Business Issue 9

Going it Alone

The idea of working for yourself might be daunting. Exciting but daunting! However, Cosmopolitan reported a 2019 ONS study found ‘in the last 10 years the number of women in self-employment has risen by 57%.’ 

The rise is a positive sign, especially as a lot of women have found that being self-employed has come with several issues that can be an obstacle for some looking to go it alone. One of those is losing the benefits that most employees have when working for a business or organisation.

Running your own business can mean that you forgo paid maternity leave, holidays and more. Something that those among us who are looking to have children, or are used to the freedom of jet setting with a healthy allocation of paid holiday days… might be something that is difficult to part with. 

But despite losing these benefits, here are some of the reasons women are leaping into the world of self-employment…

Smashing the glass ceiling

Tired of struggling to climb the ladder or striking a flexible work/life balance, some women are taking steps to be their own boss providing them with the ability to set their own hours, have more control over where they work and how, as well as no longer having to deal with gender-related challenges.

Although for some it may feel like you’re starting out as a small fish in a big pond, many have reaped the reward of going it alone and found themselves become more confident and more successful than when they were chasing a career inside a large corporation or business.

Self-employment rights are improving

Although many are concerned about the lack of protection for the self-employed, as seen with the latest COVID-19 pandemic, things are starting to change.

A lot of self-employed communities and groups have sprung up to discuss issues faced by those that work for themselves in the bid to help improve the protection in place and to assist those that are running their own businesses.

Starting a family

Women often cite one of the main reasons for not progressing in their careers as the pressure of starting a family. We’ve been led to believe that we can have it all, but those juggling a career and motherhood are often highlighting the fact that actually, it’s still not quite there.

Some women feel as though they have to decide between one or the other. Having a family or choosing to further their career. 

Working for yourself eliminates this issue, giving you the freedom to start a family as and when you choose and striking a balance between your working and private life.

And Lastly, there is the matter of MONEY.

Yep, we’re going to mention the pay gap… something that so many people have tried to refute. What better way to remove yourself from the gender pay war than to work for yourself, take charge of your own income, and increase your profitability.

A lot of freelancers, business owners and self-employed women say they feel much more empowered. They don’t feel stuck in a rut or routine, and they’re able to be creative and innovative in ways their old 9-5 just didn’t provide.

We’re not saying that being self-employed is for everyone, in fact, there are many people within the SOCIALight team that work 9-5 jobs and freelance on the side – whatever works for you!

But in this feature, we talk to some women who have ‘gone it alone.’ We asked them about their career journeys, any advice they have for women looking to work for themselves, and discussed the pros and cons of being a woman in business.

We hope you enjoy!

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