Nelson city councillor Anna Purcell conducted an online survey through social media to find out about the scope and the issues of home-based businesses in Nelson.

Nelson councillor Purcell surveys home-based businesses

Survey asks home businesses anonymously about their location, income, employees, and issues.

There are at least 268 home-based businesses in the Nelson area. Almost a third of them are in Uphill. About 17 per cent of them are artists and craftspeople and another 14 per cent are in the media (writers, graphic designers, film-makers, etc.) Sixty per cent of them make less than $50,000 per year. What they want most from the city is broadband internet.

Those are some of the results of a survey that Nelson city councillor Anna Purcell conducted on social media over the summer. She got 268 responses.

“I has hoping for good response and I am delighted,” she said. “I am really grateful to people for answering as many questions as they did.  Most people actually answered the income question, so they were really trusting, even though the survey was anonymous.”

Purcell’s full report on the results of the survey is attached below.

She says home-based businesses are an invisible but important part of the economy.

“There is a bias,” she says. “When we think of businesses we think of stores on the street, but we don’t think about the home business community. It is not advocated for and it is not well understood.  But it might be one of the biggest employers in town.”

One of the questions on Purcell’s survey asks how many people the home-based businesses employs. The 268 respondents employ 395 full- or part-time people (including the person completing the survey).

She says she was impressed by the diversity of the businesses that responded. “Yoga teachers, caterers, plumbers, programmers, dog walkers . . .”

The top five categories of respondents in Purcell’s survey were: Artist/craftsperson, 47; media, 38; professional services, 33; consulting, 32; and computer, 28.

Asked what the city might do with the survey information, Purcell said she was not sure, but the purpose of the survey was to find out how many people were out there, what kinds of work they are doing, and what they need.

The top response to the question about needs was broadband internet, followed by improved air travel, help with business marketing, and organized networking.

She said a networking group could be one result of the survey because about three quarters of the respondents said they would be, or might be, interested in going to a meeting. She agreed that many home businesses that do not have business licences might not want to attend a meeting put on by the city.

Purcell created the survey (which she says is “not scientific”) on Survey Monkey, a popular survey construction site, and then publicized it on Facebook. She took advantage of Facebook’s post-boosting feature to get it out to more people.

Asked why politicians don’t use social media more often to find out what their constituents think, she said, “Maybe it is comfort with the medium. I love Facebook. For people who are not so familiar with it, there are questions about what is private and what is public.”

Purcell said the purpose of social media is not to simply dispense information.

“People need to get something out of what you are putting out there. You should not just badger people. I am still figuring it out, figuring out what to do on my public page, trying to find the balance.”

She says the real usefulness of social media for a politician — to create conversations and find out what people think — is right up her alley.

“I love hearing from people and knowing what they think.”

Summary Self Employed Home Business Survey

Just Posted

UPDATED: Man pleads guilty in Baker Street death

Miles Halverson is guilty of manslaughter in the death of Matt Reeder

Nelson to hold open house on Railtown development

City will present plans and ask for input on specific areas of Railtown

LETTER: What are consequences of lake dredging?

From East Shore reader Tom Lymbery

LETTER: Support youth at climate strike

News from a local youth climate action retreat last month, and an invitation

Rossland chocolatier plans move to cannabis edibles

Council approves zoning change to accomodate processing facility

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

VIDEO: Party leaders react to Trudeau’s brownface photo bombshell

Fallout from Justin Trudeau’s brownface photo, and two other instances, sure to dominate campaign

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

Most Read