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Women say they're happier after starting a business

12 September 2023

Many women decide to start a business to get more control over their work-life balance and now they say they're happier as their own boss, according to new research from Small Business Britain.

An impressive 86% of women say they are happier since starting a business, according to a new survey of female entrepreneurs conducted by Small Business Britain. The findings show that the vast majority of women that have decided to work for themselves can see tangible benefits in all aspects of their lives.

Since starting their own business:

  • 74% of women say they have more flexibility;
  • 68% say they have developed new skills;
  • 63% say they are more fulfilled at work;
  • 61% say they have more freedom to be creative and innovative;
  • 48% say their work-life balance has improved.

These results suggest that becoming their own boss has delivered on the hopes and dreams that encouraged the women to start a business in the first place. Over a third (39%) of female entrepreneurs surveyed said improving their work-life balance was the biggest catalyst for starting a business, while 30% wanted to choose where they work from and 25% reassessed their careers after having children.

"I started my business to generate an income whilst also looking after my children, as I faced major challenges with the cost of childcare, and it didn't make financial sense to go back to my previous role. 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." Mireya Quiton Tuijtelaars, founder of Mia Strada London.

Data from the Rose Review earlier this year revealed that over 150,000 new companies were started by women in 2022 - more than twice as many as in 2018.

The survey results also highlight some of the biggest challenges facing business owners. Over three-quarters (77%) of those polled said running a business has got tougher in the cost-of-living crisis and 56% said the rising costs of goods, services, and energy has been the biggest challenge over the past year.

Sandra Corcoran"Nothing beats being your own boss! I'm happier being in control and seeing the results of my hard work, grit and determination and making decisions - although sometimes outside factors are out of my control. I'm passionate about being a woman in business and what I do. I'm not bogged down with office politics and meetings for meetings sake and over the last 23 years I've got lots of interesting tales to tell from the bike shop." Sandra Corcoran, owner of Pennine Cycles (pictured).

Rise in female entrepreneurs

Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain, said: "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."

The research comes as Small Business Britain opens applications for its annual #iAlso100 campaign, which showcases a line-up of the UK's 100 leading female business owners. Now in its sixth year, the campaign aims to highlight the impact of the growing numbers of inspirational women running their own businesses and it offers events, training and networking opportunities to boost skills and confidence.

"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. Whilst I got that in my previous employment, now it feels more personal. Having my own business has helped me develop and gain new skills both professionally and personally." Emma Robson, founder of Stort Valley Spirits & Gifting.

Applications for female entrepreneurs to join the f:Entrepreneur #iAlso 100 close on 30 September 2023. "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," said Michelle Ovens.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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