Starting a business for anyone is a major commitment and more than likely a shot in the dark. Thoughts around failure and uncertainty are not uncommon in anyone so why do it? Why go it alone? I have asked many women why they started or choose to continue to run their own business and these are some of the great reasons they gave.
Many women start their own business because they feel it will give them flexibility. Flexibility of where, when and how they work. This enables them to work around family commitments and have some control over their work/life balance. However very quickly many women find this flexibility disappears and as the business grows they have less flexibility than ever before. Whilst this wasn’t the intention when they set out on their journey some find it a struggle whilst some take comfort from the fact that it might be tough and they may not have quite what they wanted in terms of work life balance but it is still their business.
Being the boss
Some women will have no doubt come from jobs where they worked for bosses that didn’t appreciate them or didn’t allow them to exercise their intrapreneurship. They were a core part of the organisation but were not allowed to feel this way. They may not have had a very good relationship with the boss and enjoy the freedom that being their own boss gives them.
Make use of their skills and abilities
There is nothing more frustrating that being in a job where you feel your skills and abilities are not being fully utilised. Running your own business enables you to combine your particular skills and strengths to create a solution you are perfect for. Many women will start their business based on a hobby or a particular set of skills – this way they are playing to their strengths and giving themselves a good start.
Setting their own environment
As a woman in a male dominant environment sometimes can be a little tough, especially in a ‘jobs for the boys’ old school environment. Running their own business gives women the chance to create their own environment in which they can flourish and demonstrate their true potential.
Being in control
Overall the feeling of being one’s own boss gives that feeling of being in control, setting your own destiny and a great deal of satisfaction. Sometimes just the satisfaction and security of being your own boss is enough of a reward in itself. There is no-one else to answer to and it is all down to you.
Women in enterprise – some additional information
Earlier this year the Federation of Small Business (FSB) brought out a paper called “Women in Enterprise – the untapped potential” in which they spoke about the challenges faced by women who wish to be entrepreneurs. They wanted to see if they could identify what if anything was stopping women start their own enterprise.
Previous research in 2014 had found that as little as 18% of the small businesses in the UK were majority led (i.e run or more than 50% owned by a women). However more recent research has started to see this gap shifting with greater numbers of business start-ups by women since the recession.
If you would like to improve female enterprise engagement drop me a line to discuss how mentoring women can be a powerful tool to improve female enterprise.