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Minipreneurs?

Link: TRENDWATCHING.COM Newsletter | Global Consumer and Marketing Trends | September 2005.

I have a love/hate relationship with neologisms.  I hate these marketing types who identify new trends and terms to describe those trends – the branding of the social – in order to gain some ‘value’ in the industry.  But I do love new phenomena, however spurious they may be.  Trendwatching  manage to walk that fine line between love and hate and give ‘good’ value – they make me think.  In their September newsletter they identify the rise of the "Minipreneur" as the individual making increasing amounts of their overall income through non-salary based jobs – most commonly things like semi-pro ebayers.  Minipreneurs are of course just ‘pro-ammers’ – the pro-am trend identified by Charles Leadbetter in his Demos paper – but applied more specifically to the rise of the semi-pro online trader.  Some interesting stats:

  • According to a July 2005 survey conducted by eBay, more than 724,000
    Americans report that eBay is their primary or secondary source of
    income. In addition to these professional eBay sellers, another 1.5
    million individuals say they supplement their income by selling on eBay. Over 50,000 people in the UK draw a significant portion of their income
    from selling goods online.
  • A study by the Centre for Economics and
    Business Research (CEBR) shows that the average household boosts its
    earnings by GBP 3,000 through online trading.
  • And Mastercard and Warillow International published a research study on
    a new class of small business: the ‘Web-Driven Entrepreneur’,
    estimating that there are 5 million of these businesses in the United
    States, representing 25% of all small businesses.

The second statistic is particularly striking.  If the average [mean?] household boosts it’s annual income by £3000 through online trading, a lot of people must be raking it in and spending a lot of time raking it in.  The idea of moving toward a portfolio of revenue streams is something one would associate with a company rather than an individual – but that seems to be what is happening as people seek greater independence in times of greater risk and insecurity.  This ‘trend’ is of course both facilitated and enabled by and drives the upsurge in affiliate schemes and online ‘platforms’ such as eBay and Amazon who are so effective in bringing out the little capitalist in all of us.  Where is this going to go?  Are we all going to become part-time shopkeepers?