Entrepreneurship is defined as the activity of setting up a business or businesses and taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
So essentially, instead of (or as well as) being an employee of a company, getting paid a salary, and working on their clock – you can just be your own boss and make your money and work on your own time! Hello, dream life…
But channelling those inner CEO vibes in today’s world is VERY different to how it used to be many years ago.
Before the rise of social media and the internet, if you wanted to set up your own business, you would have to go into the bank, put forward your well-thought-out business plan, and ask directly for a loan to get started…. And if you were a woman back in those times, it was even harder!
1974 is when the Equal Credit Opportunity was introduced in the US, and before that, women in the US were not allowed to open up a bank account without the permission of their husbands or a male relative. Combine the lack of control of your own finances and the complete non-existence of the internet, and being an entrepreneur, setting up an official and profitable business was near impossible.
Can you imagine how many businesses (small and large) would not be around today if that is still how it was?!
The rise of the side hustle
Social media is one of the leading contributors to the rise of side hustles – roughly a quarter of Brits now have a side hustle.
A side hustle is something you do on the side to make some extra cash to supplement your full-time income. This could be anything from creating art at home and selling it on Etsy to running a blog and making money from ads. Sometimes these side hustles turn into full-time hustles.
Platforms like Instagram and YouTube have enabled people of all ages and backgrounds (that have access to the internet!) to start with £0 and build a profitable business from a simple idea. INSANE
And it is now reported that the percentage of women-founded start-ups that raised equity investment has increased from 11% in 2011 to 21% in 2018. It is a great start – but we ladies still have a long way to go!
From Social Media to Entrepreneur
Grace Beverley started a fitness Instagram, grew her following to over 1m and then set up a business selling exercise bands – all whilst she was at university. Now she has a fitness app called Shreddy and a sustainable fitness clothes brand called TALA. She is an absolute powerhouse, has been listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 and is admired by many. Whilst she acknowledges the privileges she has come from, she always opens up and talks about the struggles of being a young female in the business world.
Patricia Bright started out on YouTube uploading fashion-haul videos and went viral many times. She slowly transitioned over into Instagram and created a brand called The Break. She talks on podcasts and on her own platforms openly about all the businesses she had tried to set up – some failed, some succeeded and as a young, black female, she is absolutely crushing idea of entrepreneurs being a space for old, white men only!
Is Entrepreneurship for you?
For some people, being their own boss is the absolute DREAM. But that does not mean it is the same for everyone – and if the thought of setting up your own business makes you wanna run for the hills, then that is absolutely fine!
One big issue with ‘side-hustle culture’, and being able to see everyone’s lives with the tap of a button on your phone, is that if you are happy in your 9-5, you start to question yourself. You feel like “oh SHOULD I be trying to set up my own business?”.
But on the flip side of that, if you are in a 9-5 and you hate it or you want out of the rat-race vibes, then you have access to a whole landscape of free resources, an audience of people who could be potential customers and insight to how other people are doing what you dream of.
Before considering setting up your own business, here are some things to consider:
1. You have to be willing to put in all your time and effort
Yes in the long run being your own boss allows you to essentially set your own hours BUT as I’m sure all entrepreneurs will say, in the very beginning (especially if you are doing it alongside a full-time job) you have to put in hours (day, night, weekends etc). This is why it is important to LOVE what you are creating.
2. It can be emotionally draining
Finding ways to detach your personal value from your brand/product/business if anything goes wrong is key to your mental health – easier said than done.
3. If you are doing it alone, you have to wear all the company hats
When you first get going, you have to be the CEO, customer service, the designer, the social media manager, the HR and the admin person etc.
Whilst setting up your own business can be incredibly demanding, it also can be incredibly rewarding.
The freedom of creating what you want. The fulfilment of making money from work you are passionate about. The excitement of taking an idea and turning into something greater!
Entrepreneurship means something different for everyone. It could mean a side hustle to fund your love for travel. It could mean setting up a local small business with a friend selling a product you love that you created in your kitchen one random evening. It could mean quitting your full-time, getting investment and going global.
Whatever it is, do what is right for you – the world is your oyster.