The Rise of the Female EntrepreneurNov 18, 2021
In Celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, let’s all take a moment to recognise and appreciate how utterly incredible female entrepreneurs really are. With odds that are largely stacked against us, and the bulk of caring responsibilities falling firmly on our shoulders, we find ways to make it work.
Actually, we don’t just make it work: we absolutely boss it!
But it is a balancing act. Not all women have kids; not all women have relatives to look after; not all women have a household to run; not all women get the lion’s share of cooking, cleaning, shopping and ‘life admin’ – but women do have disproportionate responsibility for a lot of it. All families are different; all set-ups are different – but historically, the odds really are stacked against us.
In fact, women perform 66% of the world’s work (both paid and unpaid), yet only earn 10% of the world’s income.(womenseday.org)
Which is why so many women are choosing to step out of employment, smash their own glass ceilings, and make work, work for them.
Why is Being Your Own Boss so Appealing for Women?
As female entrepreneurs, we get to carve a career for ourselves that fits around our families or our lifestyles, and speaks to our passions. We’re in the incredibly fortunate position of being our own boss, setting our own hours, and taking our business in any direction we choose, whenever we choose to change or grow.
You see, it’s all about choice. Freedom. Self-ownership. And that’s something a lot of women have been denied, at a lot of different stages in our lives. Working for ourselves reclaims some of that power, and puts us in charge of our own destinies.
But it also comes with some unique drawbacks; drawbacks that we need to manage quite carefully.
Running your own business takes a lot of discipline. It’s hard work, and it can take its toll on our mental health. While we get to dictate our own hours, the initial set up can see us working round the clock, juggling personal commitments, and stressing about finances. But as long as you look after your wellbeing, it’s well worth the slog.
How to Look After Your Mental Health (When You’re an Entrepreneur)
Entrepreneurs often work alone, so it’s really important that you have someone you can talk to, and share your stresses, strains and challenges with. If friends and family aren’t always readily available, or if you need to talk to someone objective, therapy is a great option. You don’t have to have a mental health ‘problem’ to use therapy either; it can just keep you feeling well, and in control.
It’s also important to strike the right balance between work and your life beyond work – which, when you work for yourself, often blurs into one.
Put boundaries into place by drawing up a schedule of when you’ll spend time on your business, and when you’ll take time for yourself. It is important to have some ‘you time’ that’s free from personal commitments and obligations; time when you can read, run a bath, take yourself out for a coffee, or simply reconnect with yourself.
But self-care can also look like saying no. Refusing to take on too many responsibilities; preserving your energy by being selective with the tasks you take on, and who you give your time to.
Taking the Leap into Entrepreneurship
I took the leap into business-ownership after having my second baby. The juggle of employment became too much when coupled with a growing family and half-running a business, so I worked on my own self-esteem (something I advise my clients to do), started to really believe in myself, and took a big leap of faith. And I have never looked back.
I’m incredibly lucky that my husband is my biggest cheerleader, because it’s incredibly important to have the support and backing of your loved ones when you start your own business. If you don’t feel fully supported by the people around you, that’s something you should voice and explore; it’s another form of self-care, and part of the process of setting your own boundaries.
Business ownership isn’t for the faint-hearted, but how incredible is it that so many women – particularly in a post-Covid world – are taking their success into their own hands, and writing their own rules?
It’s not about having it all, but honing in on the things that are really important to you, and not letting self-doubt hold you back. And so long as you take sensible steps to care for your mental health and wellbeing, being an entrepreneur really is one the best feelings in the world.
Here’s to all the women doing it for themselves! You’re setting an incredible example for the women and girls who will follow in your wake.
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