The real reason women become entrepreneurs

It's exactly why anyone would want to venture into the world of self-employment: flexibility, ownership, financial security, and in some cases, there was never another option!

Why do women really go into business? In a recent survey of female entrepreneurs, many different reasons were given from improved flexibility to better financial opportunities and the ability to be your own boss.

Reed Commercial has conducted a OnePoll survey of 100 female business owners asking “what made you decide to start your current business?” The following were the most popular responses.

For improved flexibility

Almost one-quarter of respondents said they decided to set up their own business to bring more flexibility to their life and fit their work around their family. Working from home and freedom from the corporate structure were also cited as important reasons to set up a business. One respondent said: “the ability and flexibility to set my own hours” was a key benefit, another wanted “something to fit around the children’s school hours”.

To be my own boss

One-in-six of the female business owners surveyed wanted to be their own boss and craved the responsibilities and rewards that come from owning a company. One respondent said she “hated the corporate environment”, others identified a desire to break through the glass ceiling of the business world and another said she “already worked in the industry and knew I could set up a better company than the one I was at”. This clear ambition from the respondents demonstrates their confidence in their business skills and acumen. Some of the respondents also said they identified a clear gap in the market and decided to pursue it by setting up a business.

I had no choice

Some respondents were pushed into becoming business owners, for a variety of reasons. One-in-ten set up shop following a redundancy and others entered into business as they felt it was their vocation or they had just been in the right place at the right time. One respondent said: “I was at home all day and decided to do something to earn a little pocket money, and it turned out I was good at it”. Another respondent, who now works in horticulture, moved into a property with greenhouses, started growing plants and now has a thriving online business.

I wanted to improve my financial security

One-in-eight of the respondents set up a business to make more money and better their retirement prospects. One respondent said: “I wanted to work towards building my dreams and not someone else’s and I wanted to create financial freedom that doesn’t expect me to be working until my late sixties.” This was a popular stance with many of the respondents who were keen to reap all the rewards for their hard work, which is simply not possible when you work as an employee.

It’s not my baby

Almost one-third of the respondents did not start the business that they now own. Yet this demographic experienced the least amount of business difficulties, according to the survey. Almost three-quarters of this subset said they had no difficulties in their business. Only one-quarter of those that set up the business they now own claimed to have no business-related issues.

See also: Top 9 women founders leading the UK’s high-growth UK scale-ups

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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Women In Business