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  • henleyrose2

So you want to be your own boss?

With much of my coaching, I work alongside women who are building their businesses. I have had the good fortune to support women entrepreneurs in quite diverse industries including technology, talent development, health and wellbeing, photography, and the arts.


Leveraging their knowledge, experience, specialist skills, or talent, women often launch out into the relative unknown with a belief and conviction about what they can do and how they can serve others. These women are inspirational to me because they are highly talented and determined that they have something to offer to their potential clients yet often have less support. For example, women tend to be less connected to relevant business networks than men. Additionally, the difficulty of being able to gain initial funding is also cited as a barrier for women being successful in business.


Figures for the success of start-ups vary and can make dismal reading.  Estimates suggest that about 20% fail in the first year and an even higher number of about 60% fail in the first three years.  But women continue to look to work for themselves in ever greater numbers. The latest figures in the UK show that in 2022 over 150,000 new companies were established by women – more than double the number in 2018.

Why are women choosing to be their own boss? 

Two main reasons stand out. 

Slow career progression

First, women working for themselves can often be a reaction to the slow progression in their careers when in employment or an awareness that the organisational culture is holding them back.  Being passed over or not being recognised for the talents and skills they have can encourage women to become more independently minded. Working in an organisational culture that does not fit with our values or ways of being can be enormously constraining and encourage what has been called in the US “off-ramping” by women.  

This creates a drain in female talent from the workforce often at an important point as they move into senior leadership roles.


The need for flexibility

A second reason women may choose to start their own business or work freelance is the flexibility it can give them over their lives.  Being able to choose when and where to work can be helpful in terms of family responsibilities and the lives that many women want to lead. The lack of flexibility of hours within paid employment and the high cost of childcare can lead women to branch out and create their own working environment that is conducive to their lives and commitments.

Being your own boss


So what are some of the important points to think about as a woman starting up or running a business? Here are some ideas I share with you:


  • Creativity: Think about how you will stand out from the crowd, often in a busy, crowded market. Your product or service, the way you deliver them, and how you communicate what you offer need to be creative, imaginative, and different. More of the same is unlikely to be successful.

  • Value: Know what your customer values and ensure you match both the benefits you offer and your price.

  • Financing: Initial financing of the business is crucial. Think carefully about the financial side of the business and get good advice on sources of funding such as from your bank or a financial adviser upfront. Cashflow can be a killer problem.

  • Planning: It is often said, that a business without a plan is just a dream. Working on a business plan will force you to think about important elements of your business including your short, and long-term, goals; the resources needed; your market and customers; pricing; and processes. A good business plan is also essential when presenting your business for funding.


Being your own boss can be exciting and rewarding but also challenging and hard work. 


I know I do it!   



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