I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I recognise  the inherent value of Indigenous Australian perspectives to the University of Canberra and the continuing contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics to research and education across this nation and around the world.

That’s not my experience


Exploring the relationship between lived experiences and financial outcomes of women makers in micro-business

The 4 phases of this study


Online Survey

(Current Phase)




Research analysis


Audio Documentary

Aim of the Study

In this study I aim to discover how we might replicate financial success at all levels of women’s business ownership starting from the micro-business level, through the exploration of personal narratives and the lived-experiences of women in creative business.

Research Questions

The central question that this project asks is:

What can the lived experiences of women artists, craft practitioners and designers tell us about starting and growing a financially successful maker micro-business in Australia?


Questions that are consequently asked are:

i) Do women who own creative businesses making over $64,000 profit per year, have other commonalities across other areas of their lives that may be related to these financial outcomes? What are they and what significance do they play?

ii) To what extent are concepts such as grit (Duckworth et al., 2007), mindset (C. Dweck, 2016) and resilience (Garmezy & Masten, 1986) related to financial outcomes for women makers involved in micro-enterprise?

iii) To what extent is education around business, marketing and branding (including mentoring) related to financial outcomes for women makers involved in micro-enterprise?

iv) To what extent do gender roles (Money et al., 1957), socioeconomic status, and family/friend support networks relate to financial outcomes for women makers involved in micro-enterprise?

v) To what extent is the social role and experience of motherhood related to financial outcomes for women makers involved in micro-enterprise?

Research approach and methods

The Academic Version

This practice-led research will explore the lived experiences of women involved in creative micro-business through a feminist standpoint framework (A. Brooks, 2007). The embedded mixed-method study will utilise narrative (Bold, 2013) and thematic analysis (Aronson, 1995), with an embedded cross-tabulation quantitative analysis to inform the creation of a documentary-style audio podcast.
Human behaviour is individual and complex: in order to explore the social factors that may impact on a woman’s success in business, we need to look at that woman’s own experience of her circumstances. “Women’s concrete experiences consist of what women do.” (A. Brooks, 2007, p. 4). Feminist standpoint scholars argue that we must build knowledge from women’s actual concrete experiences to have an authentic understanding of what life is like for women, “if we hope to repair the historical trend of women’s misrepresentation and exclusion from the dominant knowledge canons” (A. Brooks, 2007, p. 4). This study intends to explore the many and various roles women have in their lives and society and how these inform their business practices. “Feminist research seeks to support social change and unearth subjugated knowledge by placing the lives of women and other marginalized groups at the center of research inquiry.” (S. Hesse-Biber & Flowers, 2019, p. 2). Examining the range of activities that women engage with in daily life we can examine how they cultivate particular knowledge and utilise unique skill sets (A. Brooks, 2007) within their business activities.

What I’m doing

The Human Version

I believe your stories matter and in order to better understand why and how women succeed financially in their business endeavours, I want to find out what you experience on a daily basis, how you think of yourself in terms of being a business owner, and how this impacts what you do in business. I will then explore the potential relationship between these factors and your financial outcomes, to see if there are any similarities in the experiences or personal narratives between women who are bringing in comparable revenue amounts. Through this exploration, I hope to identify what unique skill sets, particular knowledge or individual circumstances financially successful creative women in micro-business possess, in order to discover how we might replicate this across all levels of women’s business ownership in our industry of Makers.

What we know

As part of the preliminary research for this study, I have looked at the exisiting literature on a range of topics, including the areas outlined in the following list. 

Women in Business

Push / Pull Factors

Access to finance, risk aversion and start-up costs

Gender differences in Financial Outcomes

The effect of COVID-19 on women in business - existing survey results

What is Financial Success?

Family Factors and Equality

A solid foundation isn’t always enough

A more holistic approach to business education

Does Australia value Makers?

Implicit beliefs and achievement

What is needed

Mikaela Danvers

The Researcher

Mikaela Danvers

Mikaela is a design teacher and creative business mentor with comprehensive experience in graphic & web design, creative entrepreneurship and delivering engaging and effective training sessions across these areas. Skilled in brand identity, brand strategy and product development, Mikaela is interested in researching the creative micro-business sector and the lived experiences of creative women. She has also played soccer for 27 years, competes in ACT Masters Athletics and has two young children.

Mikaela has been involved in the Canberra Creative Industries micro-business sector for over 10 years. She has connections with a large network of creatives across Australia through publishing a podcast “The Business of Making”, and specifically in Canberra through running business workshops for Artists, Craft Practitioners and Designers for several years, guest-speaking for the YWCA SheLeads program, as well as participating in craft markets since 2010. She continues to facilitate ongoing collaborative projects between university students and creative industry partners through her role as Discipline Lead of Visual Communication Design at the University of Canberra. In 2021 Mikaela lead a Venture Studio start-up unit for entrepreneurial students in the creative industries at the University of Canberra. She is undertaking her PhD exploring the lived experiences of creative women in micro-business, looking specifically at financial outcomes and what services or support is needed for women to succeed in this sector to increase their participation in the labour force.


Principal Investigator: Mikaela Danvers | Faculty Advisor: Prof Jordan Williams
For more information please contact: Mikaela.Danvers@canberra.edu.au


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