1. Official Definition – Advocate groups typically define a microbusiness as an organization with fewer than five employees, small enough to require little capital ($35,000 or less) to get started.
  2. Unofficial Definition – Microbusiness owners are the ‘…people who refer to themselves as soloists, independents, consultants, craftsmen, artists, musicians, freelancers, free agents, and self-employed people. The majority of these companies are one-person enterprises …operate out of their homes; and many …have part-time help from a family member or friends.’ (Courtesy of Lloyd Lemons in his Microbusiness Defined article).

A recent Gallup survey found that nearly one-third of microbusiness owners rely on second jobs to make ends meet, at least while getting their businesses off the ground.

The survey of 868 U.S microbusiness owners, found that almost half reported bringing in $10,000 or less in revenue during their first year of operation. Even with their modest earnings and small size, the survey suggests that they play a vital role in the economy as they make up the majority of entrepreneurs in the U.S. and, even more importantly, 81 percent of all U.S. business owners.

Over time, it is estimated that the majority of microbusiness owners will no longer have to rely on second jobs as their main source of income. The study found that after 11 years, only 26 percent needed alternate means of income. After 20 years, the number dropped to 19 percent.

It is important to mention that the survey didn’t track microbusinesses that grew into larger small businesses over time. Also, the report suggests that those who rely on their microbusiness solely for income stress more about the cost of taxes and complying with government regulations than those with a second means of income.


Hessinger, Shawn. “One Third of Microbusiness Owners Rely on Second Jobs”. 4/29/2014.