The Rise of the People-Less Business

Some fascinating data out in a new Intuit/IFTF study on small business. One factoid that caught my eye right away was on the rise of “personal businesses”, the kind of one-person shows that helped drive the adoption of Ebay, Adsense, etc.

Personal businesses are a surprisingly large part of the American economy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at the end of 2004 almost 20 million Americans operated businesses with no employees. Businesses without a payroll make up over 70% of the nation’s businesses, and almost one million new businesses without payrolls were added in 2004 (the latest available data).

[via Intuit/IFTF]


  1. Cosmo Lee says:

    FYI: A “factoid” is not an “interesting factette”. I know there are dictionaries that will define it so, subscribing to the philosopy that if enough people use something incorrectly, that then becomes the new meaning, but this really rubs me the wrong way. Especially since a word like “factoid” is so needed in this day and age of purposeful, Bush White House mis-information. Let’s not abuse the word into oblivion just because everybody else does.
    Remember, human-OID is “human-like”. We wouldn’t need another word for “human” that looked and sounded almost exactly the same. So, fact-OID is not the same as “fact”. “-oid” means to appear to be something, but it ain’t that something.
    American Heritage dictionary:
    1. A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition: “What one misses finally is what might have emerged beyond both facts and factoids�a profound definition of the Marilyn Monroe phenomenon” (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt).
    2. Usage Problem A brief, somewhat interesting fact.
    Usage Note: The -oid suffix normally imparts the meaning �resembling, having the appearance of� to the words it attaches to. Thus the anthropoid apes are the apes that are most like humans (from Greek anthrpos, �human being�). In some words -oid has a slightly extended meaning�having characteristics of, but not the same as,� as in humanoid, a being that has human characteristics but is not really human. Similarly, factoid originally referred to a piece of information that appears to be reliable or accurate, as from being repeated so often that people assume it is true. The word still has this meaning in standard usage. Seventy-three percent of the Usage Panel accepts it in the sentence It would be easy to condemn the book as a concession to the television age, as a McLuhanish melange of pictures and factoids which give the illusion of learning without the substance. �Factoid has since developed a second meaning, that of a brief, somewhat interesting fact, that might better have been called a factette. The Panelists have less enthusiasm for this usage, however, perhaps because they believe it to be confusing. Only 43 percent of the panel accepts it in Each issue of the magazine begins with a list of factoids, like how many pounds of hamburger were consumed in Texas last month. Many Panelists prefer terms such as statistics, trivia, useless facts, and just plain facts in this sentence.
    Source: The American Heritage� Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright � 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.