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Women Rush to Entrepreneurship in "The Great Resignation"

Women Rush to Entrepreneurship in "The Great Resignation"

The Great Resignation is launching a new crop of women entrepreneurs who are reveling in their new-found freedom.

It’s in all the headlines, “The Great Resignation” – why millions of people are quitting their jobs and declining to go back to “business as usual” pre-pandemic. While this affects both men and women, statistics show that women are leaving at a higher rate than men.

As of May, 1.8 million of the five million women who lost their jobs in 2020 have yet to return.

In a recent Mckinsey Report, one out of four women were considering leaving corporate due to burnout. Those women spanned all levels in the organization, but burnout and exhaustion increased with seniority.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Women carry an unequal share of the burden of caring for children and homes. The pandemic stretched them too thin and something had to give.
  • Working from home sheds new light on the fact that one can be equally, if not more, productive working from home than commuting to an office.
  • While on lockdown, we lived integrated lives – enjoying more balance and flexibility with how we spend our time. We balanced home schooling, caring for elderly parents, and housework – all while remaining productive at work.

[Related: Millennials Want a Healthy Work-Life Balance. Here's What Bosses Can Do.]

The question is, will women ever return to the office?

In a recent interview, one 50-something female banking executive put it this way:

After 30 years it was time to leave. I have no desire to go back to work full time in a company ever. [I was frustrated with] the inability to get things done and handling curveballs every day. I’d get this pit in my stomach every Sunday night. I want to plan my life around my time, not someone else's.

In my Launch Lab for Women Entrepreneurs, a four-month accelerator for women launching new businesses in professional services, we have seen a 25% increase in registrations in 2020/21.

Motivated by fixing the broken systems they left behind, many are turning toward coaching careers as executive, leadership, and career coaches for those rising up the ranks. Choosing to drive change from the outside rather than inside.

An equal number are using their hard-earned corporate skills to become fractional executives available for project work or on retainer as C-level advisors for smaller firms.

If you are one of the 24% who left corporate and are venturing out on your own, it will quickly become clear that your corporate skills likely didn’t prepare you for being CEO of a fledgling enterprise.

[Related: The Unemployment Numbers We Need to Be Talking About, And Actions Employers Should Take to Counteract Them]

Here’s where to focus your time and attention to replace that six-figure income in the shortest amount of time.

The fields of coaching and consulting are increasingly crowded. Don’t skip the market research phase of scanning the competitive landscape and researching unmet needs with buyers. You will need to solve a new problem or bring a new solution to market in order to stand out.

Venturing into this new territory will likely trigger your hidden insecurities. Staying safe will keep you from making bold moves. Don’t mess with trying to figure this out on your own. Invest in a business mentor or coach who can help you carve a direct path to your new success.

When it comes time to put a price on your services, you will suddenly forget all of the value you have brought to your past initiatives – regardless of your salary. I have coached C-level executives who initially struggled with charging more than $250 per hour for their services. Don’t undervalue yourself now.

There is an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to rewrite the rules for success in this Great Resignation. After all, the companies they left still have a need for their services. As a fractional executive, you have ultimate control of how you spend your time, who you choose to work with, and how much you charge for your services.

Will the Great Resignation become the Great Equalizer as women take control of their time, money, and impact? I’m optimistic that as women learn how to be great CEOs of their own growing businesses, we will close the wage gap on our own terms.

[Related: Thirty Companies in Thirty Days: Real-Time Insights on the Importance of Employee Health]

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Debra Boulanger is CEO of The Great Do-Over, founder of the Launch Lab for Women Entrepreneurs, and host of the Life After Corporate podcast. She is on a mission to close the revenue gap for women entrepreneurs. Join the “Fresh Outta Corporate” three-day virtual retreat September 30 - October 2, 2021 and develop your roadmap to six figures.


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