Single women start more businesses

Erin Albert’s résumé must look a little crowded.

She graduated from Butler University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and went on to earn her doctorate of pharmacy at Shenandoah University in Virginia and a master’s degree in business administration at Concordia University. She is currently pursuing a law degree and has been an assistant professor of pharmacy since 2006.

She runs two businesses, a pharmacy consulting company called Pharm, LLC and an information portal for young professionals called Yuspie, LLC. These ventures partially inspired her new book, “Single. Women. Entrepreneurs.”

It is her sixth book.

Her other inspiration came from a reading a Kauffman Foundation report on a trip to China. One part of the article compared gender, marital status and entrepreneurship and showed that single, divorced and widowed women start more businesses than men in their respective categories.

Albert wanted to know why.

She utilized her contacts across the nation and interviewed 30 women who were single when they started their business. She asked why they started their businesses, what obstacles they faced and how they measured success. Those interviewed were also asked what advice they would give to other single women.

“They all said, basically, ‘go for it,’” Albert said. “But in the sense that you need to do your homework before you go for it.”

Becky Ruby, a 2005 Butler graduate and one of Albert’s featured entrepreneurs echoed this idea. She said  her job never feels like a job because she loves it so much. She said Albert’s book also gave her time to reflect on her choice.

“She was the first person to sit down with me and talk about these labels [of single, woman and entrepreneur] and what that meant to my success,” Ruby said.

One trend Albert uncovered through talking to women like Ruby is that many of the women have multiple careers going on simultaneously.

Albert has always worked while pursuing her degrees and said she had different motivations for all of them. As an entrepreneur and writer, having a law degree helps her understand contracts. As a pharmacist, it helps her to advocate for and understand the industry’s regulations.

“We have to have a cadre of pharmacists that can explain what we do back to the policy makers, who are mostly lawyers” she said. “You have to be able to play in both sandboxes.”

She said that having multiple skill sets and careers can also help people survive the difficult economy.

“My new safety idea is for people to have multiple careers going on simultaneously,” she said. “If you get one pink slip and you have one job, how many jobs do you have left?”

She said writing is one job she can do for hours and never notice the time passing. She uses this insight to help guide her students when they are trying to discover where their interests lie.

“[I tell them] when a day goes by and you’re doing something and you don’t even notice, that can lead you to your passion,” she said.

While she spends most of her time studying and teaching, Albert has three upcoming writing projects as well. She is assisting Butler pharmacy, JCFA and education students in writing a children’s book about pharmacy to educate and get children interested in pharmacy and medicine.

She is also working on the next edition of “Indianapolis: A Young Professional’s Guide” and a book about the roads in and out of different career choices.

Even while she is embarking on new endeavors, Albert said she wants to maintain connections with women entrepreneurs through the book and bring them together.

“I wanted to create a tribe of support around these amazing women and what they’re attempting to do,” she said. “Because these days, it’s not pretty being a business owner.”

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