Nov 20, 2018 | Article, Career

Why Women Are Leading The Charge In Online Entrepreneurship

There’s always been a huge gender disparity in online industries, particularly if you look at entrepreneurship and business owners. Men have hogged the limelight for far too long.

But it’s 2018 and that’s all changing (and about time, too!).

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales (as of 2017).

These figures are amazing. And women aren’t just bulking up the numbers in online entrepreneurship; we’re leading the charge.

Let us give you the lowdown on why women are now front lining the band that is online entrepreneurship.

Women are taking advantage of the digital transformation

The recent transformation of digital technology now makes it way easier to run a business.

Entrepreneurship is changing; the digital age that we live in allows us to be more agile and have more freedom. There are plenty of flexible online business routes to go down, like e-commerce or freelancing.

Women are taking advantage of this, and more and more women are becoming freelancers — waving the corporate world goodbye.

And we’re owning our skills: check out these freelance fields where women out-earn men. Freelance platform Lystable did a study which discovered that women in digital freelance roles such as writing, graphic design and videography are bringing home a lot more bacon (or meat-free alternatives) than men.

Signing up to a freelance platform where you can get hired for your freelancing skills is easy; check out sites like PeoplePerHour to get started.

Being an online entrepreneur makes it easier to balance family and business (and sometimes even merge them)

Being an online entrepreneur gives you flexibility — you can choose your hours, how much work you put in, whether you want to be part-time…

Running a business doesn’t have to get in the way of family time. You don’t have to choose anymore — as an online entrepreneur, you can do both. There are still challenges, but it’s a heck of a lot better than it used to be.

Then of course, there’s the rise of the mompreneur. Women can pride themselves on their mommy status while still being a great businesswoman. There are mommy blogs, mommy businesses, mama & baby e-commerce stores… If being a mother is a strong part of your identity, then you can share your passion with the world and make money while you’re doing it.

One great example of a mompreneur is Julie Aigner Clark, founder of Baby Einstein (infant development videos) and numerous other successful projects centered around moms & kids.

She combined two things she loved — being a mom and being an entrepreneur — with huge success. Baby Einstein became a multimillion-dollar franchise; its revenue grew from $1 million in 1998 to $25 million in 2001 and was eventually sold on to Disney for a heck of a lot of money.

Rising female-led niches — women are boldly going where no man has been before

Women are now getting a say in what is important to them. Things that wouldn’t have been done 50 years ago are now a normal part of our daily life.

One of the best examples of this is period underwear. Brands like Thinx and Knix are breaking down taboos and providing people with a new niche product. These business ideas have come from women and are led by markets powered by women.

Beauty subscription boxes aimed at women are another recently discovered gap in the market that pioneering female-led companies like Birchbox have filled. Female founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna set up Birchbox  — which sends monthly boxes in the post full of sample beauty products — and have since attracted 1 million subscribers, and 4 million customers.

Women are having a huge, positive impact on e-commerce

In the e-commerce sphere, women are definitely leading the charge: women drive 70-80% of consumer purchasing.

Take female-led networks like Pinterest. Pinterest is a massive online platform with a valuation of nearly $4 billion. And it’s main users? Women. In fact, 81% of Pinterest users are women. That’s a lot of women generating a lot of money.

We play such a huge part in online shopping that it makes sense for us to lead in e-commerce. It’s easy to become an online entrepreneur: setting up your own online store is easier than ever with platforms like Shopify. Or you can use Etsy — their user base is 86% female, and around 30% of sellers say their Etsy store is their sole source of income.

Alternatively, if the idea of starting your own business from scratch is a bit daunting, you can always take a look at Shopify businesses on sale. Then you can go about rebranding and making a pre-existing business your own, which is pretty exciting.

Basically, there are plenty of ways to become a female e-commerce entrepreneur — you just need to pick the best option for you.

We’re supporting each other

One of the great things about female entrepreneurs is that we’ve got each other’s backs.

Yes, women are leading the charge in online entrepreneurship, but they’re still vastly outnumbered by men if we’re going on quantity alone; only 5% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women.

So women have learned to support and encourage each other online. There are some amazing female online communities out there like Rise Up For You that help to connect women and share resources and useful tools. By building online communities, women inspire, motivate and empower each other. Now that’s girl power.

Taking a look at the online world in 2018 is inspiring. The rise of the female-led niches and the mompreneur proves that women aren’t just trying to slot into a man’s world — we’re forging our own.

Women are having a huge impact on the world of ecommerce, and in a male-dominated industry, we’re carving out names for ourselves with unique concepts, supportive online communities, and higher business success rates. Bring on 2019.

Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to giving through growth hacking. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup, entrepreneur, and charity insights from top experts around the globe. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

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