Why Do Women Start Businesses?

Why do women start businesses? Because we can.

OK, that’s kind of a snarky response, however true. The rate at which women start businesses is dramatically greater than our male counterparts, with women of color entering entrepreneurship even faster.

What I’m getting at is: what is the motivation behind women starting their own business?

Conventional wisdom says it’s because we can’t get ahead in Corporate America. While there is truth to the “glass ceiling” phenomenon, research shows that is not the driving reason.

Let me begin by saying there are as many reasons as there are women, and it is generally not a single factor. We can make money at a job. Even if we love what we do in our job, there is sometimes a piece missing.

The Key to Entrepreneurship

Perhaps that is the key to entrepreneurship: we see the need for something that is missing, and we believe – we BELIEVE – we can fill that gap. There is passion combined with ability.

Another piece of the puzzle often present is how that missing puzzle piece serves more than just ourselves. We tend to prize human values above profits, and search as much if not harder for meaning and impact in our work. In doing so, we are changing society’s definition of “success” by looking beyond self-interest to the needs of many. Those of the millennial generation are particularly drawn to idealistic goals that help or inspire others.

Even my own business, C-Suite Advisors, began as merely “another business consultancy” but rapidly shifted to focus squarely on working with women business owners who need support and encouragement as they maneuver the rapids of business growth, as they rewrite the rules of business and definition of success for women. That not only fills a need but it is a mission I am truly passionate about, that gets me energized, and that keeps me going. And I’m helping rewrite the rules of business for women.

Rewriting the Definition of Success

Many women define success in creating a career that is supportive of motherhood, and that helps others realize that same dream. My friend Cindi Filer did just that, and long before it was “cool” to do so. When she exited Corporate America to become a full-time mom 20 years ago, she discovered that she missed the stimulation of business. So she began taking on part-time gigs, in time enlisting other friends to help her take on more and more gigs. This led her to develop a nontraditional staffing agency, Innovative Outsourcing, designed to provide permanent part-time workers to small businesses. That she has a multimillion dollar business where she has maintained a 25-hour workweek  is nothing short of extraordinary. She rewrote the rules of business to fit her needs, both for service and for family.

What is your vision and mission? How do you define success? You don’t have to start your own business to live into them, but if you think you might want to we’re happy to welcome you to our tribe.


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