The phrase “the future is female” has been the sentiment recently in politics but also for women in business. Today, more than ever before, women are fleeing the workforce to become entrepreneurs. Women are starting businesses in healthcare, social services, professional, scientific and technical services, and administrative industries. According to The National Association of Women Business Owners, there are over 9 million firms owned by women in the United States. This number represents about 30 percent of the country’s businesses, which are female-owned. These businesses are employing nearly 8 million workers and generating trillions of dollars in sales. So why are women leaving their jobs and starting their own business?
Work-life balance is incredibly important to female entrepreneurs. In a study conducted by PayPal, 55 percent of American women entrepreneurs said they started or want to start their own business to achieve work-life balance. What is work-life balance? It means finding a medium between your career and the areas of your personal life. Being a businesswoman might actually make it easier for women to create the lives they want for themselves. As an entrepreneur, even if you’re working longer hours, you get to spend those hours with freedom and flexibility. For women achieving work-life balance can feel like an ongoing challenge. It’s quite easy for you to fall into the trap of doing and saying yes to everything. Draw your boundaries and stick to them! As a business owner, you run the show to create the ideal blend of work/life balance.
In my thirties, I began planning my exit strategy to leave a rewarding job to become an entrepreneur and pursue my passion: strengthening and empowering individuals to become successful in the global marketplace. You don’t have to quit your job to become an entrepreneur. Your business can be your side “gig” to earn extra money. You can gradually work yourself into full-time entrepreneurship. While still in my corporate position, I started my business – generating my first additional streams of income – while serving as a workforce development strategist. In the past 10 years, I’ve been able to continue generating additional streams of income.
These have involved speaking, teaching, writing, providing professional services, consulting, and organizing events. As a woman, diversifying your income stream is crucial to protecting yourself and your family against the unavoidable. You can diversify your income streams among different industries to protect you during a crisis in one market and allow you to financially benefit from the prosperity in another. The opportunities are endless but it is better to have more than one income stream, and having your own business allows you to do that.
The glass ceiling has paved a way for business ownership among women. Women are taking back their independence from the corporate labor force. Female entrepreneurship is on the rise because of the dissatisfaction with the corporate world, gender inequality, salary gap and restrictions to advancement to corporate boards of directors. Women are saying no to spending years climbing their way up the corporate ladder, dealing with office politics, and working long hours without feeling accomplish. Frustration is also fueling women to start their own businesses. Frustrated with current career standing and the feeling of being blocked from advancing in their careers is the drive that is motivating many women to leave their jobs in favor of starting their own businesses.
Before starting Workforce Career Readiness™ I was on a completely different career path that I actually did feel passionate about. That passion started to dwindle and I realized I was spending way too much time dreaming of starting my own business rather than focusing on my actual job. The idea of entrepreneurship and starting a workforce development business began to consume me. I had no idea if it was the right thing to do, but I knew that I had to go for it regardless of the outcome, even though it was probably the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.
Today, I feel in control of my career and my accomplishments feel more rewarding, but the stakes are higher. Being an entrepreneur requires an unbelievable amount of discipline, being open to change, taking risks, being structured, handling disappointments, overcoming failures, and not having a steady paycheck. Carefully consider all the pros and cons first but if you are ready for the challenges then by all means, GO FOR IT!
Dr. Corinthia Price is the CEO and Founder of Workforce Career Readiness™. She is an international entrepreneurship advisor and workforce development analyst who specializes in workplace skills and competencies.
Originally published at workforcecareers.net