Identifying Myself as a Micro

Self-identifying as a solopreneur and micro-enterprise has massively shifted how I work. It has both professionalized my practice, and helped me find much better support for the kind of things I am interested in: people, talent development, creativity, excitement, getting things done and making things happen. It helps me think more strategically and use better tools to support my practice.

Finding out that people who work in micro-entreprises can still reach far and reach wide – the world and the sky are the limit is so exciting. I ran a big brand micro for 11 years: it wasn't my own start-up although I was the first Director of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. We had a team of 2 employees, lots of contractors – other micro's, and many many partners. We worked with some of the largest and best arts organizations in the UK as well as the smallest. We ran over 60 events a year (parties) as well as numerous talent development programmes with a turnover of just around £1.5m. People kept asking me if I didn't want to run something bigger – but I liked being able to be close to all the decisions and  most importantly, the people – it meant I had a strong sense all of the time of what artists, makers and producers needed at all times and so could adapt to their needs in very direct ways.

I started freelancing nearly 5 years ago and am totally in my Ken Robinson Element. I love being close to the administration, to the creative work, to the design, to partnership building, to developing my own projects as well as being hired for my expertise. It has taken me a while though to find support networks – largely because I was working so hard. Then I came across people like Patricia van den Akker at The Design Trust and suddenly my world expanded, like the cosmic inflation, and I realized that there is a whole world of micro-s out there ready to take on the world and to innovate into a system that has so many large unwieldy structures that are not able to offer the same kind of meaning to the work they pay for.

So we've set up Small is Beautiful – it feels very of its time (hopefully not ahead of its time!) – chiming in the rise of the micro-enterprise as a committed decision running through my freelance company and in collaboration with another, less small but small-friendly, organization: Cultural Enterprise Office. It is for people who know they want to have more creative, more meaningful, more exciting work through their own enterprise. People like me who want to meet and be inspired by others who want their working life to be like this. I love seeing the range of people we are drawing to us and cant wait for the event to happen.