Female Entrepreneurs: Career Coach Shares Insights

As part of their latest study exploring entrepreneurship in America, IONOS found that more women than men are dissatisfied with their current jobs. In a time of gender pay gaps and societal expectations, it came as no surprise that the same study also found that more women want to make the move to self-employment.

With so many women unhappy with their jobs, we spoke to successful career coach Caroline Castrillon on her thoughts and experience in helping women improve their working lives. Caroline knows firsthand what it’s like to feel unfulfilled at work and what it takes to ditch the corporate world for self-employment. Here’s how it went:

The study found that women are especially dissatisfied with their jobs. What do you think of this result? Does it match your experience?

Yes, I believe this trend is amplified at the moment because women have had to bear the brunt of the pandemic over the last few years in terms of childcare, homeschooling and caring for loved ones. So those circumstances, combined with working full-time (and many women I work with are the primary breadwinners in the household) have caused women to experience burnout. They want more from their jobs and careers like flexibility, advancement options, and just the opportunity to learn and grow professionally. 

What advice would you give to a woman that tells you about their dissatisfaction at work?

The first step is understanding the underlying cause of the dissatisfaction. For example, if the dissatisfaction stems from a toxic work environment, there are healthy coping mechanisms I could suggest before they start planning their exit strategy. If they find themselves undervalued from a salary perspective, it may be the perfect time to ask for a raise. Ultimately though, my advice is always, “don’t settle!” If you feel dissatisfied, there is a reason, and you owe it to yourself to get to the bottom of it. 

Many of the participants in the study consider mothers to have the hardest time switching to self-employment. Do you meet many mothers who come to you for career coaching?

Most of my female clients are mothers, and many are also the primary breadwinner. So, they are managing competing priorities which can be extremely challenging. As a result, time management is one of the main factors interfering with their ability to start a business. 

What is your experience in coaching mothers? Do they often share similar fears and motivations?

The difference with mothers is that they also generally have the primary responsibility of taking care of the children and other household chores in addition to working full-time. So, the pressures when thinking of starting a business are even greater. But, on the other hand, many of the fears are the same as anyone else thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, like fear of failure or uncertainty. 

To read the full IONOS study and for more insights from Caroline Castrillon, download the free ebook.