Posted by Inc. in General Business on Aug 25, 2015 8:03:12 AM

From cracking glass ceilings to breaking industry barriers, today’s women are defining business ownership on their terms.

There’s a national conversation in play about women in the workplace and the challenges they face with regard to pay equity and advancement opportunities. But that conversation is centered on women who work for someone else. Shift the focus to women who work for themselves and the whole dynamic changes—which is one reason why more women are exploring the opportunities they can create as small business owners.
“I don’t see that there are any ceilings once you become an entrepreneur,” says Susan Rittscher, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Center for Women and Enterprise. “Capital is a little bit more challenging at times, but we help women through that. The other thing is that many women who are on a corporate ladder have decided that they don’t want a corporate lifestyle. They opt for becoming an entrepreneur so they can have more flexibility and have a better work-life balance.”
Choice is one of the perks of entrepreneurship. Women who need to juggle business ownership with other priorities can turn to organizations like Rittscher’s to learn how to manage and control small business growth. Others find that with the right management structure, they can pursue more ambitious profit and growth goals. As entrepreneurs, they’re in the driver’s seat.
That can prove especially true where you might not expect it: in traditionally male-dominated industries in which women are underrepresented. Those who are strong in areas such as science and math or industries like technology or construction may discover that they have a competitive advantage. “Large corporations have to set aside a certain portion of their spend for contracting to women and minorities,” Rittscher says. “If a woman gets into those areas, is very good, and understands contracting, it can be very lucrative.”

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