October is National Women’s Small Business month. During this month and every month, here at Flippa we highlight and celebrate the women entrepreneurs who continue to own their future.
A rise in female entrepreneurship
Twelve point three million. That’s the total number of women-owned businesses in the United States.
Women-owned businesses encompassed a huge chunk of an increase in online presence. Not only is online entrepreneurship strong in English speaking Western countries such as Australia, USA, Canada and UK, but it is increasingly a pathway to successful commerce in traditional developing economies.
For Alexa Von Tobel, being an entrepreneur was something she knew she wanted to do long before she had the vocabulary to describe it.
“I was always obsessed with building businesses. It wasn’t until twenty-one that the lightbulb went off and I was able to define that constant building energy in me — I am an entrepreneur.”
According to a study from Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, 61% of teen girls have thought about starting a business, compared to 54% of boys.
From a young age, Alexa knew she was one of those girls.
“If you go back and watch a young Alexa, I was always building and making things. When I was in high school, I started a tutoring company, when I was in college I helped build a magazine,” she says. “I really love problem-solving — being an entrepreneur is a really big puzzle.’’
Today, Alexa is the founder and managing partner of Aspired Capital, a financial guidance company.
A rise in women financial independence
Whether it’s moving up in the workforce ladder, investments, or increasing wealth, modern women are taking control of their financial goals like never before.
A 2018 Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse found that women hold 40% of the global wealth and have steadily increased their percentage of wealth in the 20th century.
For Stacy Caprio, financial independence was the reason for quitting her 9-5 job and dabbling in investing in a few online businesses on Flippa’s marketplace. Although it took some initial trial and error, she eventually landed a few successful websites and makes a consistent stream of income managing online businesses.
“Many people spend their whole lives working toward financial independence so they can retire, but they don’t really think about how they can structure their current lives, so they can have the independence of time and independence of finances,” says Stacy. “Not necessarily not working, but choosing how to focus your work — for me, it’s made me so much happier.”
The rise in financial independence may be the reason we see an increase in women entrepreneurship today.
Entrepreneurship stemming from workplace adversity
Whether it’s the economic gap or workplace gender discrimination, undoubtedly, women are more likely to face workplace challenges compared to their male counterparts.
For example, studies show that women with children are finding it difficult to be financially secure due to taking time off for child care.
According to a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, half of U.S. families report difficulty finding child care and women make job decisions based on child care considerations rather than in the interest of their financial goals and careers.
Stephanie Breedlove understands this challenge all too well. When she entered the workforce, women were just beginning to attempt to climb the corporate ladder.
At the time, she gave birth to two sons, just 17 months apart, and was faced with a stark reality: her company did not offer a maternity leave policy.
“We hired a full time nanny to be a third parent and an idea began to grow that we could start a business in the home care industry helping with payroll taxes, benefits, and legal consultations for people who hired nannies and elder care,” says Stephanie.
Together with her husband, they co-founded Breedlove & Associates, a business idea that stemmed from her experience as a working mother.
“I’ve been in the entrepreneurial space for almost 30 years,” Stephanie says. “I got to figure out who I wanted to be when I grow up.”
For Sherry Deutschland, the idea for starting her own business blossomed after working for a medical goods and services company. When the company got acquired, things quickly went downhill. At the time, Sherry was solely responsible for the revenue and got to witness first hand the decline in sales.
“I couldn’t figure out why we sucked so bad,” she says. “I didn’t just do my job — I did every job. I cleaned the bathrooms, did the weeding, I picked up the trash out of the yard, I had to do data mapping for our IT department.”
Sherry soon realized that the company’s low customer service satisfaction was due to an unmotivated team.
“I came to the realization that my coworkers didn’t care. The reason they didn’t care is because nobody cared about them,” she says.
When Sherry brought the idea of boosting workplace morale to increase productivity, she was met with scorn and criticism from her boss.
So she took matters into her own hands and started a business that competed with her old company: LetterLogic, a leading patient billing company in the medical industry.
Sherry paid 100% of her employees medical, dental, and life insurance and let her team bring kids and pets to work. She would grow the company to $40 million in revenue without a trace of debt before selling the company in 2016.
Advice on being a CEO by women entrepreneurs
What do all of these women mentioned above have in common? They’ve successfully exited their business.
When it comes to navigating the challenges of building a business from the ground up or achieving a successful exit, Coco Meers and Minnie Ingersol have great insight to share.
Coco Meers, CEO and co-founder of Equilibria, Coco Meers
“The [most important advice] that I think is important for all you founders is to bear in mind that you have to think about what the acquirer is looking for. For most companies, it’s top-line velocity. Are you gross-profitable at the first transaction? If you are not, then what is your pay-back period? What is your repeat rate like? What is your retention like? The advice I would give myself is to build a really amazing product and hope someone would use it.”
Minnie Ingersol, Founder of Shift
“You do need to be willing to keep going even when things are not fun, or not going the way you want it to go. If you want to accomplish something really meaningful, you have to be willing to put one foot in front of the other even when it’s not the most enjoyable times.”
Celebrating Women in Business
As part of Flippa celebrating women in business, this month The Exit Podcast will feature all women! So tune in, listen, learn and be inspired by some of the best women entrepreneurs who have successfully built, owned and exited businesses.
October on The Exit:
- Alexa von Tobel (Episode 55. Out October 4)
- Coco Meers (Episode 56. Out October 11)
- Sherry Deutschmann (Episode 57. Out October 18)
- Laura Coe (Episode 58. Out October 25)
You can tune in now to The Exit to hear great stories of businesswomen building, growing and exiting thriving businesses.
- Gaby Isturiz
- Minnie Ingersoll
- Angela Hartnett
- Stacy Caprio
- Stephanie Breedlove
- Pokin Yeung
- Pam Theodosakis
- Anu Shukla
- Lara Morgan
- Melissa Kwan
- Kate Nowlan
- Theresa Fette
- Rianna Lynn
- Lisa Wang
- Katie May
- Kellianne Fedio
- Sandra Shpilberg
- Michele Romanow
- Keren Moynihan
- Melissa Kaufman
- Codie Sanchez
Stay up-to-date with all entrepreneurial stories at The Exit.
Want to hear from more incredible Women entrepreneurs? Join us at Own Your Future 2021 virtual conference to hear from digital business leaders, buyers, sellers and creators.