The number of female-fronted businesses has exploded. In the past five years, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21 percent and so did the revenue they generated — more than double the increase of other businesses, according to a study from American Express.
A few key reasons contributed to this boost, including some life transitions that nudge many women to seek a new direction, even those who never intended to run their own companies.
“I worked in the city; actually I commuted on the train back and forth when I first had my son,” recalled Katie Merling, a marketing professional and mother of two young children. “It was hard. It was stressful because you’re putting your baby in the care of someone else, and then you’re working. And then you’re emotional and hormonal ‘cause you just had a baby!”
Katie didn’t want to quit working after having her son, but she also wanted more time with her family, especially after her daughter came along.
“I would get up, see them for 20 minutes, come home, see them for 40 minutes ‘cause they’d go to bed because they were so little. That is when I realized this isn’t working. If I didn’t work in the city, it probably would have been easier. But I’m looking at an hour and a half to work, an hour and a half back. And I’m missing all that time,” Katie lamented.
Though Katie knew she needed a change before her little ones weren’t so little any more, she wasn’t willing to leave her job until she had something else lined up that would give her more time with her kids. So she started looking for ways to work from home, and got a side gig as a virtual assistant.
“I worked three jobs at one point to get there because I knew what I wanted the final outcome to be. Every journey’s hard; there’s no simple path to anything. I started working from home and for a company, and from there the work-from-home grew. I was able then to leave, and then from that company I was blessed with an opportunity that I kind of took advantage of,” recalled Katie.
That opportunity was MyDFYService.com — a social media marketing firm Katie now owns with her sister, Nadine. Becoming a business owner allowed Katie to ditch her commute for good, work from home, and join the ranks of other women business owners who generate nearly $2 trillion in revenue.
“Things are definitely better now than when I was commuting from the city,” Katie said. “I wake up. I see them. They still go to daycare; they’re still in school because honestly, mentally for me I’m a better parent when I get a break to be honest. So they still go to school; they go to daycare. But I take them. I pick them up. I pick them up early; we do family stuff. So it’s nice.”
Katie’s desire to spend those precious three hours in the morning and evening hanging out with her kids instead of sitting on a train enticed her into entrepreneurship and is one of five key reasons Forbes says women now make up a whopping 40 percent of new business owners, bringing the total number of companies owned by women to nearly 13 million.
That list also includes pursuing their passion and having more control over their wages, job stability and career advancement as the other four reasons women decide to become their own boss.
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