Flexibility: The myth of female entrepreneurship

It’s understandable that some women leave the corporate world behind to pursue an entrepreneurial career. The possibility of doing what you truly love, investing your skills and time into your own business instead of someone else’s, and having the freedom to pick your child up from netball practice twice a week is indeed tempting. But the truth is, that the beginning stages of becoming an entrepreneur offer very little of the attraction that drew you to it in the first place: time.

In our recent research report, carried out with Living Facts, Fostering Female Entrepreneurship, 59% of women interviewed said flexibility was their main reason for starting their own business. While the initial slog will eventually come to an end, time poverty is a common reason why many women return to the corporate world. It seems hard to believe, but our research found that as much as 19% of women believe that the corporate world gave them more flexibility than running their own business.

On the bright side, the business owners who stuck with it during those first few difficult, crucial years said they were happy they did. The flexibility they’d dreamed of might not have been there initially, but a few years down the line, they had it, and so much more: financial independence and the opportunity to empower other women.

So what set these entrepreneurs apart from the rest? They had their priorities in order and knew how to carve out the time they needed for crucial tasks. Focusing on purely the core aspects of your business can only be done if all other tasks are being handled too. This is why delegation and outsourcing are a non-negotiable.

Another way to free up your limited time and allocate it where it counts most, is by automating the business processes that drain your time. Why stress over your billing and accounts receivable when your accounting can be streamlined securely online with solutions like Sage?

In the same way you’re helping yourself by optimising your business processes, don’t forget to get help in your personal life too. Whether it’s a carpool for the kids, or getting your partner to make dinner for the week, don’t forget that your support system cares about you and your success, and they’re there to help you.

While you won’t have the flexible hours you dreamed of for a while, it’s important to remember the other reasons you took the leap into entrepreneurship in the first place. When your hard work starts coming to fruition and you have a minute to revel in what you’ve built, it will be worth every hour spent getting there.