In the mid-2000s, the notion of a micro entrepreneur began to emerge, as this is an individual who ran a very small business often in addition to full-time employment.
The concept gained popularity alongside the rise of e-commerce, which made it possible to launch a commercial website and manage it nights and weekends.
Sales platforms such as those provided by eBay and the Chinese online marketplace Taobao made it even easier since they dispensed with the need for a website or payments systems.
These micro entrepreneurs who sell everything from homemade fashion items to antiques and secondhand electronics are risking very little other than their own time—the capital outlay as much or as little as they are willing to risk.
The micro entrepreneur’s skill lies in spotting the right opportunity as in this way the business can be as small or large as time, desire allows.
For those who aspire to more than running a business as a part-time hobby, the lean start-up path is well trodden.
Large companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Indian Biocon both started in their founder’s garages as passion was key with very limited capital and essential equipment was begged and borrowed; friends and family were used as (free) staff and sleep was sacrificed.
Therefore, the main resources was time, skill and tenacity.
The path is not straightforward however and requires a deep commitment often in the face of failure as Jeff Bezos warned, “invention requires a long-term willingness to be misunderstood”.