The dream of achieving a better work-life balance is propelling a growing number of women in the UK toward entrepreneurship, and they are not looking back.
New research conducted by Small Business Britain reveals that over a third (39%) of women start their own businesses with the primary goal of improving their work-life balance, and a staggering 86 percent report being happier since embarking on their entrepreneurial journey.
The desire for greater flexibility emerged as the dominant driver behind women starting businesses, with 39 percent of female entrepreneurs citing it as their motivation.
This was followed by the desire to choose their work location (30%), career reassessment after having children (25%), and the pursuit of a passion (36%).
Mireya Quiton Tuijtelaars, the founder of Mia Strada London, exemplifies this trend. She ventured into entrepreneurship after yearning for more flexibility and identifying an untapped market opportunity. “I started my business to generate an income while also looking after my children, as I faced major challenges with the cost of childcare,” she explained.
“I had a passion for natural gemstones and found there was an underserved market for socially and environmentally conscious products.”
Level of happiness grows, suggests data
Despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the majority of female founders (86%) reported higher levels of happiness since starting their businesses. Three-quarters (74%) enjoyed increased flexibility, while nearly half (48%) found that their work-life balance had improved significantly.
Furthermore, the research highlighted several additional benefits for women entrepreneurs. A notable 68 percent reported developing new skills, 63 percent found greater fulfillment in their work, and 61 percent enjoyed increased freedom for creativity and innovation.
However, it was not all smooth sailing for these businesswomen. The study showed that 77 percent of women found running a business more challenging due to the ongoing economic conditions. Rising costs were identified as the most significant obstacle by 56 percent, while 46 percent cited stress and exhaustion as key challenges.
Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain and the f-entrepreneur campaign, noted, “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.”
Emma Robson, who founded Stort Valley Spirits & Gifting in October 2020, remarked:
“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.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.