We couldn't think of anyone better to advise you on starting a business as a woman, than those that have been there and done it. The following five female entreneurs spoke to Startups.co.uk about their experiences as women starting their own businesses:
YRA: I believe it’s due to a realisation of opportunities available to them; as well as the rise in support services and awareness initiatives specifically targeted at women.
RC: There are more opportunities to start a business from home; something that suits women who are juggling careers and parenthood. In addition, I think women are a lot more ambitious and motivated. Achieving as much as I can is important to me, especially as life seems to be dashing by since I turned 25.
AF: I think that women today are more confident, and therefore are happy to take their destiny into their own hands. I know a lot of young mums who have started their own businesses because of their situation: they can spend more time with their children because of being at home.
KM: The reasons could be endless… Personally, I cut loose when my job in the City was axed after 9/11 and something told me that there was no point in waiting for the work to come to me anymore. I have a passion for organising events so I knew what I had to do!
KG: I think women have more choices in life in general. Many obstacles of the past generations have been removed and this helps greatly in the decision to start up in business.
YRA: It never crossed my mind; but I’d never encountered situations where I was not taken seriously because I was a woman.
RC: To be honest I have never thought about it, because I have always let my own thoughts lead the way rather by being influenced by other people (unless offering advice or constructive criticism). I am a firm believer if you want something badly enough you can make it happen. If you know what you are alking about you can be taken seriously.
AF: Yes. My business is within web design and development, a technical field generally quite male-dominated. Luckily, there is the creative factor, too, and I feel that people appreciate the “feminine” touch that I can give their look. Also, I found that when talking at events, the male speakers got more interest from the public than myself. Now this may be due to the fact that I am a lousy speaker, but I felt that the way they presented themselves was more aggressive. They made everything sound so important and made the audience feel small and ignorant.
KM: Not at all. I’m conscious of my young complexion and petite stature, but my late Godmother, equally petite, was a hugely successful and dynamic businesswoman. Like my Godmother, I would like to be taken seriously because of my professional approach, strength of character, commitment and integrity.
KG: It really never occurred to me that my gender would cause a problem in any career path I decided to take. I believe people take me seriously because of my genuine passion and enthusiasm for property.
YRA: It most definitely is if you have children, as you not only have the demands of the family’s emotional and physical needs, which is usually the role/responsibility of a woman, but also the demands of a business to cope with.
RC: It is more of an issue for women. From my own experience I want to be a mother but also successful, so there has to be some kind of balance. There are times that I have realised that I have not spent any time with my husband or children all weekend because I have been doing business-related things.
AF: Yes. I am over 30 now, and I know that in my case, if I want to grow my business, I’ll be better off not starting a family just yet. This is a big decision that a man doesn’t need to consider – he can become a daddy at 45 and it’s not a problem.
KM: Family life wasn’t an issue when I founded Savvy Club as I was single. However, I’m sure that any strain or obstacle can be overcome with compromise, understanding and commitment. Family life is only a bigger problem for women than men if you let it be.
KG: I think it depends on the family situation. If the woman is the primary care giver then of course it is more difficult for the family until they adjust.
YRA: Having a family is not currently an issue for me, but I would advise most women to consider starting a business before a family. However, there are means and ways of working around it.
RC: Communication and compromising.
AF: No children, no dogs, no cats - for the moment.
KG: I am lucky that my partner and I share the responsibility of our family and domestic life. I have received great support from him especially in the earliest stages of starting the business.