Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol. 4, No. 1 = No. 8 (2001 Winter)

A Career Advising Analysis of the Motivations and Personalities of Highly Successful Women Business Owners

  • Jack Davis
June 19, 2017


There has been a sizable movement of American women into business ownership in recent years. One researcher stated in 1993 women were initiating businesses at twice the rate of men (Buttner, 1993). According to the U. S. Labor Department October 1999 website, women were starting businesses in the US at a rate of 350,000 to 400,000 a year between 1987 and 1996. With such growth through the year 2010, there will be approximately four to five million female owned businesses added to the American economy. Combined with the estimated 1999 total of eight and one-half million, there could be between 12 to 13 million women entrepreneurs in the US by the end of this decade.

This statistical possibility speaks well for women achieving more financial independence. However, broad issues arise as a result of this extraordinary social and economic trend. One of these is what will be the long-term impact, if any, on American family life. Another is how many of these new entrepreneurs will not succeed in their bid for business success, and what will be the economic and psychological costs to them and their families. There are more specific and near term issues. One of these has to do with the kind and amount of education and training this massive group of women will receive. A second near term issue involves the quality and quantity of the counseling and advising made available in the coming decade to insure these millions of women will make the best decision to undertake or not undertake the risky step of starting their own businesses. A recent study of the motivations and personalities of highly successful women business owners by the author deals directly with this last issue.

The principal objective of this paper is to report the findings of more than 50 highly successful women.