Along the way, I stumbled upon some interesting factoids that steered me toward what has become a fascination bordering on obsession: the SMB entrepreneur of the future.
I also made a pretty significant life decision: I'm returning to work!
Small Business Transformation
As I wrote in January, the United States is about to see a max exodus of small business owners. Fourteen million of them are set to retire in the next decade—a figure representing half of all United States SMBs and ten trillion dollars in value.
Who will fill the vacuum? What will those businesses look like? Certainly nothing like those closing shop, many of which—while profitable—are technologically outdated.
New platforms will rise to enable this next generation of entrepreneurs. Businesses built on these platforms will, in many ways, be familiar. The core interaction will remain unchanged; in exchange for some currency, a service or product will be provided.
But the specific currency? The shape of the product? The mediums and methods of promotion and exchange? These are all undergoing rapid transformation.
The SMB of the future may look nothing like that of today. We've seen hints of what might replace it—the gig economy, the influencer economy—but these are only the beginning, reimaginings of familiar methods, adapted to different scales or offered in more fluid markets.
Other trends, such as digital nomadism, capitalize on new technologies and collaboration tools, themselves enabled by ever-advancing infrastructure.
With all these things in mind, I wrote down a personal goal: create 1,000,000 small business entrepreneurs by 2030.
After spending a couple more months noodling on the problem and exploring slices of the space (even going so far as purchasing an existing e-commerce store to play with), I decided to refine that goal: create or empower 1,000,000 next-gen small business entrepreneurs by 2030.
This loosens the success criteria, but narrows the scope of qualifying entrepreneurs to those using emerging technologies for critical parts of their business.
My main motivator for redefining my goal was to make it more achievable. The amount of energy required to create something is typically much larger than the energy required to improve something. The former usually requires more activation energy.
I'm reorienting my personal and professional endeavors to align with this new goal.
Ambitious Mission is a company I started to help further me along the above goal. All commercial efforts I personally own and operate fall under the Ambitious Mission legal umbrella. This includes:
- DRX-related products and services
- Current and future e-commerce acquisitions (undisclosed)
- SMB-focused SaaS products currently in development (undisclosed)
While I originally wanted to focus 100% on Ambitious Mission, news that we're expecting a little one this fall changed my risk profile slightly (read: significantly). I also just miss working with smart people on ambitious projects.
So... a little under a month ago I decided to start exploring opportunities. I'm happy to report that, as of April 13th, I've accepted an employment offer in Seattle. I'll be reporting for duty after Maggie and I return from our belated honeymoon mid-May.
I'll save the company's name for another post, but... you've heard of it. It was important to me that the company and the role be aligned with my personal mission. Of all the places that I spoke with, few seemed better positioned to provide me with the leverage I need to really move the needle on that 1,000,000-people figure.
Onward and upward.