It’s official: women are happier after starting businesses

Despite our current economy, women are finding happiness and success in entrepreneurship now more than ever.

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The pursuit of a more flexible lifestyle is propelling women towards entrepreneurship, and the majority of them are experiencing newfound contentment, according to recent research conducted by Small Business Britain.

Approximately 39% of women embark on an entrepreneurial path seeking an improved work-life balance. The study reveals that 86% of female entrepreneurs report increased happiness since starting their businesses, with 74% relishing the added flexibility. 

The main driver motivating women to establish businesses in the UK is their desire for greater flexibility. This research underscores that, following the launch of their businesses, women generally find themselves happier and more satisfied. And what’s more, women are good at it: with women-led businesses outperforming mens in the Fortune 1000 this year.

Despite the formidable challenges that come with running a business during the cost-of-living crisis, a remarkable 86% of female founders attest to feeling happier since launching their enterprises. A significant portion, 74%, now enjoy greater flexibility, while nearly half, 48%, have experienced a marked improvement in their work-life balance.

39% cited their aspiration for an improved work-life balance as the primary reason for starting a business – 30% sought the freedom to choose their work locations, and 25% felt compelled to reassess their careers after becoming parents. 

Additionally, a further 36% embarked on this journey to pursue their passions.

Mireya Quiton Tuijtelaars, the founder of Mia Strada London, exemplifies one such entrepreneur. She established her business to achieve a better work-life balance, especially given the exorbitant costs of childcare. 

Quiton-Tuijtelaars’s passion for natural gemstones led her to identify an underserved market for socially and environmentally conscious products. 

She began crafting handmade jewellery, eventually leading to the opening of her own store, Mia Strada London. She shares: 

“I am so much happier, having been able to create a business that allows for a better work-life balance. To be working in something I really believe in is such a delight. I can’t say it is or has ever been easy, but it is definitely rewarding.”

Female entrepreneurs also highlighted the personal development benefits that running their businesses has brought them. 68% mentioned acquiring new skills – 63% expressed that their businesses had brought them a sense of more meaningful work, and 61% found themselves enjoying more freedom for creativity and innovation.

Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain and the f:Entrepreneur campaign, comments:

“There has been a marked rise in female entrepreneurs across the UK, and collectively they make a phenomenal contribution to the UK economy. 

Despite the many economic challenges for business owners that need to be tackled, it is uplifting to hear that most women are happier for having taken the plunge into entrepreneurship and are seeing immeasurable benefits in their lives.”

This research coincides with Small Business Britain’s announcement of the annual #iAlso100 campaign, which celebrates the achievements of the UK’s top 100 female business owners. 

Now in its sixth year, the f:Entrepreneur campaign offers a range of events, training programs, and networking opportunities to enhance the skills, capabilities, and confidence of female entrepreneurs.

Michelle Ovens urged women running small businesses in the UK to participate, saying: 

“I’d encourage any woman running a small business in the UK today who has a fantastic story to tell, to get involved and put yourself forward for the next iAlso100. It is so vital that we give greater recognition to these trailblazing women and the powerful contribution they make to society and the economy.”

Data from the Rose Review earlier this year revealed that over 150,000 new companies were founded by women in 2022—more than double the number in 2018. Additionally, research commissioned by Small Business Britain in the previous year indicated that nearly one-fifth (17%) of UK women were considering starting their own businesses.

Emma Robson, who started Stort Valley Spirits & Gifting in October 2020 after facing redundancy, expressed her satisfaction with the entrepreneurial journey, saying: 

“It doesn’t surprise me that so many female entrepreneurs feel happier. Since I started up, I have more control of my schedule, a five-minute commute, and I feel a huge sense of pride and satisfaction when we get positive feedback or see an order come through. Having my own business has helped me develop and gain new skills both professionally and personally.”

Applications for female entrepreneurs to join the f:Entrepreneur #iAlso100 are currently open and will close on September 30, 2023, and are free to enter.

This campaign is one of many new and old that new entrepreneurs will be able to apply for this year, including others such as the Startups 100 – also accepting applications now.

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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