MicroEnterprise Journal: Dawn R. Rivers, Publisher, Journalist

Dawn R. Rivers considers herself a Don Quixote, an advocate in search of a cause, although she certainly doesn't think of herself as someone who chases after windmills.

Some might disagree, given her decision to take up the fight for microbusinesses in this country, something she says has been a yin-and-yang battle, with fortune not always following fame.

“I suspect that if I had been less focused on advocacy over the last 10 years, I would probably have made more money by now. It's not a bad thing, but even so, those of us who are Don Quixotes go into business to make money,” she says, laughing.

Her flagship MicroEnterprise Journal, in continuous publication since September 1999, focused on women-operated home-based businesses but shifted gears after hearing from male readers that the things she wrote about pertained to them, too.

A natural-born data wonk, her early research confirmed that the home-based business mom romanticized by the media was mostly home-based businesses run by men. Another popular media myth not supported by her research was that home-based women business owners were doing so for their kids, when, in fact, many were empty nesters.

“So this was when I opened it up to all small businesses of both genders—a huge base that no one was paying attention to—and since then have had some success in changing the conversation about microbusinesses,” says Rivers.

Microbusiness: A Growing Phenomenon

By 2004, ...

Get Innovation in a Reinvented World: 10 Essential Elements to Succeed in the New World of Business now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.