Friday, January 8, 2010

Sole Proprietor

Image courtesy of lichtflut

Boss Lady.

I've filled those shoes most of my life, usually to benefit a large corporation's bottom line. But times, they are a-changin', and the current state of the economy is thrusting many women into becoming entrepreneurs, as they dig their heels into reinventing the wheel just to make ends meet.

I am one of those who always thought outside the shoebox, but even my field of journalism is being affected by the economy. Digital editions are dimming the fluorescent lights of the ink-stained history of long-standing publications, thereby reducing the need for coveted mastheads.

But women are naturally resilient. My matriarchal lineage worked magic with the leftover scraps after making the slave masters' meals, and in the 21st century women are turning lemons into lemontinis (served in glasses from the Dollar Store).

*The number of women-owned firms grew at twice the rate of all U.S. firms (23% versus 9%). There are an estimated 10 million women-owned, privately-held U.S. businesses.

In terms of demographics, 13% percent of women-owned businesses are in California, which had the most women-owned businesses at 870,496. New York was second with 505,077 or 8% of all businesses. Texas was third in number of businesses with 468,705, accounting for 7% of all businesses (US Census Facts for Features, January 5, 2009). Of these employers, more than 7.1 million number of people were employed by women-owned businesses. There were 7,231 women-owned businesses with 100 or more employees, generating $274 billion in gross receipts.

So what industries are prominent with Boss Ladies?

~ Health care and social assistance (and other services, such as personal services, and repair and maintenance): 1 in 3

~ Social assistance businesses: 72%

~ Nursing and residential care facilities: 50%

~ Wholesale and retail trade: 38%

I feel we may never go back to what our mothers and grandmothers deemed as the normal workforce. But even in the darkets of days, women are showing that opportunities can be birthed from passion or necessity.

*Note: the US Census Bureau performs a SBO (Survey of Business Owners) every five years, and in 2007 approximately 2.4 million businesses were asked to participate in the survey. Results will be available later this year; the statistics above are based on 2002's survey.