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Increasingly women are turning to entrepreneurship to combat the growing demands, pressures, and stress of a traditional career.
According to the independent Rose Review of female entrepreneurship commissioned by the U.K. Treasury in September 2018, women (more so than men) are making this choice primarily to create more work-life balance.
Despite being the “startup capital of Europe” the U.K. falls behind other major developed economies when it comes to female entrepreneurship.
Only 6% of U.K. women run their own businesses, compared to 11% of women in the U.S. and over 9% in Australia and the Netherlands.
The Rose Review also suggested that
up to £250 billion of new value could be added to the U.K. economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as U.K. men.
And there are many other reports, not just in the U.K., that argue for the macroeconomic returns of more women running their own businesses.
Few, however, focus on the micro benefits and challenges – considering the individual that is choosing to take that leap from career job to founder. Nor do they focus specifically on that very early stage, within those first three years.
DOSE co-founders, Shara Tochia and Hettie Holmes, say they understand the desire to work for yourself that spurs so many people to start their entrepreneurial journey, despite the challenges that may come with it.
DOSE is an online wellness magazine targeted at “healthy hedonists“, promoting feel-good content and experiences. They’ve grown their audience to 100,000 in three years, choosing to build organically and not seek funding.
Before running their own business, in their twenties, Shara and Hettie were “typified by stress, adrenal fatigue and burn out as a result of working 100 miles per hour launching startups”. They bonded over a mutual desire to pour that energy into something of their own instead.
Shara and Hettie both say they know that running your own business doesn’t equal “no stress”.
There are daily challenges of managing cash flow, competing priorities, and working beyond the traditional eight hour day.
They’ve learned to establish boundaries (like no phones on the table), prioritize exercise and sleep, and to get closer to nature to release some of that stress. However, also suggest that there shouldn’t “be a division between work and home lives. It’s all just life, at the end of the day”.
When the conversation is focused on the macro scale of national and global growth in numbers, and economic impact, some of these nuances can be missed.
Many of the examples given, including the case studies shared in the Rose Review, focus on larger scale businesses or capture founders’ feedback a few years in, after experiencing some level of growth already, or when they’ve received funding.
The hardest time in starting your own business is arguably in that immediate period of transitioning from career job to founder. Particularly when only two in every five U.K. businesses survives over five-years.
However, despite all this, the future remains encouraging for female entrepreneurship. For one, it seems that for Shara and Hettie at least, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Despite the job security working for someone else, I learnt through my experiences that I am driven and motivated by high risk environments and much happier as a person when in control of my work and working for myself. Shara Tochia, co-founder of DOSE.
And the Government’s formal response to the Rose Review last month had promising commitments including a focus on business mentorship and peer support networks for early-stage businesses.
April 25, 2019 at 04:29PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs