Taking Time Off Work Leads To Entrepreneurship

According to a recent poll of Australia’s leading business women, taking some time off work to start a family, travel or find oneself is just what’s needed to propel a path to entrepreneurship or change careers altogether.

In late 2011, research by Bankwest using Australian Bureau of Statistics also showed that women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men.

”One of the real trends that came out of the report was stronger growth in the number of women running their own business compared to men, particularly the growth in women running a small business by themselves, often part-time at first while raising children,” said the report’s author, Tim Crawford, a senior analyst at BankWest.
In a poll of 115 state and territory finalists of the 2013 Telstra Business Women’s Awards, 89 per cent of respondents admit to facing challenges when returning to work after a career break.

Thirty-six per cent say a break spurred women on to try something different, 55 per cent believe taking time out could be positive as it enables women to reassess their life and career, and 87 per cent agreed that taking on parenting responsibilities could actually be a catalyst to becoming an entrepreneur.

Carolyn Creswell, 2012 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year and Managing Director of Carman’s Fine Foods, admitted she was “in labour and punching out the last email” before her first child. She said women who were business owners should plan and put things in place before taking a career break – “It’s amazing how dispensable you are. When you have great people at work, the business just keeps going.”

The poll on the impact of career breaks also shows that:

  • Four in ten women say they find it difficult to re-enter the workforce in the same capacity
  • One-third believe it negatively impacts wealth creation
  • Twenty per cent believe women find it difficult to be considered for a role equal to their experience.

It is also interesting to note that while 44% of respondents say they experienced pay inequity, nearly half find asking for money intimidating.

So we quit our jobs and give this entrepreneurship thing a go so we can pay ourselves whatever we like. Right?


In another research by the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce, they found that the majority of women business owners do not pay themselves a wage.

Karen James, General Manager, Women in Focus, Commonwealth Bank, said: “A career break can provide the opportunity for a person to discover their passions. It’s our experience that many women have used their career break as an opportunity to assess their purpose, which often becomes the catalyst for them to launch their own entrepreneurial venture. At that time we encourage women to seek out social communities, like Women in Focus, to stay connected and get the support they need to grow and thrive.”

Hopefully, by connecting with other seasoned entrepreneurs, we can learn to ask for what we’re worth so we can pay ourselves a good wage. Otherwise, what’s the point?

The latest poll was undertaken in the lead-up to the national finals of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards in Melbourne on 14 November. The Awards are in their 19th year of celebrating the achievements of outstanding Australian business women.

The eight women who are finalists for the title of 2013 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year are:

·         Jeannine Biviano, Deputy Director General, Department of Trade and Investment (NSW);

·         Sonja Cox, Director Operational Performance, Policy & Planning, Dept of Corrective Services (WA);

·         Laura McBain, CEO Bellamy’s Organic (Tasmania);

·         Dr Julia Newton-Howes, CEO CARE Australia (ACT);

·         Cheryl Shigrov, Founder of Precious Cargo Education Pty Ltd (SA);

·         Sadhana Smiles, CEO Harcourts Victoria (Victoria);

·         Helen Summers, Owner of Helen Summers Optometrist Eyecare Plus Darwin, (NT);

·         Rosemary Vilgan, CEO of QSuper, (Queensland).

We’re sure these ladies have no problems asking for money.

When was the last time you asked for a raise?

Robelen Bajar

leave a comment

Create Account

Log In Your Account