What is a micro business?
Do you want to make more money? No, you don’t have to ask for a raise or change jobs.
You can start a micro business from an idea that either you're passionate about or a void you see in the marketplace.
How much work does a micro business take? How much money can you earn from a micro business? Is it similar to a “side hustle”?
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about micro businesses, including:
- What a micro business is, what a side hustle is, and the differences between each
- Micro business examples and micro business ideas
- Additional micro business & entrepreneurship resources
If you’re ready to boost your income with a micro business, let’s get started!
What is a Micro Business?
A micro business is a type of small business that has a small number of employees and minimal startup costs.
According to the Small Business Association (SBA), a micro business employs fewer than 10 people.
Why should you start a micro business?
Let’s look at it like this.
In early morning hours of a Wednesday in May, drivers on an Indiana highway experienced something incredible: hundreds of thousands of dollars blowing across the road.
The backdoor of an armored Brinks truck malfunctioned and opened in transit, spewing bags of cash all over the road.
Police quickly arrived to blockade the area, but those who experienced it later admitted how tempting it was to grab cash off the ground.
It’s easy to imagine why it was so tempting. Few people would turn down the opportunity to make more money.
Only 19% of workers in the U.S. feel comfortable with how much they're making.
So how can you make more money?
With a micro business — or a side hustle.
Micro Business vs Side Hustle: What’s the Difference?
Instead of finding cash on the side of a highway or winning on a game show, 44 million Americans have turned to “side hustles”, extra work in addition to a full time job.
Most side hustlers make an additional $100-$1,000 per month.
People start a side hustle for a variety of reasons:
- paying off debt
- Saving for a big event, like a wedding
- saving for a holiday splurge
- Some have an unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit
Side Hustles Are Great ...
Side hustles are an effective and easy way to generate more income by providing a service in your free time.
Side hustlers usually have full time jobs and side hustle to supplement their income.
Here are a few common side hustles:
- Driving with Uber or Lyft
- Delivering take out orders with UberEATS or DoorDash
- Renting your Home with Airbnb
- Child Care with SitterCity, Care, or UrbanSitter
- Teaching courses online
- Complete chores using Task Rabbit
- Coaching sports at local universities, schools, and leagues
- Start a mobile car wash and detailing
- Graphic design
According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity 86% of side hustlers do it at least once a month. More than a third of side hustlers earn more than $500 per month.
Side hustles are common because there is such a low barrier to entry.
You can start a side hustle easily. You don’t need much money or other people to start.
For example, to become an Uber driver all you need is a driver's license, a car, a smartphone, and enough common sense to pass a simple online test.
Side hustles are great, but the problem with side hustles is you’re trading time for money. Your time is limited, so your income is too.
The main difference between a side hustle and what we’ll discuss next — a micro business — is short-term gains or lasting wealth.
… Micro Businesses Are Better
Side hustles are great at generating cash to help you pay the bills or save for an upcoming vacation. But a side hustle isn’t going to help you achieve a financial breakthrough or move any closer to true “wealth” — the abundance of time, money and influence. Instead, if you want lasting improvements to your wealth, you need a micro business.
If you're going to invest time and energy in generating extra income, why not focus on something with a higher potential return on your investment?
Stop trading time for money and instead focus on a business that can provide permanent passive income.
You need to level up your side hustle to a micro business.
Micro Business Characteristics
Micro businesses are side hustles without the constant time loss.
Micro businesses typically have one owner, 1-5 employees, and are small, simple, and flexible.
- focus on a single product or service, and maximize its profitability
- can be scaled, systematized, and structured as passive income
If you structure a micro business correctly, the time commitment can eventually be minimized.
Like side hustles, micro businesses are easy to get off the ground.
A micro business can bring you experience, capital, and connections. But the real benefit is leveraging those things into even greater opportunities.
Don’t confuse micro businesses with small businesses. Small businesses are larger and have different goals. They’re also more difficult to start.
A small business typically has more than five employees, depending on the industry and product.
Like micro businesses, small businesses also can:
- operate without you
- be scaled
- don’t have an immediate limit on earning potential
But you need a lot more money to start a small business.
Passive income from a micro business is great ... but it gets even better.
If you build a strong enough micro business, you can sell it for six-figures. In fact, it’s not uncommon for larger businesses to purchase well performing micro businesses.
Starting a micro business doesn’t need to be more complicated than a side hustle. It can be simple.
Next, we’ll look at micro business examples and micro business ideas.
10 Micro Businesses Examples & Ideas
Here are a few stories of people who skipped the side hustle and created successful micro businesses.
Their stories are fantastic but not uncommon.
Let their stories encourage you to get started on your own micro business.
The Midas of Micro Business
In college, Matt worked in a jewelry store. One day the jeweler told him a story of a friend who made huge profits going door to door buying scrap gold in the 1980s (a time when the value of gold skyrocketed), and then “flipping” that gold to a local refiner. Intrigued, Matt decided to give it a try.
He netted $1,100 in his first week!
He continued to side hustle gold, but eventually he quit his job at the jeweler and turned his side hustle into a micro business.
Over the next 8 months he pulled in over $1M worth of gold and silver.
He hired two employees, and opened a retail jewelry store in his hometown of Albany, Oregon turned his business into a course on buying gold called “Gold Rush Training.”
This made his company scalable, and a true micro business.
A Company in the Corner of Starbucks
Andy had a full time job but he wanted financial freedom.
He knew he’d have to put in time outside of his 9-5, and made a Starbucks corner his weekend office.
He recruited a team, developed real estate software, and using affiliate marketing, the team made $550K in the first year.
They eventually sold the company and used what they learned to move on to other businesses.
Selling a Comfortable Squat
In his mid 20s, Isaia wasn’t just looking for a way to make extra income; he was looking to become an entrepreneur.
Instead of starting a small business, he went after a micro business. He found an opportunity to sell a product on Amazon and got to work.
Soon he started selling his Barbell Squat Pad.
After only 11 months, he sold the whole micro business for $170K and — you guessed it — he moved on to his next venture.
Alternative Wedding Bands
In his late 20s, Matthew had a full time job but, like most people, he wanted to increase his income.
While still working full time, he spent all of his weekends and time off learning to create and sell products on Amazon.
He eventually found a void in the wedding ring market. He developed the product himself and had it manufactured overseas.
Then he got to work selling silicone wedding rings.
Today, Matthew passively nets $8K per month from this micro business, and has time to focus on other entrepreneurial ventures.
Lawn Care Year-Round
Marcus took note of the lawn care complaints of the residents where he resided. His typically quiet suburban town was all in a buzz over needing landscaping services in any type of weather year-round.
Marcus jumped at the opportunity, offering not only the basic lawn care services, but also water displays, natural pools, and snow removal in his new micro business.
After only a few months in business, Marcus started to net around $1,800 weekly — certainly not bad for a micro business.
Take to The Streets
Cynthia regularly hosted dinner parties at her house, featuring her closest friends and family. She was surprised by how her guests always complimented her tacos and quesadillas — they exclaimed that her recipes were unlike any other.
So, Cynthia wanted to share her love of authentic Mexican food by bringing it to a greater audience. She purchased a humble-looking food truck and got to work sprucing it up.
In no time, her dream became a reality — and a micro business.
In the first three months of operation, Cynthia’s food truck micro business took home $13,000.
Feel The Burn
Andrea was a familiar face at her local yoga studio. But, once she became a mother, she realized that attending classes regularly became difficult.
So, Andrea started hosting her own workout classes in the comfort of her own home. These completely online classes took off in her local community and even abroad.
Within her first year, Andrea’s fitness micro business was able to net $78,000.
A Cut Above The Rest
Angelo had a part-time job cutting and styling hair, after having received his license in 1997. He decided he wanted to do more.
He opened his own salon with two chairs in 2019. After making $140,000 in 14 months with his micro business, Angelo sold his salon to start other business ventures.
Barking Up The Right Tree
Rob and Stephanie had a passion for their golden retrievers Lucky and Lucy. But, they didn't like the ingredients found in their treats.
Rob and Stephanie began making small batches of homemade treats, and selling them at their farmer's market.
Not long after, their micro business was born.
While Rob and Stephanie made $56,000 in their first year with the micro business, primarily in online sales.
Bron, a former English teacher in New York, began working independently for publishers, offering his proofreading services.
In his first month, Bron’s micro business brought in $11,000.
Ready to Start a Micro Business?
It’s never been easier to start a micro business.
If you already have a full-time commitment but want to increase your income, start a micro business, not a side hustle.
A side hustle will increase your income at the expense of your time. A micro business will make you wealthy in both time and money. It’s an easy sell.
Micro Business Additional Resources
Now that you know the benefits of a micro business, along with micro business examples and micro business ideas, don’t stop learning there.
Here are additional resources (and free) that can help you pursue your entrepreneurial endeavors … and succeed!