If you follow our page on Facebook then you might have caught the live video I did today about the time that I spent in D.C. this week. I went with a team from Etsy to talk with members of Congress about the issues that face micro businesses. Over 40% of today's workforce is made up of self-employed persons. On Etsy, there are 1.7 million sellers generating over 2.8 billion dollars in gross revenue last year. That is a huge contribution to our economy!
What is a Micro Business?
A micro business is a business that is even smaller than a more traditional Small Business. Mirco businesses are made up of 1-3 people and face challenges that are unique to their situation. Many times a micro business is started without much capital, and they are run out of a home or a small studio. Because of the reality of these businesses, mine included, the challenges are a bit different.
The issues that we talked with the members of Congres about included: Internet Sales Tax, Portable Benefits, and Net Neutrality. Each of these issues directly affect micro businesses in unique ways. To learn more you can watch the Facebook Live video and I have also included some links below that can give you a little more insight on the issues.
Internet Sales Tax
As of right now, sales tax is not collected or remitted from sales made online to customers outside of your own state. Congress is needing to come up with a way to deal with that since there is so much online business happening these days. We were speaking with members about making sure that the decision that is made about this taxation doesn't add an additional administrative burden to micro businesses.
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) proposed a bill that didn't make it through, so Congress is currently still trying to write a draft for a new bill that will simplify the tax code for online sales. You can read about the Chaffetz bill here.
This issue was a little more tricky to talk about because of the recent health care reform debacle. Basically, what has been suggested by Etsy is that we come up with a way to decouple benefits with the employer and instead allow them to move with the individual. Etsy has written an awesome paper that lays out their ideas that you can read here. It's a really forward-thinking idea that suggests a solution to the growing number of people that are moving towards self-employment.
Net Neutrality was something that we brought up in our conversations, but it wasn't the main issue. Basically, we are just advocating that the internet should be an even playing field, and larger businesses shouldn't be able to pay out big dollars for faster internet access or any other kind of priority on the internet. There are a lot of different aspects to Net Neutrality, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Net Neutrality doesn't only affect businesses, but it also affects all people who use the internet. Free Press has written a pretty good article on the issues that you can read up on here.
Micro Business Caucus
One of the more exciting things that happened while we were in D.C. was the forming of the first Micro Business Caucus. This is a huge step to recognize the changing workforce here in America. We are so excited to partner with these congressmen and women to speak up on these issues, and make real change for micro businesses.
How Can You Get Involved?
You might be thinking, "This is all great, but I don't own a micro business." Well, that's ok! You can still contribute to confronting these issues by petitioning your representative to join the micro businesses caucus. Etsy has made it really easy for you! Head over to Etsy's Action Page and fill out their form to ask your congressman or woman to join the caucus and advocate for the rights of micro businesses.
I am so very thankful for all of the support I have received since I started Thistle and Thread, and getting the opportunity to contribute to my community was extremely exciting and rewarding. I hope that you will join in the movement and support not only small and local business, but also micro business!
This is just an overview of each of the issues, I go into a little more depth in my Facebook Live video giving examples of how each of these issues would face a micro business. You can watch the video below or head over to Facebook and give it a watch! Again, thanks for supporting my micro business and others like me! And head over to Etsy's form to petition your congressman or woman to join the newly formed Micro Business Caucus!
What was I doing in D.C. this week?? And how you can get involved. ☺ Etsy.me/takeactionPosted by Thistle & Thread Design on Sunday, April 2, 2017