Women in their 30s and 40s are among the most entrepreneurial people in the UK, according to research carried out by the women’s business support network, Prowess. This isn’t a big surprise though when you consider that this is when many women either begin to experience the difficulties of, or simply have enough of, balancing their career with their family responsibilities. Any working woman with children or ageing parents knows only too well how difficult – not to mention expensive – it can be to balance their home-life and their career. Working part-time or in a job share can offer a degree of flexibility but not every career lends itself to such arrangements and, quite rightly, many women are reluctant to compromise their career advancement or salary potential in this way. Of course, balancing family life isn’t the only reason more and more women are flexing their entrepreneurial muscle. Many simply want to achieve their full potential without having to compromise their core values and goals by conforming to the male stereotypes of business success or having to mimic male styles of management and leadership. Many employers simply don’t place any value on skills that women can bring into the workplace, expecting them to fit in with the existing system rather than allowing or encouraging the system to adapt. Self-employment, on the other hand, frees women from the need to ‘fit in’ because they can create a working environment that reflects their own values and experiences and allows them to make the most of both their learned skills and their innate talents without compromise. This is not to say that self-employment is an easy option but the rewards are there if you are prepared to take the opportunity.
Gill Gibbon set up her own business as an Auditel consultant in 200* after 15 years in corporate life. Tired of putting her heart and soul into building businesses for other people and after being made redundant twice, it was clear to her that employment was stifling her true potential. Going it alone on the other hand, (albeit with a proven franchised business system) would free her, not from the demands of business, but from the demands of other people’s business. As she says now, “I set out wanting to build a big income so I knew that it would be hard work. Now I’m through the initial stages [of building my business] and have just about replaced my salary I’m enjoying business more. I don’t have to attend boring internal meetings, I don’t have to commute to work and there are no bosses and no office politics.”