According to to an article in the FT last week, the recession is accelerating the growth of a new generation of "lipstick entrepreneurs", who will reshape society and change the way people work. The report from the Future Laboratory predicts that number of female enterprises could double over the next 10 years, taking the number of self employed women running businesses to more than 2m.
They site women like Natalie Massenet of Net-a-Porter, Chrissie Rucker of The White Company and Laura Tenison of JoJo Mamon Bébé as role models, and forecast that the number of female Chief Executives at FTSE companies will increase from just five in 2008 to more than 50 in the next decade.
The report thinks the women may have opted out of a successful career to strike out on their own, stepped up to protect their family's finances, run a business in addition to a full-time job, worked from home to juggle career and family, or turned a hobby into a business. They range from self-employed school leavers to some who are beyond retirement age.
We totally agree with this thinking and have had many discussions about how, especially when you get to a certain age, running your own business must surely be the most satisfying way to earn a living. Whether it's a very simple idea that stays small and easy to manage, or a big idea that will grow and grow, the important thing is, it's yours. The chance to utilise your skills, try something new and do it on your own terms seems like a very tempting idea.
But why is it that more women don't do it? We have great ideas, an amazing ability to multi task, are not afraid of hard work and are generally good at managing people. But we can always find a reason 'not to.' Is it an essentially female characteristic that stops us? Lack of confidence, a feeling that we are somehow not good enough, or if we are mothers, do we think we would have to sacrifice family time for long hours in the office? It's probably all of the above and more, but somehow as you get older those things seem to matter less and less. We feel more ready to take risks and embrace new challenges. We are less concerned with what others think and more confident in our abilities. And if our children are growing up and leaving home, we are more than ready to get back to work and prove ourselves, while our partners are desperate to retire and take up golf!!
We have the experience and the wisdom (hopefully), the enthusiasm and the ideas, so perhaps its time to shake off that uncertainty, be confident and think like a man.
BTW, just like we don't like pink laptops, we don't like the term "lipstick entrepreneurs." Why cant we just entrepreneurs?