September 22 is American Business Women’s Day – a day founded by the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) to celebrate the contributions that women have made to the economy.
As the (female) CEO of a small company that helps entrepreneurs start a business (Whether it’s incorporating a business, forming an LLC or simply setting up a sole proprietorship (or DBA) and get their businesses off the ground, I have the incredible fortune to work with countless budding and talented business owners. Here are my thoughts on this important day…
In 2010, women became the majority of the U.S. workforce for the first time in U.S. history. 57% of college students are now women. While men continue to dominate the executive ranks and corner offices of Fortune 500 companies, women now hold their own in a number of lucrative careers: they make up 54% of accountants, 45% of law associates, and approximately 50% of all banking and insurance jobs.
But for me, the most telling statistic rests in the state of entrepreneurship. American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report found that between 1997 and 2011, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. increased by 50% — that’s a rate 1.5 times higher than the national average.
More and more women are coming into their own as business owners. And the motivation behind each business is as diverse as the women themselves. For some women, a business is a great outlet for their energy, leadership skills, and passion. For others, it’s a flexible way to supplement household income. And for many, it’s simply a necessity. Since let’s face it: living on a single income is not that easy in our two-income economy.
If you are considering starting your own business, here are four benefits to consider:
1. Personal fulfillment: Running a business is hard work and starting a business from scratch is even harder. But in this case, the saying ‘love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’ holds true. When you own a business, you’re no longer putting in long hours for someone else. You’re working for you. That’s a huge difference. You now chart your own course. You make the decisions that affect your future every single day. Most importantly, you get the feeling of satisfaction that comes from building something from the ground up and taking it to new heights of success.
2. Freedom and flexibility: Forget about cubicles, corporate drudgery, or having to follow some arbitrary schedule. You don’t have to ask permission to take a late lunch or pick your child up early from school. When you run your own business, every day is truly your own. That’s not to say your days will be easy and carefree. However, you can choose to spend your time in whatever way works best for you and your business.
3. Personal growth: In a traditional job, people tend to get pigeon-holed into a specific role or function. It’s easy to slip into a rut when you’re using the same set of skills day in and day out. Boredom will never set in when you own your own business. Out of sheer necessity, entrepreneurs need to wear many hats in the day-to-day operations. Each day will bring a brand new set of challenges and opportunities to acquire new skills. Variety is truly the spice in the entrepreneur’s life.
4. Job security: All too often, people think that starting a business is deemed too risky. However, in today’s economy, running your own business can actually be less dicey than the traditional career path. Instead of worrying about getting a pink slip or losing your job at age 50 and finding yourself unhirable, running a business enables you to develop valuable skills and build equity in your own company over time.
If you have dreams of starting a business, make 2012 or 2013 your year. I can attest first hand that it will be one of the most exhilarating, inspiring, and rewarding journeys you can take. And you’ll have plenty of support from your fellow female entrepreneurs. Here’s to you!
*Editor’s Note: Original content written by Nellie Akalp for Galtime