Time Poverty is the Success Barrier facing Most Female Founders

Are you TIME POOR?

Let’s take a short quiz and see ... Promise it’s only three questions. 

  1. Do you participate in any unpaid labor activities? Including but not limited to cleaning, cooking, child rearing, household or vehicle maintenance.

  1. Do you often find yourself going to sleep late and waking up early to get things done? 

  1. Have you put off any self development activities in the last 6 months? Including but not limited to skill development, personal care appointments, wellbeing activities.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, 


“Time poverty is the concept that individuals do not have enough discretionary time – the time available after engaging in necessary activities like sleep and in the committed activities of paid and unpaid work – to engage in activities that build their social and human capital.”

Kalenkoski C.M., Hamrick K.S. (2014) Time Poverty Thresholds in the USA. In: Michalos A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_3704

The concept of time poverty has been our literal obsession since we started our case study program.  This program focused on how women can overcome the success barrier that time poverty overwhelmingly presents them. 

When deciding to put together the case study program it was simply just to give an analytical story as to why women needed more funding. By that time our founder, Shampaigne Graves, had stopped coaching women formally, and started taking on 1:1 collaboration sessions to dive deeper into the inner systematic workings of female founded online businesses. 

With an impressive 100+ sessions under her belt, 

She heard the same story from women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds, 

“ I need more money.” 

Which seemed like the simple solution. 

So Boldifi,

(an organization committed to helping new female founded digital businesses blossom their business through access to affordable online education,) 

set out to prove in the only way that mattered that women owned businesses needed more funding, the numbers. 

But the numbers told a different story. 

For context, in order to conduct a great study that produces an unbiased result you first and foremost need a diverse sample population

What we didn’t realize was that when coaching, coaching was only taking place with women with an idea. 

When Boldifi started a formal case study program that required a diverse sample population, these women had more than just ideas. They had businesses that were monetizing on some level. 

Which meant that some portion of their household income was supported by their business. This opened up the conversation to more than just money. In fact some women had more money than they knew what to do with

what they truly lacked was time. 

The time to learn more about how to run their business… 

The time to train staff… 

The time to actually work in their business…


Yes these women could afford to pay other people to do these things but there is a very specific education gap that happens when female founders aren’t exposed first hand to these skills before delegating out to their teams. 

They lacked the business knowledge to effectively run their businesses when short staffed.

In addition to being less confident when speaking about their business and experiencing higher rates of imposter syndrome.

So what is the solution for female entrepreneurs faced with the very real success barrier of time poverty? 

The answer isn't simple, but it can be.

Online business owners don’t have the time or means to attend traditional incubator programs

These women may not have 9 months of extra time to drop everything and participate in a business incubator program in Silicon Valley, but they do have on average an extra 15 to 120 minutes of free time in their days. This time can be used efficiently when provided with the right education materials, in a format that fits within their restricted schedules. 

Women building businesses outside of their home can’t afford traditional business incubator programs

When speaking earlier about research opening our eyes to the answer being beyond funding? Well we also discovered that funding correlated directly with the measurement of discretionary time. 

Yes the answer wasn’t just money but money presented the first barrier in accessing vital business education and startup development resources. 

While also studying the market directly through our formal case study program, our team was also studying the products already available on the market. We specifically looked at products aimed at online entrepreneurs for less than $100, bonus point if aimed at female-centered brands. We found a wide array of products from both big box brands as well as small personal service based brands. 

Here’s why the current product market isn’t meeting the need.

  • It Takes Too Much Time: We have arrived back at the subject of time, well the $100 product market provides plenty of options but the time investment doesn’t seem to be worth it. We enrolled in the most popular mini courses, purchased popular guides, bundles, and templates that promised online CEOs larger profits, more streamlined operations, and yes, even more time. What we found instead was long form material that provided little to no strategy much less the large promises marketed. 
  • They are micro-offers: In short, many of these products were simply paid entry into the sales funnels for larger offers. Which left us learning only one aspect of the promised skill and the rest being left behind a larger paywall. 


Traditional business incubator programs were created to support early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship, and financing. All of the features of acceleration programs are attractive to home based female founders on the surface, they want to be able to see the return of their investment in a program beyond a promised result (with conditions). 

When conducting our research, there was no real comparable solution that fit into the lifestyles of these specific founders. These women were working on limited time tables of 15 to 120 minutes of discretionary time per day and the average startup accelerator required months of investment up front, often at locales far from their homes.  

With the location based format and high initial investment costs, these programs literally weren’t made for  the budgets or schedules of women launching e-commerce brands from their homes. 

Yet women make up at least 50% of home based business owners, a market that produces more than $400 Billion in the United States every year. 

So why was the business education market leaving so much money on the table? 

Misogyny. Maybe...

No seriously we didn’t know or really care but we did know that we wanted to be the ones to meet those needs. 

Which is why we created the Bold Digital Incubator, an online incubator membership program that mimics the elements of a traditional business incubator without the price point and time commitment. 

We’re not the first ones to come up with the concept in fact there are already some pretty awesome online membership and associations catered to digital female founders but they miss the mark in a few ways too. 

No SHADE, Just TEA…. Here’s the best incubator programs for female-founded e-commerce brands and HOW they stack up against the Female Founder Formula

So here’s the thing, we don’t bash any brand that has a mission geared towards the empowerment of women. What I will say is that this is a large goal. Empowering women to raise their social class in a society of which actively oppresses them in multiple ways and based on the additional intersectionality of their perceived and self proclaimed identities. 

Girl Boss Network: No Real Business Growth Opportunities Presented to Users

The Girl Boss brand has been a pillar for the larger community of women’s empowerment focused organizations. Since its launch in 2019, the GBN has followed a slow rollout of the promised website and mobile app based platform. The general mission of the network is to “the largest digital network of women to take control of their careers, money and lives and will continue to do that through our award-winning content and experiences,” according to Sophia Amoruso the founder of the Girl Boss brand. 

Why you should join Girl Boss Network 

  • Inclusive Pricing Tiers: The network is FREE (at least basic features) 
  • LinkedIn for Millennials: The GBN was made to rival the titan platform LinkedIN which has been notoriously intimidating for novice and seasoned business owners alike. The network offers many of the same features of LinkedIN for millennial entrepreneurs. 

Here’s the Catch: You have to make your own way. If you’re attracted to accelerators for facilitated funding, networking, or mentorship, this won’t really be your jam. 

Women in Business Club: No Funding Avenues presented to Users outside of Education

Besides snagging a great name, WIB offers an education vault with over 75 hours of training, tools and resources to members such as social media templates, client welcome kits, and specific masterclass training. All while promoting a mission of empowering women from all backgrounds and walks of life to grow, thrive and succeed in business. 

Why you should join Women in Business Club 

  • Training and Tools: As mentioned before, WIB has an array of business tools that specifically help women building home based businesses. 
  • Events and Networking: WIB offers members access to events that allow them to connect to their broader global community. 

Here’s the Catch: There’s no real return on investment outside of the education materials offered to members. A defining pillar of an accelerator program is the offering of funding through pitch competitions, grants, and angel investment introductions of which aren’t offered through WIB. 

International Association of Women: Not Accessible for Female Founders with no startup capital

IAW’s mission is to provide Networking, Resources and Support for Professional Women. IAW is a little different from the other organizations listed above because of its focus on the larger demographic of professional women rather than just female entrepreneurs. 

Why you should join International Association of Women

  • Prominent Members and Partners: IAW has a great organization reputation with notable members including Star Jones, and partnerships with marque brands such as UPS and LinkedIn 
  • Abundant Benefits: Members of IAW get TONS of benefits including new business tool kits, discounts from B2B partners such as Vistaprint, and access to verified professional development practitioners. 

Here’s the Catch: IAW may be inexpensive in comparison to the benefits offered to members but the prices are a bit steep in comparison to what home-based CEO’s are used to paying for their professional development services. 

Here’s Why The Bold Digital is Different 

  • Simple and Sensitive to Your Time: Our education material was created with one mission in mind, No Fluff, Just Strategy, and made to be completed on short timetables.
  • Facilitated Funding and Growth Opportunity: Our members get access to our annual pitch competition which includes $500 cash for their startup, Access to mentorship from industry experts who have made the million dollar mistakes so they don’t have to. 
  • World Class Digital Tools: Our members get access to The Digital Goal Setting Planner as a part of their membership. This planner is the only tool you'll need to set and reach goals in your business. 

The concept of time poverty isn’t anything new for anyone in the modern world. It is however a phenomenon that unjustly affects the time of women more so than other other group demographic. Adding the intersection of women in business who are creating those businesses in untraditional matters, increases the likelihood of lack of discretionary time. If we are committed to truly bridging the success gap of women entrepreneurs, like all marginalized groups we should start from the bottom up. 

Startup education and incubator programs need to address time poverty by providing accessible delivery formats, affordable entry rates, and the elimination of long form education content. By taking a holistic approach to understanding what makes a woman successful in digital entrepreneurship, we create an inclusive environment for all entrepreneurs. 

Special Offer: Want to try the Bold Digital Incubator?:  Sign Up to get access to the first core education model for FREE!