Women Business Owners Cutting Their Pay to Stay in Business


About a quarter of female small business owners have taken a pay cut over the past year to combat economic challenges, according to a recent survey. And 53 percent said that the past year has been their hardest year in business.

This research comes from Office Depot and Talker Research. About 1,000 female small business owners shared their experiences of business ownership over the past year. This is the third year of the annual survey, so business owners can compare how the experience shifts from year to year.

For example, it seems as though more female business owners have had to take a pay cut this year. But this year may not have actually been as challenging for women business owners as the past few years; in the 2023 survey, 63 percent of respondents said that the past year was the hardest for their business, compared to just 53 percent in this year’s survey.

In addition to cutting their own pay, women small business owners have taken additional steps to combat the financial challenges of the past year. For example, 37 percent said they raised the price of their product or service. And 27 percent said they are actively seeking less expensive resources.

This year has presented many challenges for all business owners – including women. Inflation, worker shortages, and shifting technology have all forced business owners to adapt and try new things to keep their businesses afloat.

Women business owners still face some additional challenges, like lower chances of receiving loans or capital. But overall, financial challenges are just a part of small business ownership. Though it won’t eliminate the financial challenges your business is likely to face, learning about the challenges prior to starting a business can help prospective entrepreneurs better understand what they’re getting into. And seeing responses like these can help current business owners feel less alone in their experiences.

Image: Envato

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.