7 Advantages of Being a Female Entrepreneur
7 Advantages of Being a Female Entrepreneur
Do you have a great business idea about which you’re passionate? Perhaps you’re thinking about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship? If you’re a woman, you may be feeling hesitant about taking those first, all-important steps toward starting your own business. After all, search around the Internet and you’ll come across article after article about the many challenges of being a female entrepreneur.
The fact is, though, times have not only changed, they continue to change. And while many of these challenges still exist, there definitely are advantages to being a woman entrepreneur. It can be tempting to focus mainly on the obstacles, but having an understanding of the advantages available to you can help you transition more smoothly into the entrepreneurial role and recognize the opportunities that exist for the woman entrepreneur.
Here, then, are seven advantages of being a female entrepreneur:
1. The stats on women entrepreneurs are on your side. There has never been a better time for women to start their own businesses. According to American Express’s The State of Women-Owned Businesses, 2013, the number of women-owned businesses between 1997 and 2013 grew at 1-1/2 times the national average. The report estimates that, in 2013, there were over 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States.
Further, when it comes to generating revenue, female entrepreneurs are holding their own, generating $1.3 trillion in revenue. In fact, in eight of the 13 most populous industries, women-owned businesses exceeded the overall sector growth. In other words, more women are starting their own businesses these days, and many of these businesses are thriving.
2. Women business owners have more mentors and role models than ever before. The statistics on women-owned businesses also tell us another story: unlike just a few decades ago, there are many successful businesswomen who own and run their own businesses. As you begin the task of networking that’s so important for all entrepreneurs, you will have the opportunity to meet and hopefully learn from women who have successfully faced the same challenges of entrepreneurship you now face.
On the flip side of the equation, as you enter into the world of entrepreneurship and learn through experience the ins and outs of running your own business, you will also have the opportunity to become a mentor and a role model yourself, providing inspiration and motivation to the next generation of new female entrepreneurs.
3. Women’s strength in emotional intelligence can be a competitive advantage. In recent years, leadership studies have found that having a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is an important factor when it comes to leadership. Studies have also found that women, on average, have a slight edge over men when it comes to EQ. So what exactly is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive and understand both our own emotions and the emotions of others, and to use this information to help guide how we think and behave. Basically, emotional intelligence is about the ability to work with our feelings. When it comes to leadership, emotional intelligence means, among other things, having self-awareness and empathy, and the ability to listen. Women can leverage their aptitude with emotional intelligence when it comes to leading their own companies.
4. Women entrepreneurs experience higher well-being. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, female entrepreneurs experience a higher level of “purpose well-being” than male entrepreneurs and other workers. Purpose well-being means learning or doing something interesting, liking what you do, and using your strengths to do what you do best. Entrepreneurs in general and women entrepreneurs in particular are more likely to experience these components of purpose well-being on a daily basis. Women entrepreneurs are also more likely to experience physical well-being.
It doesn’t stop there, though. In addition to having higher levels of well-being, the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) U.S. Report found that female entrepreneurs reported higher happiness levels. For many women choosing to run their own businesses, entrepreneurship can prove to be a highly satisfactory career choice.
5. The parenting experience has its entrepreneurial benefits. When it comes to balancing work with life and parenting, people tend to think of the challenges. After all, we’ve all heard, if not experienced, the tales of the screaming toddler or the recalcitrant teenager. But as all parents know, you can learn a lot from dealing with parenting issues. If we are open to it, any experience can be a teaching experience, and parenting in particular lends itself to some powerful learning experiences for the receptive parent, experiences that can often be of benefit to the entrepreneur as well.
And then there’s the multi-tasking. Most women who are mothers have become adept at multi-tasking many aspects of their lives—often out of necessity rather than any desire to be a multi-tasking wizard. This ability to multi-task is also important for the entrepreneur, who often finds herself wearing many different hats all at the same time.
6. Women are better at collaboration. Collaboration can be an important factor when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur. Even big Fortune 500 companies engage in collaboration with other companies, and for the entrepreneur, the ability to collaborate—that is, form relationships and partnerships with other businesses or entrepreneurs—can have a significant impact.
The good news for women when it comes to collaboration? Research has found that women prefer collaboration, compared to men, who tend to distrust their colleagues. As an entrepreneur, opportunities to collaborate often arise, and in many cases such collaboration can be beneficial to your business. As a woman, if you have a preference for collaboration, it could very well work in your favor.
7. Women entrepreneurs have the ability to create a women-friendly corporate culture. We’ve all heard it before: in many companies, the corporate culture can work against women. But when you own your own company, you have the ability to establish the kind of corporate culture that works best for your lifestyle.
It doesn’t matter what that lifestyle is—you may want to raise a family, or you may have certain values you hold dear—as an entrepreneur, you have the autonomy and the authority to create a work environment that works best with your needs, and, potentially, the needs of your employees. Being an entrepreneur gives you the opportunity to live your life more authentically, while at the same time create a corporate culture that’s more in line with your values.
There are many small business ideas for women out there. If you’ve found one that fills you with passion and purpose, and you’ve been spending your days dreaming of starting your own business, then yes, it’s important to be aware of the challenges that face the women entrepreneur. But one of the most important attributes of the successful entrepreneur is optimism and positive thinking. With that in mind, it’s also a good idea to be aware of the advantages of being a female entrepreneur, so you can leverage your strengths as you embark on your new entrepreneurial journey.
If you’re ready to embark on the entrepreneurial journey, but unsure where to begin, get help deciding which business entity may be right for you.