The trend for women starting their own businesses or becoming self-employed has been steadily increasing over the past 20 years. Recent studies suggest that women are more successful than men when it comes to running small business and that the UK’s capital is the place to be.
It’s no surprise that London currently boasts the highest number of female-run businesses, but it’s not alone in championing the way for these female pioneers, with Birmingham and Leicester making the top 3.
In the 100th year since women won the right to vote, they have finally started to reject the stereotypical “female” professions, such as beauty and teaching.
Accountancy is a strong choice for female business owners. There are now 16 times the numbers of female accountants in the UK than there were in 2014. The tech industry has also seen a huge growth in female business owners, with one of the UK’s pioneering tech entrepreneurs being Kathryn Parsons of Decoded, who regularly makes the ‘ones to watch lists’.
Flexibility and work life balance are regularly stated as reasons for women to start their own business, with starting a family stated as another common key factor for women choosing self-employment.
Digital Mums founders, Nikki Cochrane and Kathryn Tyler, have created a business to directly address this need amongst working mothers.
The Digital Mum’s course provides mums with social media training, allowing them to establish themselves as social media experts and thereby creating a sustainable flexible business that they can run from home and around the needs of their young families.
Whilst women still only make up a quarter of UK boardrooms, the gender gap is closing in the world of self-employment. Online retailers such as Amazon Marketplace and Not on the High Street are powered by female-run businesses, Over 20 of the Not on the High Street retailers earned in excess of £1m in sales last year, proving that women really are creating sustainable business online.
What’s clear is that so called “lifestyle” businesses are allowing women to create flexible employment around their personal needs, but are these businesses sustainable?
In younger generations, people are not expecting to stay in jobs for long periods of time, so entrepreneurship is a popular route. Yet many find ways to support their entrepreneurial desires with other income boosting work, like freelancing, or part-time employment.
Perhaps, therefore we are entering an age of the multi-source income, where we no longer have a job for life, but multiple streams of income that allow us to live the flexible life we desire. It seems women are driving the future in this trend.
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