A report prepared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that just over a third of all Australian business operators are women, and that there has been a 46% increase in the number of women business operators over the past two decades.
Could this increase be due in part to the explosion in online tools that now make setting up a business easier and cheaper than ever before? Or could it be that women are increasingly finding it difficult to operate in workplaces that don’t reflect their values? Or a bit of both?
If you are keen to combine the seemingly impossible task of achieving the triple P – purpose, passion and profit – witness how these three outstanding entrepreneurs have cleverly harnessed the power of technology and created wildly successful businesses in the process.
Take Melanie Perkins, the chief executive and co-founder of Canva, a free online graphic design platform. The idea for the company began in 2007 after feeling frustrated with how long it took to design a simple marketing brochure:
“I was in university, giving other students lessons in how to do use design software, and soon found myself writing long instruction manuals to do the simplest things. It seemed insane to me that it took 22 clicks to export a high-quality document,” Perkins said.
After coming up with an idea for an online tool to create school yearbooks, Perkins and Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht took out a loan and brought in a tech team to build Fusion Books, the largest school yearbook publisher in Australia. Perkins and Obrecht believed their technology had applications beyond the yearbook market, and they knew they had to pursue their vision so they set up Canva.
Perkins’ ability to use technology to turn her passion for design into a tool that helps others achieve their goals, has seen the value of her company soar to $US1 billion.
Another woman using tech tools to achieve the triple P is Lucy Mathieson, founder of baking blog Bake Play Smile. She’s cleverly turned her passion for baking into a profitable blog site that helps busy parents make yummy food. Success wasn’t instant but her passion for the topic and desire to help others see food as fun has made her a hot social influencer courted by big brands like Mission Food and Breville.
“It took about a year for the blog to take off and I didn’t really make any money from it until then but now it’s turning over more than a $100,000 a year, enough for me to give up my teaching job and spend time with my young family,” she said.
Kate Morris, founder of online beauty store, Adore Beauty has used the triple P formula to achieve great success. Her initial purpose was to help women get easy online access to big brand cosmetics and in the process, created a profitable business, but she’s increasingly using her public profile to draw awareness to the lack of female faces in the public arena, particularly at conferences and award ceremonies. At a graduate ceremony for her alma mater Monash University, Morris said in her speech that the results of her activism were unexpected.
“What’s actually happened since then is that the growth in my business suddenly went from 60% to over 100%. I became the first ever female winner of the Online Retailers Industry Recognition Award for my service to gender diversity and I’m getting messages every day on LinkedIn from extremely talented people who want to come and work for me.”
Clearly, the power of the triple P is paying off for people like Morris.
The factors of digital disruption are enabling women of all persuasions to take their passion, combine it with purpose and create profitable businesses. They’re making the seemingly impossible, possible.
This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.