Let’s Work Together

Trends in Entrepreneurship: Single. Women. Entrepreneurs.

Mar 8th, 2011

Dr. Erin Albert recently released her sixth book, Single. Women. Entrepreneurs., and found some interesting trends related to business in America.  For more on the author, logon to her writing website at: www.erinalbert.com, or her company’s website, www.yuspie.com. She provides today’s guest blog post, discussing trends she found while writing her latest book.  The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at the publisher’s site.

Often when I release a new book, one of the first questions I invariably get asked is: “What trends did you discover while writing your book?”  Several trends actually led me to writing this book, and I discovered even more along the way, and I’ll share a few I found below:

First, the rise of the woman:  for the first time ever in U.S. history, the number of unmarried adult women outnumbered adult married women as of October, 2010.  This coupled with the facts that women are going to college more, graduating more from college than men, and earning more in many cases added fuel to my own passion for understanding the similarities and differences among entrepreneurs relative to their gender and marital status.  There are just more of us now, and we’ve got more options than we’ve ever had—including the desire to open and start original businesses.

Second, the woman solopreneur is open for business: As a Kauffman Foundation fan, I read this report on Entrepreneurship and Gender on the way to Beijing last summer while shopping for new book ideas, and table 2 completely fascinated me.  This report actually shows that women who are single, divorced or widowed start more businesses than men in their respective categories of marital status!  As I tore through the report to learn why, I really couldn’t find anything, so that was the energy I needed to write this book.

Third, message to corporate America: There are 30 women in this book.  As I interviewed them, I found an interesting trend relative to corporate America.  The women in the book, in many if not all cases, had been very successful in corporate America.  They were on the fast track to promotions and elevation, but they each reached a tipping point by which they just couldn’t fit into the corporate America mold anymore.  They each crave flexibility, the ability to work on their own time, AND most important, create not just a job for them, but design an entire life.  In corporate America, they couldn’t design their lives.  So, I think the message to corporate America in this case is: find ways to be flexible in order to keep your best and brightest women talent, or be ready to lose them.

Fourth, the rise of the “AND” agent: Niquelle Allen, owner of Butterfly Consignment in Indianapolis, is also an attorney, notary, and mediator.  Katasha Butler is a pharmacist, wedding planner, and educator of other wedding planners.  San Francisco based business owner, Dava Guthmiller runs Noise 13 Design, Pow.wow Network for women in business, and Slow Food San Francisco.  See the trend here?  These women have multiple careers moving forward simultaneously.  Whether the debate lies within having multiple career interests v. being a product of necessity in a tough economy, these women are supporting the rise of the slash, or multiple career or “AND” agent.  As a pharmacist/entrepreneur/writer/assistant professor/law student myself, I continue to see this among gen X and Y counterparts.  Be ready to have multiple careers in the future as the new career “safe.”

Fifth, the increasing social entrepreneurial nation: Kristin Kuhlke Cobb, owner of South Carolina based-Cupcake, has an employee across her 4 stores to do nothing but donate day old cupcakes to not for profit causes.  She also has baking parties for kids in need any time a child without need has a cupcake party at one of her stores.  She states in the book, “I’m so impressed with TOMS shoes and their business model—the idea of giving something away when something sells.”

Kathryn Alexander’s business, Ethical Impact L3C, is a consulting firm that helps other businesses become more sustainable.  When asked her definition of sustainability, she states, “The standard definition of sustainability is meeting our current needs without sacrificing the needs of future generations.  We need to preserve and regenerate what we have on this planet.”  She also converted her business to a low profit limited liability company, because she needed to match her company’s values to her own, “I felt that the L3C business entity type or model created more alignment between the values I espoused and the changes I was trying to make in business.”

The trends above are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to women in entrepreneurship.  Not only did I learn from these thirty amazing women about what they explicitly said in the book, but I also learned about what wasn’t said in the book.  Hope you have the chance to pick up a copy and hunt trends in the book that you find meaningful as we recover from this reset of our economy.