Did you know that every third business you encounter is owned by a woman? Yes, one in three Australian businesses is operated by a woman and they are twice as likely as a man to start their own business. Owning a business is seen by many women as a way of achieving their financial goals whilst simultaneously having the flexibility of how those goals are achieved – nearly half of the 668,000 female business owners in Australia have dependent children.
At the vanguard of this female entrepreneur trend are the young; women under 20 are equally likely as their male counterparts to start their own business whereas, by the thirties or forties, only one in three women will do so. This sounds great however, female entrepreneurs are only 13% of all the women working so, there is room for more women to embrace autonomy and authority.
The most likely area for women to enter business is the allied health and beauty industries. This equates to jobs like hairdresser, beauty therapist, counsellor, massage therapist, child care provider and the like. This tendency comes as no surprise – the idea that women prefer to enter professions that involve close personal contact and care is in line with the cultural expectations of women as well as their natural inclinations. If you combine the increasing likelihood of women to start their own business with their preference for ‘caregiving’ professions, you have a huge army contributing to a more civilised, socially responsible, and egalitarian world.
Although being a woman in business has it’s downsides (on average they earn half as much as the average employed women), female business operators consistently report higher levels of satisfaction than their employed sisters. (HILDA Survey 2001-2011). This suggests that women in business need to take the ‘business’ part of their aspirations more seriously which starts during the planning stage which should put emphasis on time management, personal initiative, computer literacy, and financial skills.
You’ll be pleased to know that Australia ranks second highest in the world after the USA (of course) in providing a supportive environment for women starting a business; we enjoy equal rights and leadership from other women that many other countries do not benefit from. In many places just being a woman is a major legal, financial and safety disadvantage. We also have more women than men entering and graduating from tertiary study so the future looks good for women to be educated for success.
As previously mentioned, the hair and beauty industry is the number one choice for most young women (we are a wonderfully vain crowd aren’t we) and a leader in that realm is Stephanie of “Stephanie’s Spa Retreat” in Brisbane. This entrepreneurial women has built a mini-empire of four salon spas in Brisbane City, the suburbs and a Sunshine Coast location. In 2016 Stephanie’s Spa Retreat won three awards at the International Luxury Awards in the spa category – pretty impressive for little ol’ Brisbane. Stephanie does her bit in making the world a better place by providing employment to her staff, contributing to the economy and delighting her customers. I admire Stephanie for not stopping at one location, for becoming a creator of a significant business rather than just working in her business as a therapist – that takes some vision, business skills and confidence.