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Fun fact: microbusinesses are the most common form of business in the US.

Though the term may not sound awe-inspiring, microbusinesses are the bedrock of the global economy and it’s a title to wear with pride. That said, they also come with a unique set of challenges and advantages. Understanding the differences in scale of different kinds of businesses is a vital step in understanding your own business and the growth path ahead of you. Your needs, concerns, and your approach to different issues will depend heavily on the category of small business that you fall into.

Are You a Micropreneur: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Microbusiness
1. What is a Microbusiness? And What’s a Micropreneur?
2. Give Yourself Space to Breathe
3. Market, Market, Market
4. Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses
5.Network with Other Micropreneurs

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Pinterest graphic about being a micropreneur and running a microbusiness. You can pin this post and read it later!

1. What is a Microbusiness? And What’s a Micropreneur?

Let’s define our terms. Micropreneurs run microbusinesses. While the exact number depends on who you ask, generally a microbusiness has anywhere from one to five team members. According to Quickbooks: “If your company required less than $50,000 to start or if your company does not access traditional capital loans, you are running a micro business.”

A micropreneur may be monetizing a blog, for example, or running a personal coaching or consulting business. An independent online store is often a microbusiness, as are many marketing agencies. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you run a microbusiness.

Microbusinesses (and micropreneurs) make up a huge chunk of the economy, but their unique structure is poorly understood. We’re going to explore some tips and tricks for successfully running and scaling this kind of small business, as well as some of the challenges that you will likely face along the way.
An artist at work. Classic example of a micropreneur making a microbusiness work.

2. Give Yourself Space to Breathe:

Micropreneurs don’t get time off in the same way that regular employees do. It can be hard to separate (home) you from (business) you, and over time this weighs heavily on many micropreneurs. Burnout is a huge issue in the micro-business community, so it’s vital to find ways to decompress and switch off.

If you’re working out of your home, see if you can set a specific area as your office, even if it’s just the corner of another room. Ideally, this space will have a door you can close when you leave, or some other signifier that you’ve finished for the day and are moving into personal time. Maintaining regular hours that don’t creep into the rest of your life is difficult, but your efforts here will work wonders for your mental health.

It’s important to plan vacation time for yourself and to really switch off for these periods. That means no email, no work texts, no work calls. If possible, plan far ahead and complete as much as possible beforehand. If you’re running a service-based operation (i.e. a marketing firm), Forbes recommends that you let your clients know that you’ll be gone for a chunk of time and help them to plan around your absence.

Part of the difficulty of running a microbusiness is being your own customer success team along with everything else. Not sure where to start? Check out this helpful post on making your customer love you.

If you’re selling products online, automate your processes as much as possible, delegate when you can, and (if absolutely necessary) set specific work times, outside of which you’ll entirely shut off.

Even when you aren’t on vacation, it’s healthy to set limits for when and where you will check your email day-to-day. Basically, it comes down to planning space for yourself. Remember: you’re in it for the long-haul. While you should expect to work hard, a healthy work-life separation is key to avoiding burnout.

Three colleagues working from a coffee shop together, laughing. A micropreneur doesn't ned to work alone. Every microbusiness is a growing business when done right.

3. Market, Market, Market

Bigger businesses can cut costs and invest in partnerships to grow revenue. At the micro-level, your overheads are already about as low as they can get. This means that you need to constantly put yourself (and your products) out there and reach new customers and clients. If you’re going to invest money anywhere, it should be in your marketing. Whether you’re using paid ads, building up your blog, creating high-quality video, or any of the hundreds of ways that micropreneurs promote their businesses online, this is an important area of focus.

Marketing strategy for microbusinesses looks a little different from other small businesses. There’s a good chance that your business is essentially you. Maybe it’s the products that you make, or business consulting that you offer, or just a store that you operate.

Social Media for Micropreneurs

Regardless, a degree of separation between your marketing channels and your personal life will be helpful in the long run, especially if there’s a chance that you may choose to sell your company at some point. It can be tempting to use your existing social channels to promote your business, but, as with your time, it’s important to treat your business and your personal social media as separate entities.

For one thing, friends and family can get overloaded with constant CTA’s relating to your business. They can be incredibly supportive, but they’ll still get fatigued at a certain point. You can bring your personality into your work social media (that’s great!) and you can bring some work into your personal social media, but remember that the two have very different purposes.

Content Marketing for Microbusiness

You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king” before, and it remains true for microbusiness. The key difference here is the way that you dig into your niche. SEO is still important, but you’ll likely struggle to compete with big players on broad keywords. Instead, lean into long-tail search phrases- i.e. longer phrases that apply more specifically to your business. You will likely have a hard time getting to page one on the keyword “buy t-shirts online” but may find more success with a phrase like “buy humorous tank tops online.”

Chances are, though, that you’ll have just as much success using a highly personal, targeted approach. Find community forums, social media groups, and reach out for guest posting opportunities in your niche. Essentially, you’re trying to reach your specific audience as narrowly as possible. While you don’t want to overwhelm these locations with advertising, they can all be valuable sources of traffic for your site.
A computer that says "do more" a great slogan for a micropreneur or anyone working for a microbusiness
Read: Ecommerce SEO to Drive Online Store Traffic

4. Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Micropreneurs wear a lot of hats. It comes with the territory, and can be a really exciting aspect of the job- after all, the variety of entrepreneurship is part of the draw for many of us. That said, you’re likely to be juggling a lot at any given time, and it’s important to recognize that there are tasks that you can (and maybe should) delegate and outsource.

If you’re just getting started, it’s worth spending some time brainstorming and exploring your specific skill-set. Chances are, you already have a sense of how you work best, so the trick here is creating priorities. Even if you’ve been running your microbusiness for a couple of years, it’s worth asking yourself:

  • What do you feel you absolutely need to do internally?
  • What do you feel you absolutely should not do internally?
  • What areas of your business are cheapest to hand off to someone else? Are these elements a priority?

Remember that sometimes working with a professional will save you money in the long run. A professional accountant, for example, will likely help you to maximize your deductions, which may end up covering the cost of their services. It will definitely save you time, which is vital when you’re working with a skeleton crew.

In general, it’s worth building relationships with a handful of freelancers and contractors that you trust to understand your needs and do good work. While it can be tempting to do everything yourself, managing your time and your energy is key to holding your business together. Lead and manage first, then get to the nitty gritty.

5. Network with Other Micropreneurs

One of the beauties of microbusiness is how personal it can be. It’s so, so important to get to know your peers and build a community- both local and digital. Finding supportive communities both on and offline is vital, because microbusinesses exist in both areas. Often you’ll be working from home, which can feel exhausting and isolating without a strong sense of community.

Attend local events, get to know the owners of local businesses that you’re a fan of, and look into cross-promotion opportunities with businesses in complementary niches. At the same time, use social media to connect with other businesses and entrepreneurs digitally.

Remember that these connections aren’t strictly a tool for making sales. Sometimes you just need a place to share your frustrations, other times you need advice, other times you need a place to celebrate your successes. It’s easy to get so caught up in the numbers that you end up treating personal connections only as opportunities. In the long-run, you’ll be better served building meaningful relationships.

Two micropreneurs networking and talking shop about micrubusiness over coffee

In the end, a lot of micropreneurs are in it for the freedom. Once you have the basics covered and are running your microbusiness, it can offer a much better work/life balance than leading a bigger company. Businesses of this size allow you to wear many hats without being boxed into a hyper-specific role. You can work from home and plan your life and your schedule more closely around your priorities. You can build a close-knit team that begins to feel like family over time.

Ready to supercharge your growth process? Learn how to build a professional site for your brand and dig into our guide to growing and scaling your business.

About the author

Bryce Patterson

Bryce Patterson

Bryce is a writer and content marketer at Selz. Outside of giving businesses and non-profits a more human, relatable voice; Bryce has written a novel, worked on a comic book, and played in a handful of bands. He lives in Colorado.

2 comments

  1. Julie

    Thank you so much for making this distinction! It’s frustrating for me to identify as a “small business” people always think that I run a storefront or something. This is very helpful. Looking forward to more content like this!

    1. Tara Storozynsky Selz

      Tara Storozynsky

      Hi, Julie! We’re so glad you found it to be helpful. We will definitely be publishing more information about microbusiness and other types of small businesses soon. Stay tuned!

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