Becoming self-employed

Why more women than ever are starting their own businesses

Woman starting a business


    It’s 2016, but gender equality is still a way off. We still have daft things like pink pens marketed to women that cost more than their genderless equivalents, the gender pay gap (which will soon have to legally be laid bare by large companies) and perhaps worst of all, people (well, men), who think the whole thing is solved.

    Another area where there is still a huge gender divide is entrepreneurship. As of our latest data (January 2016) just a third of people starting a new business with us are female – although that number is growing. Back in 2012 the figure was slightly more than a fifth.

    This increase could be put down to many factors, including high-profile female business leaders like Deborah Meaden, Karren Brady and Julie Deane ensuring women in business are a larger part of the conversation.

    While discussion of female entrepreneurship continues to increase, there has been comparatively little investigation into how female entrepreneurs differ from their male counterparts in terms of how they deal with the day-to-day challenges of running a business.

    We conducted some research with OnePoll and the answer seems to be… well, better.

    Focusing on 750 micro-business owners (running businesses of up to 10 people) we asked a series of questions around how these entrepreneurs deal with the challenges of managing a business. Over half of female business owners (51%) reported running their own business had reduced their stress levels, while a fifth (21%) were more stressed. Almost a third (31%) of male business owners reported they were more stressed, while 11% fewer (40%) men found that business ownership reduced their stress levels.

    So female entrepreneurs feel less stress running their own business – but what about how they handle the stress when it inevitably arrives?

    Unfortunately for us chaps, our female counterparts seem to handle that better too. Across the board, men turn to unhealthy methods of dealing with stress while women favour more responsible options.

    Men are 9% more likely to drink, 4.5% more likely to smoke, and eight times more likely to turn to illegal drugs. Female business owners, on the other hand, are 6% more likely to hang out with friends to de-stress, 2% more likely to exercise, 17% more likely to read a book, and three times more likely to turn to meditation.

    Crunch’s Claire and Hannah spoke to some inspirational female business owners to find out why they decided to go it alone.