Are you an employee or an entrepreneur? Is it a job or a career? Are these options mutually exclusive? Can you develop a business on the side or must it be a full-time commitment? These are just some of the questions many of us grapple with in the course of our lives. Timing may not be perfect, new skills need to be learned, financing acquired, and relationships developed and/or managed. Most importantly, do you have a vision and are you passionate about your business?
KICKSTART Your Transition is one of 8 million businesses nationally that are owned by women. Women-owned businesses employ more than 23 million people and contribute an economic impact of $3 trillion.
To put this in perspective, if U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have the fifth-largest GDP in the world, trailing closely behind Germany and ahead of countries including France, the United Kingdom and Italy. Women-owned firms are not a small, niche market but are a significant contributor and major player in the overall economy.
Women have caught the entrepreneurial spirit and are leveraging opportunities to create and run their own businesses. According to an American Express analysis of Census Bureau figures, between 1997 and 2014, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. rose by 68 percent, twice the growth rate for businesses owned by men and nearly one-and-a-half times the rate for all companies.
Women-owned businesses make up more than half (52 percent) of all businesses in health care and social assistance sectors, and they are making a real impact in other industry sectors, including educational services (45 percent) and administrative support and waste management services (44 percent). Many of these businesses are small to mid-size but have grown to more than $1 million in revenue. Meanwhile, the number of women-owned firms with $10 million or more in annual sales has increased 57 percent over the past decade.
Does this data inspire or discourage you? There are many ways to begin to collect your own information to determine if you are on the right track and if business ownership is a good fit for you. What we do know is that more women than ever have been inspired to take a risk and that is not an insignificant trend.