A diary of a Micro Business Life #1

A micro business life

I’ve been meaning to write this for a very very long time. There have been multiple reasons why I have not. Classic imposter heebiejeebies about who would want to read it. Tons of excuses about time. Concerns that I simply can’t write.

However, despite the fact that I have been a micro business owner for nearly 20 years and have worked with them for over 17, I still only see limited representations of small/micro/indie businesses in British mainstream media.

Although there are sectors of British society that totally ‘gets’ the value of small business, those institutions, funding bodies, departments with influence, still focus their attention, finances and time on slightly bigger ‘small businesses’ – SMEs. You only have to witness how over 3 million tax paying micro business owners were ignored over the last 15 months of the pandemic.

It often feels to me that the only small business worth celebrating are those that are fulfilling a traditional, lineal growth as they run away from being small at all. Think Dragon’s Den.

Growth is of course fabulous and to be supported (within a sustainable, circular business model please!) and please don’t misconstrue my introduction as grumpy. I have worked with business and organisations for a very long time as a consultant, coach and trainer. However, micro businesses and their owners don’t have the budget to pay for consultancy day rates. They don’t have the same access to grant or support funding within Britain. They may not even have ‘growth’ in their mind.

My mission is to simply tell a new story of micro business life in Britain.

It starts with some facts. Defined as 0-9 employees, micros make up over 95% of UK private business and employ about 33% of us. Of that 95%, over 60% of those business don’t employ at all. That’s a lot of folks.

Research shows that the main driver for many of these business owners includes freedom, flexibility, giving back to community, family balance, children care, elderly care, mental health protection, fulfilling a dream, being creative, working from home and many many more.

But what does that really look like? Who are these people?

You can read a lot about them in our blog and hop over to our directory to get to know some of them from out Club. But in essence, they are the heart of our communities. They are sometimes less visible. They are dedicated and do great work. They are often more sustainable and put giving back and people first. They don’t waste stuff. They are caring for other people.

So here I am, finally sharing what micro business life is like from my perspective. A diary, if you will, of the ups, downs, feelings, challenges, experiences and highlights of a micro business life.

#1

I am Emily, founder of Simply Great Britain, business consultant, coach and trainer, Mum to two nearly grown up men, border terrier owner, gardener, history geek and micro business owner.

Today I hosted an online Meet Up with some of our Simply Club members. As always, it was a flood of warmth and human loveliness. We talked about the pandemic (who doesn’t), about our weekend plans and the challenge of uncertainty.

Uncertainty really struck a chord for me. That kind of sums up the life of a micro business owner. You give up the certainty of an employed job when you head out on your own. You forfeit security, predictability and safe. It’s a deal that I have often reconsidered over the years. Is it really worth it?

I left my corporate career in 2001. It had taught me so much and I worked hard to achieve. There have been times when I have pondered how big my house would be or how posh my car could have been if I’d stuck it out. Bigger and posher let me tell you! But even at the lowest moments, I have always concluded that the swap was worth it.

Because, for me, the flip side of the uncertainty coin is flexibility, freedom, creativity, exploration, relationships and learning. I look back over the last 20 years and feel comfortable with the vulnerability of a micro business life.

Today, like many days, I have served my clients, written reports, hosted meetings, hung out the washing, walked the dogs, popped out for some sausages and taken some deep breaths.

Until next time, Emily