November 19th is officially proclaimed as Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (Yay!).
It’s a pretty big deal here in the United States, along with 143 other countries. If you are, by chance, in NYC this weekend, consider swinging by the United Nations or Athleta Union Square for some Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (#ChooseWomen) celebrations!
As a female entrepreneur, I’m pretty stoked about Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, as my entrepreneurial experience has been quite empowering. Not only did starting my own business help me achieve class mobility and higher education, but it also provided more freedom and resources for my family’s future.
I’ve often wondered where I’d be today if I’d forgone entrepreneurship for a low-paying, 60+ hour post grad entry level position like my “lucky” classmates landed. Probably not working with national organizations as clients, sitting on state boards, and teaching college before my 30th birthday.
While running your own business presents a variety of risk, entrepreneurship also provides a wealth of opportunities to build a career that can accommodate for the changing seasons of our lives. Like thousands of other female entrepreneurs, I’ve been able to create a better life for myself, my loved ones, and my community thanks to the autonomy entrepreneurship provided.
Here are three reasons entrepreneurship is a great option for trailblazing women:
Provides Schedule Flexibility
Imagine being able to take your grandmother to the doctor whenever she needed it.
Imagine being able to make every baseball game, ballet recital, and karate competition that your child has.
Imagine being able to start your workday when it works for you – not when your boss says to.
You don’t have to just imagine it – entrepreneurship can provide just that type of schedule flexibility that your busy 21st century life craves. Structured appropriately, once a business is set-up (and out of that dreaded startup phase!) entrepreneurs can engineer their workday in a way that allows for freedom-maxing autonomy.
But it’s not all peachy – entrepreneurship comes with a lot of responsibility. You can’t push a project over onto a coworker, as there’s no one there. You can’t miss deadlines and expect clients to pay up every two-weeks like your employer does. You can’t neglect business development in lieu of kid’s activities and (realistically) expect to have any work slotted for the next quarter.
Closing the Gender Pay Gap
I don’t care which side of the political fence you sit on – if you’re an American, and you’re a woman, you get paid a lot less than your male peers. Sure, the gender-based pay gap has closed some since we she-males were given the right to vote; however, it’s still got a long way to go (and it’s not moving very fast).
Funny thing, is that while women get paid less than their male colleagues here in the USA, our costs are all the same – we don’t get tuition breaks adjusted for the pay gap – so there’s not much for a working woman to do outside of 1) advocating (big fan of #PussyPower) and 2) find ways to make more money, and entrepreneurship provides just that.
While it may be nearly impossible to achieve pay equality as an employee during our lifetime (the World Economic Forum predicts it’ll take another 170 years), entrepreneurs can overcome some of the gender-based compensation obstacles through strategic business ownership. When you write your own paychecks, drive your own investments, and are the rate limiting factor to your own success, as is the case for many entrepreneurs, the whole compensation ball, if you will, is in your court. No misogynistic boss, cemented glass ceiling, or impermeable Boy’s Club standing blocking your rise to income equality – it’s your career, your way.
Opportunity to Give Back
This is perhaps one of the most important, and often, undiscussed, benefits of entrepreneurship – the opportunity to influence and give back to your community.
Successful entrepreneurs have more resources than their employed colleagues. They can allot their time how they see fit, and they can budget financial resources in accordance with their values. If they want to take of Wednesday afternoons to volunteer as a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, they can. If they want to donate 5 percent of their company’s sales over Veterans Day to Paralyzed Veterans of America, they can do so without their philanthropic request getting bogged down in corporate bureaucracy. The ability to give back is all up to the entrepreneur. It’s pretty awesome.
Within just a few weeks of starting my own business, I was able to start reinvesting in my local community through board service, fundraising campaigns, mentoring programs, and volunteer projects – all things that I neither had the time or money to participate in as a 60+ hour week employee with a two hour daily commute. Because I could set my scheduled in accordance with my proprieties (not my supervisor’s) I was able to carve out upwards of ten hours each week for the sole sake of philanthropic initiatives. Not only did I end up more fulfilled in my work, but I was also able to connect with other like-minded social influencers within my community. Win-win-win.
Ready to get entrepreneurial?
Entrepreneurship offers many benefits for today’s female professional wanting to make a difference. Schedule flexibility, closing the pay gap, and increased participation in philanthropic opportunities are just a few of the reasons entrepreneurial growth is essential for our communities and the bold women that lead them. While entrepreneurship presents challenges and risks to all trailblazers, I encourage you to consider the very real opportunities striking out on your own can present, and recognize our fearless female treps on Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.