Millions of women today are starting their own businesses, building financial stability for themselves and adding value to their communities. Twenty-five years ago women owned a mere 10 percent of businesses in the United States, compared to 30 percent today. The U.S. Department of Commerce showed that businesses owned by women grew 44 percent from 1997 to 2007. Women are expected to create over 5 million new small business jobs by 2018, according to data released by the National Federation of Independent Business. There are many factors behind the meteoric rise of female entrepreneurship.
Today’s economic trends are encouraging many people to work for themselves. A generation ago, when the economy was more predictable, the wisest option available for working women was to land a decent job with a well-established company. Now with sudden business closures and frequent downsizing, however, working for a faceless corporation has clearly become the riskier option. Starting your own business makes financial sense during times of global market instability.
Another factor making it easier to start a business is the Internet. Thanks to the digital age, flexibility in modern day entrepreneurship has never been easier. Women entrepreneurs make use of social networking, email, and inexpensive telemarketing to remain competitive in the market. The Internet makes it easy to showcase their wares or to connect professionally with others in the same field. Working from a desktop computer in the home office, a successful entrepreneur can expand her business as far as the World Wide Web will reach, and still have time to make her son’s dance recital.
Women entrepreneurs tend to align their personal values with their business, and they are finding ways to make money from doing things they love to do. Another common trait of entrepreneurs is a strong sense of independence and a desire to call the shots. Employees of large firms generally have very little say-so in how a company is run, while entrepreneurs may choose when they will work, how they will work, and with whom they will work. They create their own working conditions based on their personal needs. Because of this, entrepreneurs rarely have to choose between work and familial responsibilities.
Today, there are ample resources available to women who wish to start their own businesses. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership maintains a network of business centers for women in nearly every state, offering ample resources to give women the knowledge they need to start and maintain their own businesses. In addition to counseling, they provide training in finance, the Internet, marketing, and business management. Federal grants and low-interest loans geared specifically for returning students are readily available, and many states also have programs geared to help single parents return to college to obtain the education they need to start their own businesses.
Simply put, there is no time like the present to become a female entrepreneur.