We’re in the age of the female entrepreneur.
Even the United Nations has recognized, and honored, a growing community of women entrepreneurs by supporting Women Entrepreneurship Day. Founded in 2014 by social entrepreneur Wendy Diamond, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), was founded to annually celebrate, support, and empower women entrepreneurs worldwide. The first day was held on November 19, 2014, and was observed in 144 countries that year.
From tech CEOs to product engineers, clothing designers to non-profit founders, WED celebrates women who have stepped out on their own to achieve the American dream – in their own way.
How can women working in corporate America (as an employee) get a bite of the pie, you ask? It’s simple: traditionally it’s called freelancing, I prefer to refer to it as consulting! You get the gist.
Not everyone has the gusto (or desire) to create a multi-million dollar company, and that’s okay! Get your foot in the door of entrepreneurship by positioning yourself to one day create your own business. Start by becoming an independent consultant.
Test Drive Your Inner #Girlboss
During the summer of 2014, I quit my job and set out as an independent marketing and event management consultant. Over the course of a year, I’ve juggled a total of 12 clients (not at the same time, of course!) Although it has its ups and downs, my work as a consultant has been a dream.
I find myself learning more, growing more, and going the extra mile – far more. Being your own boss doesn’t just mean you get to sleep in or work in your pajamas though. It means you have almost no one to answer to (outside of clients, etc.) and you don’t have a go-to person for help. You end up searching harder for answers, sweat a bit more when submitting a proposal, and live outside the box – far more.
In case you’re not already sold on it, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 reasons every woman should step out on her own and become her own #Girlboss.
Earn more money.
On average, freelancers earn 45% more than those who are traditionally employed. They’re also allowed to deduct certain business expenses that employees are not – allowing freelancers to keep more of what they earn. Anyone that has ever seen billing for their company, knows that they bill a client three to four times (sometimes more than) what the employee actually earns.
Forget climbing the corporate ladder.
Break your own glass ceiling in your free time. I’ve been independently consulting for nearly a year following my graduation from Howard University in 2014. There is no corporate ladder for me. I break my own glass ceilings.
People are amazed that at 22 I’ve “figured it all out” and achieved, what some would call, the American Dream. But, it doesn’t stop here. Independent consulting has allowed me to further pursue additional goals – attaining a Master’s degree from an Ivy League institute, laying groundwork for a non-profit organization, sitting on a Board of Directors, growing an herb garden and traveling for months at a time.
Freelance to expand your skill set.
Last fall I picked up a few textbooks. One was a book on branding and design and another was on contract writing. Within a few months of beginning consulting, these are two skills that I felt were imperative to my future success.
Not every consultant will initially have the funds to hire a lawyer to draft their consulting contracts for client work, so we turn to alternative resources. Imagine picking up a new skill that will help you in your day-to-day client interaction: graphic design, layout design, photography, contract writing, SEO, coding, website building. You could be unstoppable!
Go global – from your living room.
Imagine sitting in your apartment in North Carolina, working on projects for a client based in California and outsourcing key tasks to London based virtual assistants. You’re quite literally growing your network across the world without having to shell out the dough to be there often. What is more #Girlboss than that?
Hunting for a traditional job means limiting yourself to local opportunities, unless you’re ready to uproot your life and move to a new location. With freelancing moving is not always necessary, which means you can work with someone around the corner or around the globe.
The truth is: self-employment is a fantastic lifestyle choice, but isn’t all glory. Working on a contract basis for a variety of companies (or clients), as opposed to working as an employee for a single entity isn’t always an easy road to travel. However, it can provide great rewards.
Bear in mind that you need to have self-discipline to pull through; the kind of discipline imposed on you in the traditional workplace, but even more so. You can always be lenient with yourself, but by having proper time management, motivation, dedication, and knowing where to set your boundaries – there’s no stopping you.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Jenelle S. Coy is a Washington, DC based Integrated Marketing abd Event Management consultant. She has 4+ years of experience jointly (and independently) executing experiential marketing concepts, corporate sponsorship activation, and overseeing full scale event planning. She is also well-versed in conducting consumer research, meeting sales goals, creating brand image strategies and recruiting, training and managing a communications team, among many other things!
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