Today our internet connection was disrupted. For 4 hours. During peak business hours (mid-morning to early afternoon) on a Monday.
If this happened to a “regular” business, it would be unacceptable. The internet service provider would likely take measures to mitigate disruption, for example, by conducting work during the weekends or after business hours.
But this is in a residential area, and most companies that provide services take a more laissez faire approach to service outages and disruptions in residential areas. Perhaps companies serving residential areas assumed that the neighborhood would be at work.
They didn’t count on the countless microbusiness owners like me who operate business – and I mean a REAL BUSINESS – out of our homes.
A few weeks ago, my internet connection was out for over 24 hours. When I complained to the service rep about the disruption that this outage is causing my business, she said that since I am in a residential area, my problem is not prioritized the same way as an outage in a business area would be. She was apologetic, but the implication is that disruption to my business mattered less.
I tend to write off glass ceilings of most kinds, because I believe that focusing too much on these glass ceilings took my eyes off the doors of opportunities that I can create for greater reward. However, over these past few years, I’ve noticed these micro-inequities experienced by microbusiness owners. To be fair, I am not saying that service providers are deliberately discounting microbusiness owners. Most of us also do not shell out wads of cash for premium business-level services either because we run a lean business or because we don’t need the gravy that comes with premium.
After all, we become microbusiness owners because we choose to be microbusiness owners.
Make no mistake – microbusiness ownership is not about “micro-profits”. We opt to limit our size to align our businesses with our personal values, but we are focused on creating the greatest return on investment. I personally would not want to become an entrepreneur if I could not gain both tangible and intangible returns from taking this risk.
Still, we as microbusiness owners are often “hidden”.
Our businesses run invisibly from residential areas, yet many of us command a global presence on the web. We may have mastered the art of lean operations, yet our scale precludes us from gaining priority service to run our businesses. We may have gained respect in our field and for our business successes, yet we are not recognized in many B2B transactions.
This may be the time for us to come together as microbusiness owners, and start by doing what Dawn Rivers Bakers advocates us to do: identify ourselves as microbusiness entrepreneurs. We can create microbusiness consortium to learn from each other. We can come together to help us all get a better business deal for our microbusiness operations.