The National Australia Bank have released survey results that have shown a number of interesting insights about Australia’s business startup and entrepreneurship culture. There were 2 of the National Australia’s Bank’s survey’s findings which stood out to me in particular.

Firstly, over 50% of men reported they have ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ levels of entrepreneurship compared to 41% of women. Secondly, almost 50% of women said that they would prefer to work for someone else over undertaking a business venture of their own.

This got me thinking about why this was the case.

Why are so many Australian women more reluctant than men to identify as entrepreneurs, opting to work for someone else?

How can we transform this reality to ensure women aren’t selling themselves short — and most importantly — are not seeing their genetic makeup as a barrier itself.

We’ve made some productive headway over the last few years but it’s still nowhere near where it should be

I wasn’t always a business owner – although I was always entrepreneurial in nature.

My background was in media and my last corporate role was heading up the key accounts sales division at Bauer Media.

I started The Healthy Mummy after falling pregnant for the first time. I was passionate about health, nutrition and fitness and I realised my corporate life was going to be incompatible with being a mum and I decided to follow my passion and dreams and launch my business which was 100% based around helping mums getting healthy after having kids.

So when I was 8 months pregnant I quit my 12 year career, sold my house and began The Healthy Mummy business

I believe it’s time we started to buck the current trend around women running their own business and that we start supporting more women taking the GIANT leap of faith in doing this.

But it is important to recognise being an entrepreneur is a full-encompassing and all-consuming job – and this applies whether you are male or female.

I’m talking 24/7, living and breathing your work. Dreaming about your work. It’s your other child that needs constant reassurance and attention.

Whether you’re male or female, starting and succeeding in a venture requires huge commitments, focus and dogged determination. If that’s not you to begin with, it won’t make the slightest difference whether you are male or female.

So here’s what I think we need to help drive more women entrepreneurs

  • More confidence and self-belief: A 2015 study from The University of North Carolina University grabbed my attention on the topic of whether females or males were more prone to the entrepreneurship life. The findings revealed that overconfidence was the biggest psychological predictor – and that essentially, women are less likely to be overconfident than men. I don’t know about overconfidence, but I certainly put business success down to inbuilt self-belief and confidence and knowing where to draw the line between that and arrogant confidence. Women need to believe in themselves more and take their shot with both hands. Of course, this sort of thing doesn’t just happen overnight, that sort of encouragement starts at every level of the education system. Let’s ramp up initiatives and team-building exercises in school curriculums nationwide in order to nip these sorts of disparities in the bud sooner rather than later.
  • To move away from being risk-averse: Women must focus on what could be and the vast opportunities that await them if they do. Don’t be deterred by failure, embrace the risk… the best entrepreneurs do. Trust that as you pursue your entrepreneurial journey – even with the knockbacks – the more confident and determined you become. The Healthy Mummy was in deficit for the first few years and I self funded every single thing the business did – this financial year and now 7 years in, we will turnover $18M+. This, compounded with the knowledge that our business is making a huge impact on the life of mothers from around the world by empowering them, certainly does a lot for one’s confidence. I’ll also add in here that initiatives like co-working spaces introducing onsite childcare does mammoth things for transforming this risk-averse mindset– this instills in females from birth that risk is okay and is something to welcome with open arms. Imagine the gradual but significant shift in mindset if this was standard procedure across all co-working communities and startup hubs across Australia…
  • To break stereotypes: To be frank, you don’t need to be a ball breaker to be a successful business woman. Often media portrayals of business women paint this picture of needing to be a “ball-buster” to make it, which sets the wrong expectations and standards. You don’t need to be harsh and mean to be successful. You don’t have to become that way because you think it’s what is required in the corporate, “man’s world.” I’d argue that this misleading image only instills in other women the view of “I don’t want to be like that.” The best business women have a great degree of empathy and we need to continue to present these positive role models in the public eye. Strong, driven and kind women – full of amazing ideas and leadership skills.

Follow me on instagram at @Rhianbusyallen