Female entrepreneurs have had a remarkable impact on the economy. Find out how and why female entrepreneurship has sky-rocketed and become the new norm.
In this article
- Mindset and perception are 2 key elements entrepreneurs control better than the average person
- Female entrepreneurship increased by 3,000% since 1972
- The highest number of female entrepreneurs by age range is between ages 40 to 44
- Female entrepreneurs own 4 out of every 10 businesses in America
- In the start-up industry, female entrepreneurs earn 2x more money than male entrepreneurs
Female Entrepreneurship: Women in Business
You know how sometimes people just know they are destined for something? Like a job, a sport – or a business?
Well I wasn’t.
When I was young, I changed my mind about who I wanted to become probably as often as I changed clothes – no kidding.
Some of the jobs I wanted to do included:
- Paleontologist (Dinosaur Specialist)
- Formula 1 Racer
- Hollywood Actress
- Professional Dog Sitter
- Wall Street Stock Broker
And none of those dreams became a reality for me – and that’s OK!
I guess that’s why we dream in the first place.
However, I can tell you for a fact that becoming a business owner and running my personal finance blog never was a part of my plan (and I’m a pretty structured person).
Even though I never knew becoming a female entrepreneur was in my DNA – I did have some basic passions that I knew while growing up.
My passions are:
- Personal Finance
So, I put these 2 passions together – and voila!
And to be honest, if you already know your passion – and know what gets you excited, then why not try to think of a way to start your own company or business?
Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not saying throw your current job or career out the door and start from scratch tomorrow.
But what I am saying is start doing your research, see if there is a potential job (or business that you can start) out there for yourself.
Try to pair your passions together (for example, if you love anything to do with sports and enjoy writing – start a sports blog).
As you start your sidepreneurship (more on this term, later) and as you see continued success, you may then have the ability to transition from your current 9 to 5 job to running your side-business to your now full-time business!
Keep in mind: It just takes time.
Let’s examine some of the ways female entrepreneurs are turning businesses right-side-up and winning at it simultaneously!
To be successful – and to build a business literally from nothing – entrepreneurs maintain and employ a very different mindset compared to your regular 9 to 5 worker.
That comment is not trying to downgrade the salaried employee – it’s simply a fact.
The most notable difference in an entrepreneurial mindset versus the salaried worker’s mindset really has to do with 2 perspectives:
- How an entrepreneur approaches challenges
- How an entrepreneur approaches mistakes
The day to day grind of a business can take a massive toll on really any entrepreneur – even the most energetic and charismatic entrepreneur I know has down days. That’s ok.
Entrepreneurs are committed and do not lose sight of their goals, even when there are days – or weeks – at a time when things just don’t seem to go their way.
That’s why maintaining a growth mindset – a mindset focused on opportunity even during failure – is so important.
Mindset Growth Techniques for Entrepreneurs:
- Set aside time each day to focus on your goals
- The more you challenge yourself, the better an entrepreneur you will be
- Fail forward – mistakes are opportunity for growth
- Consider all angles when approaching a problem
Maintaining a mindset focused on growth and opportunity is very important if you plan to become an entrepreneur, because the chances that your business will fail in the first few years is extremely high.
Let’s take a look using an example of 1,000 new business start-ups:
|Year in Business||Chances Business Will Fail||Number of Businesses Remaining|
That means out of 1,000 start-up businesses, only 84 will survive after 10 years.
So yes, the odds are stacked up pretty heavily against you.
Let’s take a closer look at how your selected industry can help or hurt your entrepreneurial venture:
|Industry Type||Chances of Failure - Year 5|
So, if you are a health care expert, chances are that your business will more likely survive than if you decided to found a start-up in the transportation or warehousing industries.
What are the Signs that You are Ready to Become an Entrepreneur?
Below are some sure-fire signs that indicate whether or not you are ready to start the entrepreneurial journey:
- You are not afraid of learning
- You are detail-oriented
- You are resourceful
- You are innovative and creative
- You are not risk-averse
- Your time management skills are sublime
- You enjoy being in control
- You have excellent money-skills
Now let’s take the time to explore why women, in particular, are turning more toward entrepreneurship.
Why More Women are Turning to Entrepreneurship
At the dawn of the new century, one trend has been growing steadily: Females turning to entrepreneurship.
In fact, based on a 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report survey by American Express, female entrepreneurship increased close to a staggering 3,000% from 1972.
That means female entrepreneurs open roughly 1,817 new businesses per day in just the United States between 2018 to 2019.
This graphic clearly demonstrates a positive trend over the past 2 decades – with over a 160% jump of new female entrepreneurs per day between the 2002-2007 range and the 2007-2012 range.
In fact, female entrepreneurs now make up about 40% of new entrepreneurs in total.
Pursuing female entrepreneurship may be the right fit for you – but it might not yet be the right time for you.
Timing is everything – because a lot of successful female entrepreneurs tend to carry their work experience into their business start-ups, so the typical female entrepreneur is actually around 40 to 50 years old.
In the years that I have coached and mentored clients as well as young professionals, I have noticed a clear perception that the more industry knowledge and experience one has, the more likely that person feels comfortable transitioning to running a start-up business, with a specialization in their career or field.
Moreover, it has become apparent that female entrepreneurs and their businesses experience a much higher growth rate when compared to businesses in general.
This graphic illustrates that female-owned companies experienced a 21% growth rate between 2014 and 2019 over just a 9% growth rate of all other businesses during that same time period.
While female-run businesses grew by 21% from 2014 to 2019, the growth rate of businesses founded by females of color was almost 2 times that – with a staggering 43%.
|Female Entrepreneurs: Types||Growth Rate from 2014 to 2019|
Female Entrepreneurs: All types
Female Entrepreneurs: Women of Color
Female Entrepreneurs: African American
Female Entrepreneurs: Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Female Entrepreneurs: Latina/Hispanic
Female Entrepreneurs: Asian American
Female Entrepreneurs: Native American/Alaska Native
The point here is this: Female entrepreneurship is becoming a dominant force in the business world, regardless of industry.
Women (including myself) often see entrepreneurship as an escape from the everyday life of the 9 to 5 job.
Entrepreneurship often symbolizes freedom for many – it’s a world full of opportunities (and risks).
And the scariest step is the first one.
Benefits for Females in Entrepreneurship
- Reduction in Gender Pay Gap
- Rapid advancements
- Increased control
- Pursuit of Passion
Who doesn’t like flexibility in their lives?
One thing is for sure: Females LOVE flexibility, especially seeing that women are often the primary family caretakers – whether it’s the kids or elderly parents.
Ironically, it seems like women prefer flexibility, while men crave control.
There’s a reason why we are so different, isn’t there?
Increased job flexibility does have many benefits – and COVID-19 may be a catalyst that propels the more traditional corporate job structures to bend a little more and add some flexibility.
Benefits of job flexibility:
- Ability to set your own schedule
- Less stress & pressure
- More life balance
- Healthier lifestyle
- More time with family
- Potentially the ability to work from home
However, I should note that 57% of the women surveyed did state they did not enjoy answering to a boss.
Ultimately, if flexibility is a must for you – and you just can’t seem to find that feature in your current job, you may want to consider entering the world of entrepreneurship.
Pro: Reduction in Gender Pay Gap
If you run your own business – chances are you will charge what you are actually worth!
That sounds intuitive – to charge what you are worth – doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, the gender pay gap is still a pretty big issue in the modern-day and age.
And no – I’m not dissing our fellow male colleagues. I’m not dissing anyone.
I’m saying that the root cause of the problem could possibly be our corporate structure.
Now, if you are a woman and simply don’t put in the effort that your male colleagues put in, then you don’t deserve to be paid as much. That’s fair.
However, it’s also fair that if you are a woman and you do put in as much work as your male counterparts, you should be paid equally. That’s fair.
Sometimes, if you have really poured your time and effort into your corporate job but see no results – and even if you’ve talked to your direct boss about a promotion, but still there’s nothing – it might be time to take matters into your own hands.
That’s what I did. And I love it.
I am earning my worth. So should you.
Pro: Rapid Advancements
Probably the single most important reason why I am so passionate about entrepreneurship is because my advancement or success within my company is strictly based on how much effort I put into my work.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t have:
- No office politics
- No office gossip
- No strict office hours
- No “weird” office traditions
That’s why running your own business is so rewarding: You literally establish your own work culture.
If you love office gossip, then chances are you’ll likely hire people that enjoy that too, as your company grows.
On the other hand, if you value a family-focused environment, then chances are you’ll likely hire people to fit that mold.
Unfortunately, for those women who are still in the corporate grind – studied published by McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.Org indicate that women are 15% less likely to receive a promotion compared to men – all things being equal.
And even though companies do try to promote rapid advancement for women – not all companies succeed equally.
As you can see from the image above, managers do not necessarily carry out the full extent of the company’s wishes – and employees can feel that lack of concern in every way.
Although it’s never too late to change the work environment, it will likely take a lot of time – and patience.
Jumping into entrepreneurship can be A LOT riskier, but you can make change happen much, much faster.
The call is ultimately yours.
Pro: Increased Control
Who doesn’t like control over their future and success?
I love being in control of many things – some might even argue (possibly my husband) that I am 1 notch underneath a “control freak.”
Rest assured – I’m not that bad.
But 1 thing that I absolutely detest?
- Having someone else control my future success
Imagine this: You’re the star new worker at a large corporation, have been working 13 hour days for the past 6 months and have been employed at the company for about 2 years – without ever receiving a promotion.
You never receive a promotion going into your third year at work.
After digging a little deeper into the “why” – you find out that someone else received your promotion because they are “buddy-buddy” with your direct manager.
Yep. That happens.
And it’s happened to me.
Sure, it’s a lot more stress and it’s a lot more responsibility (see the cons of being an entrepreneur – described below).
But in my opinion – running your own show is just so much more worth it.
It’s fulfilling in every way.
Pro: Pursuit of Passion
If you found a business based on your passion – chances are, you’ll be successful because you love working in the business.
Not only that – but your clients will see that you truly enjoy what you do, and that’s something very rare today.
I am so passionate about The Millennial Money Woman.
It’s a business that I live, I breathe, I sweat.
I pour my heart and soul into this business – and that’s because I truly, with every ounce of my being, believe in my business.
I know – from first-hand experience – that there is such a large need for financial literacy knowledge because the majority of us are not taught enough about money from an early age.
And building this financial literacy platform is something that I know will help other people – and that’s why I want to spend so much time on this business.
Of course, it’s always a nice treat to see a financial reward as well – but the true reason why I love The Millennial Money Woman is because I know I am making a difference in someone else’s life.
Why are Women Leaving their Corporate Jobs?
Because their corporate jobs wear off their glimmer after a while and just don’t seem to be inspiring.
Those large corporate jobs are not always fulfilling, either.
Below, I’ve outlined some benefits of starting a business by yourself:
- You can leave behind a legacy
- You truly love your business
- You earn money for you
As you can probably see, it’s not so much about how smart you are when it comes down to starting your business.
It’s about how much heart and soul you pour into your business.
Drawbacks for Females in Entrepreneurship
- You have to Motivate Yourself
- Responsibility (and stress)
- Family considerations
- Lower access to mentors
Con: You have to Motivate Yourself
One of the hardest things about being a female entrepreneur is finding that motivation.
Let me speak from my own personal experience: Finding motivation during the tough times is really, really difficult – if not impossible.
That’s where you need to rely on your network or on your family to support you and give you that morale boost.
My husband knows when I am feeling down and upset.
I lean on him to cheer me back up and brighten my day, because quite frankly – we are a team.
We rely on each other and that’s why we work so well together.
Trust me, I know that as a woman, if you are in the trenches in your business, there’s a big chance you’ll get into the weeds, sometimes losing perspective of the priorities at hand.
That has happened to me many times before.
Below are some tricks I use to motivate myself in case I’m down:
- Stop working and go for a walk
- Lean on the people that I know have my back
- Start off the day by completing 1 task – that’s the best way to start positive momentum
- Cuddle with my French Bulldog
- Review my business goals
- Reach out to my mentor for a pep talk
- Try setting new business goals for next year
The 2 points that have helped me the most in remotivating myself are going for a short walk and reaching out to my support network – be it my mentor or my husband.
Finding the motivation to keep pursuing your business venture is not an easy task – especially if you’re having a dry spell for weeks – or even months.
Con: There’s Uncertainty
One of the difficulties with running a business is the uncertainty that comes with ownership.
You never know if your venture will become a success – or a flop.
Many people (myself included) don’t cope well with uncertainty.
They spend lots and lots of mental energy on their concerns for the uncertain elements in their business.
Here’s what I learned: There are 2 types of events in business:
- Those events that are in your control
- Those events that are not in your control
You should only spend your mental energy on 1 of those event types: Those that you can control.
You can’t control whether a hurricane will wipe out your business tomorrow.
You can, however, control how much liability insurance you purchase to protect your business in the case that happens.
Understanding how to cope with uncertainty really is an art and a skill.
Below are a few tips that can help you feel more comfortable with uncertainty:
- Spend your time and energy on the things that you can control
- Give yourself permission to feel nervous about the uncertain: It’s inevitable
- Embrace uncertainty – it’s simply a way of the entrepreneurial life
- Learn to deal with your emotions
Keep in mind that mastering uncertainty will take time.
But actively train your mindset to embrace the uncertainty that lies ahead – and know that uncertainty is not necessarily a bad thing: It could mean great opportunity and reward.
Con: Responsibility – A lot of it
As I set foot into my newfound role as CEO and founder of The Millennial Money Woman – I realized that the company’s burden lay on 1 person and 1 person only: Me.
In other words, the success – and failure – of the business lay only in my hands.
I had total and free reign over literally every aspect of the business – and that was amazing and scary at the same time.
Basically, the following decisions lay in my hands:
- How to build the perfect and most user-friendly website
- How to craft blog articles in a way that was easy to read and also be informative
- Staying up-to-date on all things related to finance
- How to make money
- How to optimize every dollar in the business (and outside of the business)
- How to stay motivated even during the dry spouts
There was – and still is – so much learning involved.
Did I know how to optimize my SEO keywords? Nope.
Did I know how to write compelling – let alone write in a blog post style format? Definitely not.
One of the most important life lessons I learned growing into my role as a female entrepreneur was that I had to start being comfortable, being uncomfortable.
Responsibility certainly pushes your comfort limits.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the many responsibilities you are facing in your business – and possibly in your personal life as well – I’ve created a few simple tips to implement:
- Organization is key
- Time management is crucial
- Don’t strive for perfection – no one is perfect
- Look for conflict resolution strategies
- Delegate with purpose: Learn to trust those you hire
- Say “No”
- Procrastination kills
- Sleep for 8+ hours
- Eat healthily
- Remember to spend time with your family
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, between 53% and 68% of family caregivers are female.
Moreover: Below are some shocking statistics that indicate why female entrepreneurs may sometimes have trouble focusing on their business start-ups:
- Women typically spend 6 more hours doing household chores than men
- Women spend at least 3 more hours performing child care duties
- About 33% of American parents feel they do not spend enough time with their kids
Family and business certainly can be a balancing act – especially for females.
Of course, that’s where the flexibility and time management skills of being a business owner really can come in handy.
Quite truthfully, being a female entrepreneur would typically give you more time and flexibility to take care of your family while still running a business.
However, as your business consumes more and more of your time and energy, being the CEO of both a business and a household can certainly place a strain on you.
Tips to be a CEO of the business and family:
- Time management skills – block a period of time specifically for your family each day
- Work when your family sleeps
- Show you are grateful for your family’s support
- Trust others to help you run your business – that frees up your time
It’s not impossible to balance work and family – especially while running your business start-up – but it’s going to be an uphill battle.
It’s actually a very common thing for women to be less confident when focusing on their business.
One of the best ways to stop a low sense of confidence is to build resilience.
This point actually goes back to the section in this article where I explained the mindset of the typical entrepreneur: Successful entrepreneurs restructure their mindset so that instead of surrendering to a failure, they learn from mistakes and view bad situations as a learning opportunity.
As an entrepreneur you have several choices to make as it relates to your mindset:
- You can control how you respond to situations
- Maintain perspective of your situation
- Fail forward – embrace failure and learn from mistakes
Thought restructuring – and with that changing your perspective – is not going to be easy and it will take time.
But this strategy is going to be the best way to get out of the proverbial sinkhole.
Lower Access to Mentors
When compared to males, females typically have more trouble finding strong female mentors to help them through the ups and downs of successfully leading a start-up business.
And it’s true – when I joined local female-run entrepreneurship groups, I felt like my view was widened 10-fold.
Listening and learning from so many experienced female leaders helped me learn from their mistakes and find ways to improve some of my company’s practices.
What is Sidepreneurship?
Female entrepreneurs are becoming more popular than you might think.
To be honest, I haven’t really heard the term “sidepreneurship” until I started reading into females in finance to grab a few more fun facts for you guys!
However, what I found to be a shocking statistic as it relates to sidepreneurship is that the number of female sidepreneurs has grown by 39% versus the growth rate for the number of female full-time business owners, which is 21%.
Why is sidepreneurship on the rise?
One of the main reasons why sidepreneurship is becoming so popular in today’s age is because it’s an overall fairly low-risk strategy to becoming a business owner down the road.
Below are some additional benefits to sidepreneurship:
- Way out of the 9 to 5 job
- Low-risk strategy
- Pursuit of your passion
- Typically low overhead costs
- Easy transition to become a full-time business owner
One reason why sidepreneurship is so appealing to many millennials and Generation Xers (those who are currently between 40 and 55 years old) is because it’s an easy transition from the regular 9 to 5 job to a full-time business owner.
In fact, take a look at the chart below detailing the staggering growth rate statistics for sidepreneurial businesses versus all other regular businesses.
As you can see, sidepreneurship has taken off quite drastically for all categories – especially the African American / Black Women category.
It’s a growing trend – and with the recent pandemic and COVID crisis, I would only expect the sidepreneurship trend to jump even higher.
And to be honest, when I first started The Millennial Money Woman, I resorted to sidepreneurship as well – although I didn’t actually know it was called that.
I just always loved finance and had a passion for writing so I thought why not try to combine both passions into 1 – blogging – and I get to help out my readers at the same time!
Talk about a win-win scenario.
So let’s say after reading the brunt of this article, you have decided that entrepreneurship (or even sidepreneurship) is the thing for you.
Below are some of the next steps you should consider if you want to begin your sidepreneurship business venture:
- Figure out what you love to do
- Do some detective work and figure out what you need to start
- Just start – take the first step
Trust me, taking the first step toward any business venture will likely be the most difficult step, because you simply don’t have that momentum built up – yet.
However, it’s the first step that will start your momentum – and will hopefully keep you moving so that one day your sidepreneurship will become a full-time business.
Think about it this way: If Neil Armstrong didn’t take the first step on the moon – where would we have been in space exploration today?
Would we even have started our space exploration journey?
Transitioning from a 9 to 5 job and becoming an entrepreneur – be it a male or female entrepreneur – is probably one of the scariest things you can do in your life.
It’s literally a new world and you are responsible for everything – from ordering paperclips to calling clients who don’t want to pay you for your services.
That’s all on you.
Becoming an entrepreneur is not always fun.
In fact, in the first few years of starting up your company – it rarely is fun.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll likely have fears about some of the following categories:
- Taking excessive risks
- Submitting to your fears
- Being only average
- Financial failure
Being a female entrepreneur is not so easy, either.
I think my largest personal struggle was simply battling my very low self-confidence.
I was always confident in The Millennial Money Woman – but I wasn’t too confident in myself:
- Will I stay motivated?
- Will I stay creative?
- When will I start earning money from my business?
- Will I be accepted by my peers?
- Will I be a good leader?
- What if I hate being a business owner?
And you know what?
As the author and researcher, Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., found in his book, “The Worry Cure.”
Turns out, I absolutely LOVED being a female entrepreneur – in finance.
Sure, my job was (and still is) very difficult at times.
However, it’s extremely fulfilling and I learn every day while I write my blog posts for my audience.
Not only that, but I also really enjoy the interactions with my podcast hosts and interviewers.
It’s been a fantastic journey so far.
So, below are my top 4 tips if you are considering entrepreneurship as your future venture:
- Trust yourself
- Be passionate about what you do
- Visualize your goals
- Persistence is key
You will hear thousands of “no’s” – just like I did.
Now go out there and find your passions!
Female entrepreneurship can be a scary journey – but it certainly is a rewarding experience if you are passionate and stick to your plan.
You (and your bank accounts) will thank me later!
What were some things that you thought would hold you back on your path to becoming an entrepreneur? How did you get past these obstacles?