters of which I’m fond is that of Master Bra’tac, the mentor and lifelong teacher of one of the SG-1 team members, Teal’C.

To me the Master Bra’tac character was the perfect mentor; a mentor is a teacher or trusted counselor.  I believe it goes a bit deeper…I believe it also means that a mentor is someone who supports and comes alongside someone and passes along what he or she has learned – the successes and the mistakes.

HMPfulllogoGeorge Washington University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence has an initiative called “The Hot Mommas Project.” From the Project’s website:

  • “…Hot Mommas® Project Mission: To increase self-efficacy in women and girls by providing scalable, global, free access to role models online…Long Term Vision: To create the world’s largest free and online case study library combining the worlds of social media, curriculum and role models in a real-time, interactive learning community….”

Why this project done this way?  Again from the website:

  • “…Role models are tied to success…[studies have shown] women are less likely to network and promote themselves than their male counterparts and that girls and women are more likely to limit their career aspirations due to lack of confidence in their abilities…Access to role models in the form of case studies is a known successful intervention or solution to this issue…”
  • “…Work-life balance is a growing concern…The problems associated with work-life balance are well defined, however the solutions are not. In exploring our case library, readers can begin to play a role in their own work-life balance solutions….”
  • “…It workscase approach increases retention of key concepts by 33% for an undergrad or MBA student based on preliminary pilot testing [emphasis theirs]….”

This past April The Washington Post ran a story featuring the project and its applicability:

  • “…Frey then created an online case study database called the Hot Mommas Project that allows ordinary women to tell their stories and share insights on balancing work and personal life. The cases studies are based on a model developed at Harvard Business School, but they’re shorter and much more personal — and all have female protagonists. Some tell stories of corporate success, while others simply highlight a challenge and offer a starting point for discussion. All are valuable, Frey says, because research shows that seeing a woman play a central role in a case study makes other women more confident about what they can accomplish. [Kathy Korman Frey, a 37-year-old Harvard MBA who runs a strategic consulting firm in Washington]…”

To me this is a fantastic program…and an ancient idea: older women passing along what they know to younger women.  And I know from personal experience how challenging it is for younger women to try to find this balance between the desire for career and/or a business of their own and a family and personal life…I have two grown daughters and several grown nieces…they all ask these questions.  I was invited to add my own story to the database which I have done; it can be found here.  If anyone were to ask me if it is a valuable thing to seek a mentor I would answer: yes.  Most definitely.

 

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Meet David Gash and Prova-something new in advertising

You really seldom come across something new nowadays.  I mean actually new…not done before.  Radically different.  Prova is something new; different and fills a very real need in the world of small business and advertising.

Marketing is that part of a business’ life that deals with telling the public:

  • who they are
  • what they offer
  • why the public needs its products and services
  • where it can be found

Without marketing efforts, the public will not:

  • know who you are
  • know what you offer
  • know why they need your products or services
  • know where they can find your business

Marketing involves various ways and means of getting information out there:

  • promotional materials: business cards, postcards, flyers, blogs, websites, other online social media
  • paid advertising: display ads both print and online, radio and television spots

The idea is to use every possible means so that your prospective customer might learn of your business and offerings.  The biggest challenge for small business owners is cost.  And time.

Let’s say you have a housekeeping business in your community. How do you let homeowners know of your business and services?  You could put an ad in the telephone yellow pages; an ad in the local newspaper; maybe a radio spot.  But by far the best means might be door hangers and postcards.  Your budget is small so you go for door hangers and postcards.  Now the challenge becomes how to design the most effective materials to achieve the goal – which is gaining new clients.  What image should go on the piece?  What should the editorial content be?  Who in the community can do this at a price you can afford if you don’t posses these skills?  Most small businesses cannot afford to go to an ad agency for a postcard design.  Most can’t afford the time and expense to generate bids among agencies.  So where can they look?

prova_advertising_logoDavid Gash, owner and originator of Prova, has an answer.  David graciously agreed to be interviewed and let me in on some of the thinking involved with his innovative business.

Q:  Prova, in my estimation, is a truly unique service.  What gave you this idea?  Were you a business in need of ads, or a designer looking for clients?

David: When I started my own lawn care company I had to create postcards, door hangers, and other ads for my business.  I hated it.  I would spend hours looking for images online that I could use.  I would debate over different headlines, and it took way too long to create the design.  I always ended up with a design that looked nice, but wasn’t effective at attracting customers.  I never had “advertisement” training, so I didn’t know the importance of a powerful headline, USP, or a call to action.  I created my own ads because I couldn’t afford to hire an ad agency, but I knew how crucial advertising is.  I fell into the same trap as so many other business owners.

After college (business/marketing degree) I realized how many small businesses suffered from this same problem (lack of advertising knowledge), I knew I could create a solution.  Countless companies don’t advertise because they don’t know how and they don’t want to spend the money on an agency.  So many small businesses that DO advertise, do it
ineffectively.  So many people believe putting their logo, phone number, & photo on an advertisement will compel their customers to call.

I was a business in need of ads, and I wasn’t satisfied with the current methods out there which were to:

  1. Create it myself – Much more time consuming than I originally thought.
  2. Hire a freelancer – It’s very time consuming to compare bids, profiles, and portfolios.  I’ve often hired a freelancer, only to have him disappear.  It’s very frustrating to hire someone and get work that is subpar.
  3. Hire an agency – Way too expensive and I still don’t know if I’ll like what I get.

Q:  Why the name Prova?

David: The name Prova sounds fun to say and we love it.

Q: How did you come up with the “contest” idea?

David: The original idea was to create a “place” where people could try out graphic design and see if they like it.  I know there’s people out there that are GREAT at graphic design, LOVE IT, and are very FAST.  I wanted to create a “place” for these people to get paid for doing what they love. I wanted a place where young designers could have a REASON to practice making designs, and expert designers could get paid for their SKILL.  It’s one thing to practice making fake designs for fake companies, but if you’ve got a real client that you can make a design for, with the potential of getting paid for it, you’ll be much more motivated to create a design.  The very act of creating these designs will give you more experience.

Then I thought, to get this “place,” I need to make an “arena” where businesses can say, “I need a postcard, advertising my furniture sale next month.  Here’s the details, I need it in 2 weeks, and I’ll pay $250 to whoever creates the best design.”  I didn’t intend for it to be a “contest,” but it sort of turned out that way.

Q:  What is the appeal of your business to ad designers?

David: The appeal is an opportunity to get paid for your skill.  Rather than entering bidding wars on freelance jobs, at Prova your skill will speak for you.  We also offer designers more experience pitching to real clients, more exposure for yourself, and more experience in graphic design.

Q:  Typically, how many designers participate in a design contest?

David: Currently, our contests are getting over 30 unique designs each.  Our first contest received 66 designs, and a recent logo contest received 56 designs.  If you’re active in providing feedback, or offer more than $250, you’ll receive even more entries (Our first batch of clients weren’t as active.)

Q:  If I understand correctly, once a contest is over, the ads designed can be uploaded into your template library at the choice of the designers – correct?  Does this give designers a second way to possibly earn income through Prova?  Also, does it give small business clients a second “store” so-to-speak?  Can a business purchase an already designed ad rather than order a contest?

David: You are correct.  Any design that isn’t selected as a winning contest entry can be automatically placed in our template directory.  This gives each designer the opportunity to sell their designs much like an artist would in a studio.  And as you discovered, Small Business clients who don’t want to run a contest, can browse our directory and download a design they like.  Template designs cost less and are great for local industries (such as lawn care), where the same design can be used all over the country, just by changing the company info.  And all templates will be customized for your business within two business days free of charge.

Q:  Who is your ideal small business client?  In which market niche do you see your business offering to be most valuable?

David: Since this is an extremely unique concept, it’s hard to tell who will benefit the most from Prova.  Prova is currently the only company specifically designed to get a powerful advertisement created for your business, at the price you pick.  We’re the only company specific to the ad design industry that operates in this format.  Our services are valuable to any business owner who wants an advertisement that will attract more customers, without the hassle of traditional methods.  The business owner that realizes it’s better to let a trained expert design an ad than spend 10-20 hours on it yourself, is our ideal client.  We make it easier for businesses to realize this, since they can set their
own price.

If you’ve got a new business, Prova is great for getting your logo and website designed, while keeping you within your budget.

Q:  Are you seeing a trend in the type(s) of ads being asked for by small businesses?  Are businesses still utilizing “old” advertising of the print variety – everything from flyers to billboards, or are you seeing more online ad use?

David: Usually print ads are requested.  Of course, that’s the audience we’ve been targeting.  The most common ‘online’ ad is a website design.  Keep in mind, everything your business designs is part of your advertising image.  And your ad image is what we create.

Q:  What is typical ad being asked for by your business clients?

David: Postcards, Door hangers, Logos, and website designs.

Lime Face from Prova

Lime Face from Prova

Thank you David!

In doing this interview it made me think…and observe in my own neighborhood.  My office is located at the front of my home and has big windows that look out onto the front yard and neighborhood.  This is not an “upscale” neighborbood by any means, but there are many 2-income families – many of whom commute to the Silicon Valley [CA, USA] which means they have little time for yard work or housekeeping.

There are several different landscape services and housekeeping service businesses who have clients in this area so my front door is frequently loaded with door hangers; also the welcome mat has postcards tucked just under the edge.  The other type of business that utilizes leave-at-the-door print advertising is the real estate business.  We also find business cards, flyers and little newsletters tucked under the edge of the welcome mat.  Unless the landscape service, housekeeping business or real estate agent is producing their own promotional materials at home on their home computers, they are paying someone.  And competition is fierce.

As a consumer I really do look at message and message delivery.  It seems that Prova is filling a unique spot for small businesses:  doing what they cannot do by bringing good designers in to develop designs and messages “on spec.”  I worked as an advertising designer at one time in my early career and found that if Prova had been around then, I would have been ecstatic.  I like the idea, from a designer point-of-view, that if the client does not choose my design, the design isn’t “lost;” rather it goes into Prova’s template “shop.”  Who knows?  Someone else may purchase it and my time wasn’t for naught.

Give Prova.fm a look.  

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Micro-entrepreneur, are you one?

I was browsing through a new [to me] informational website by The Direct Selling Association, directselling411.com, and came across this wonderful paragraph:

  •  “…An estimated 15.2 million people are involved in direct selling in the United States and more than 59 million worldwide. Most are women, though nearly a third are men or two-person teams such as couples. The vast majority are independent business people – they are micro-entrepreneurs [emphasis mine] whose purpose is to sell the product and/or services of the company they voluntarily choose to represent – not employees of the company. Approximately 90 percent of all direct sellers operate their businesses part-time….” [directselling411.com]

I love that little phrase micro-entrepreneur.  As an Independent Distributor, with a home-based business with the direct selling company I represent, I see myself as a micro-entrepreneurWhat’s an entrepreneur anyway?

If I were to give an off-the-cuff definition – most everyone thinks they know what an entrepreneur is or does – I’d have to say this:

  • an entrepreneur is an independent business person; someone who owns their own business; someone who started with little and grew their business into something bigger

Guy Kawasaki , in his book, The Art of the Start, says this about an entrepreneur:

  • “…The truth is that no one really knows if he is an entrepreneur until he becomes one-and sometimes not even then. There really is only one question you should ask yourself before starting any new venture: Do I want to make meaning?…”

He goes on to say that “…meaning is not about money, power, or prestige…Among the meanings of ‘meaning’ are to

  • Make the world a better place.
  • Increase the quality of life.
  • Right a terrible wrong.
  • Prevent the end of something good….”

I like his definition.  Using it I can revamp my own view of being an entrepreneur and using myself as an example, can say that my goals as an entrepreneur are to

  1. make the world a better place for my immediate family right from the get-go; once I know my family is benefiting, then extend my field of financial influence to help in my community and in causes that are brought to my heart. 
  2. increase the quality of life  for my family; then help through causes I find important, help others.
  3. right a terrible wrong – there is a very personal one that I would love the leverage to effect – help make positive changes in the current state of the American health care system.  Someone very close to me is suffering because of the inefficiencies [and to my mind, capriciousness] of our current system.
  4. prevent the end of something good– one of the reasons I am involved with the direct selling company that I chose is that it directly [through various means] helps to save acreages of trees in the Amazonian rainforest.  Without oxygen everyone on this planet will die.

I’ve sited this definition  for entrepreneur from Entrepreneur.com before, but it bears repeating:

  • “…Someone who assumes the financial risk of the initiation, operation and management of a business….”

 Again I use myself as an example of a micro-entrepreneur and using the short definition above from Entrepreneur.com can say that yes, I assumed the financial risk of starting, operating and managing my own home-based business.  What I can also say is that because I chose the direct selling industry, and I chose the direct selling company I did to become associated with as an Independent Distributor, the risk was and is very small.  It only cost me $39 initial sign-in fees.  My company has fantastic tools that aid in the operating and managing of my business.

I will answer my own post title question of: Micro-entrepreneur, are you one? with a Yes!  I am.

Are you? 

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