Research carried out in 2014 showed that only 30% of company directors in the UK are women. This figure covers sole traders, SME’S and multinational organisations. We believe this number needs to be higher.
Numerous factors put women off becoming company directors, these include: lack of time to dedicate to running a company, family commitments and a lack of support network. It’s true that running your own company and turning it in to a success takes dedication, time and commitment but it if you are prepared to put in the hard work and make sacrifices along the way great success will follow.
We spoke to three women who are directors of their own companies to find out their stories:
Louise. 42. Director of a renewable energy firm.
Louise, along with her husband is a joint director of a renewable energy firm based in the South of England. The company started 10 years ago from their garage. They now employ around 20 people and provide renewable energy solutions to businesses and households all over the UK.
As a director she is able to decide her own working hours so they fit around her 2 children. This enables her to do the school drop-offs and work from home occasionally.
Louise explains that being a director of the company is a huge commitment and the responsibility can be stressful but having spent 16 years working for other people, being your own boss is incredible and very satisfying.
Jai. 40. Director of a IT Consultancy business.
Jai’s first job after graduation was at a global trading firm in the City. As one of only four women in the team it was a challenge and not one for the faint-hearted. Jai thrived off this challenge and worked her up to become IT Director overseeing a team of 50 people.
After 10 years of running the ‘rat race’ her priorities changed. A personal health issue made her change the way she saw her life. In 2010 she left the City and set up her own IT consultancy business. She runs the company from her office at home, where she works on projects for financial institutions based all over the world.
She describes her work life balance as 100% improved and her stress levels have decreased considerably due to not having to face the 2 hour commute every day. In her own words she says she is a “social bunny” and thrives off personal interactions, so working on her own can be a little lonely. To counteract this she schedules in meetings with clients in London for at least twice a month.
She goes on to say that working for yourself isn’t for everybody but if you feel you can do it, go for it!
Clare. 45. Director of events firm.
Clare’s working history is varied to say the least. She has done everything from selling fish and chips on a stall in Brighton to teaching drama. Clare says that she never knew what she wanted to do in life but the one thing she did know was she wanted to be her own boss.
In 2005 she was given the opportunity to set up her own events firm. Having no experience at all in the events industry deciding to take this on was a leap of faith.
She says she had to learn on the job and at first she made many mistakes and worked long hours. Nearly 11 years on she now employs a network of 10 staff who specialise in organising high end events for corporations throughout the South East.
Her piece of advice for anyone thinking of venturing out on their own is: “Think about it, plan it and go for it as the opportunity may not come along again.”
If you are thinking of forming your own company and are not sure where to start our experts will be delighted to talk through the different options available to you.