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Crafting the future of work: the big impact of microbusinesses

Jul 5, 2017

by Reana McCourt

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods
Header Image: La petite fabrique de Brunswick

Today, more people than ever work independently, combine income from multiple sources, and pursue work they are passionate about*.

The global economy is shifting in ways that make it easier for anyone with an idea and an internet connection to start and grow a global business. Powered by technology, these fundamental shifts allow for the emergence of the unlikeliest of entrepreneurs to truly transform not only the way we work, but our basic assumptions about what it means to start and run a business. While individually their businesses may be small, together these microbusinesses represent significant economic and societal impact.

In many ways, Etsy sellers – creative entrepreneurs like you – are emblematic of these larger economic shifts. Our 2017 Australian Seller Census, Crafting the Future of Work: the Big Impact of Microbusinesses, brings to light a nuanced look at the changing nature of work and paints a clear, powerful picture of the Etsy sellers in Australia who are helping to fuel this movement and we’re excited to share its findings with you.

Read on for report highlights or download the full report.

Etsy sellers challenge conventional notions of entrepreneurship
Most Australian Etsy sellers are women (90%), and they’re more likely to be younger than the typical business owner. More than half are operating microbusinesses for the first time on Etsy, and many (21%) live in rural communities.

Etsy sellers want to achieve success on their own terms
Most Etsy sellers (63%) consider their shop a business, yet they don’t conform to typical stereotypes of family owned brick-and-mortar stores. In their microbusiness operations, Etsy sellers prioritise flexibility and creativity in addition to the bottom line.

They may be microbusinesses, but they create meaningful economic impact
For 29% of Australian Etsy sellers, their creative business, both on and off Etsy, is their sole occupation. For the rest, their creative business supplements income from other jobs or sources, and supports local manufacturing and retail partners.

Etsy sellers represent larger changes in the economy
Today, more people than ever are choosing to work outside of the traditional full-time employment model and combine income from multiple sources. The majority of Etsy sellers in Australia (62%) are part of the independent workforce, and only 25% have traditional full-time jobs.

Etsy sellers’ experiences shed light on the challenges of the new economy
As internet-enabled microbusinesses, Etsy sellers face unique challenges that, while common among independent workers and the self-employed, differ from small businesses who may have up to 20 employees.

It’s time to support the microbusinesses who are driving the new economy
Policymakers can help by supporting the issues that matter most to microbusinesses, and enable the broader creative economy to flourish.

*Upwork. Freelancing in Australia, 2015. 2015.

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