The past two years have been hard for many around the world, and one group in particular: women. According to a McKinsey Report
, the pandemic has driven as many as two million women in the US—particularly mothers with young children, to consider leaving the workforce, or stepping back from their careers.
But necessity also breeds ingenuity and change. For many women, the pandemic and work-from-home culture sparked appetites for entrepreneurship—and many joined the growing Entrepreneur Economy for the freedoms it can offer–to be your own boss, build your own schedule and ultimately the power to live and succeed on your own terms. However, being your own boss can also be a stressful and alienating experience, and research
has shown that self-employed women are at higher risk of mental illness due to gender obstacles and isolation.
While “balancing” work life and home life has always been a struggle for many in the American economic system, the pandemic has revealed and exacerbated many of the challenges women entrepreneurs face.
With our mission to make it easy to do business anywhere, we at Alibaba.com have had the pleasure of connecting with hundreds of women small business owners and entrepreneurs. I am inspired by these conversations not only because of female founders’ resilience and strength but also by how they lift up their communities.
Bianka Hollins, one of Alibaba.com’s inaugural $10K grant program
recipients in 2021, launched her Texas-based home fragrance company, Be Happy Handcrafted
, when she was suffering from postpartum depression. Despite going to the doctor regularly, Bianka struggled with getting out of the depression. To help cope with her emotions, Bianka started to create candles. She found peace in creating scented smells that served as mood stimulators and so she began to share them with her friends who eventually encouraged her to start her home fragrance line, now known as Be Happy Handcrafted. Today, Bianka hopes that her story and her passion project serves as a scented escape for other women and mothers weathering through a season of depression, especially those suffering from postpartum.
Women entrepreneurs, like Bianka, demonstrate that business and personal success is truly about balance. Whether it’s swapping out a Zoom call for a voice call while on a stroll, or letting your hair loose and taking 10-minute dance breaks in between meetings, or meditating to your favorite scents and sounds—we each have to find our own ways to refresh, reflect, and re-center. Whether you’ve started a wellness business like Bianka or are simply feeling overwhelmed as an entrepreneur, it’s important to remember to find that balance and not compromise our own mental well-being.