For many women, motherhood isn’t synonymous with leaving their job. The past few years have shown a rise in men staying at home to be caregivers. A 2014 PEW study showed that the number of fathers who stay at home with their children has nearly doubled since 1989. But even so, when parents do opt to have one partner to stay home to raise children, it still typically falls on women. The gender employment gap in the United States is still very present, with an 11% difference between men and women participating in the workforce. Research from Yale attributed much of this gap to mothers withdrawing from employment after giving birth.
Navigating a Career After Becoming a Parent
Modern parents are facing a financial conundrum after having children: either both parents continue working, but foot anywhere from 10% to 25% or more of their annual income on childcare, or they instead have one parent stay home to avoid childcare fees. According to Care.com, 63% of parents (nearly two in three) reported that childcare costs influenced their career decisions.
The kicker is that when mothers do leave work to raise their children, the workforce doesn’t always welcome them back with open arms. More than anything, mothers are finding themselves as part of a growing statistic of qualified females who are not finding the transition back into the workforce so easy. According to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, of the 43% of women who leave their careers to raise children, only 74% will ever go back to work. And of that 74%, only 40% will return to a full-time career. To make things more complicated, mothers who continue working after having children run into challenges with their salary. Research has shown that there’s a wage gap between women with children and those who don’t.
The Rise of Female Entrepreneurs
The growth of small and home-based businesses in the U.S. has opened new doors for mothers (and fathers) who choose to leave their office jobs. A 2017 report from Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine Graziadio Business School revealed that small businesses saw increased profitability in Q4 of 2017, with expectations for revenue to continue increasing in 2018.
Compared to a decade ago, the number of female entrepreneurs has skyrocketed. More than a third of businesses today are woman-owned, which have been shown to grow at four times the rate of businesses owned by men. Being a woman entrepreneur isn’t a walk in the park (for instance, it’s more difficult for female entrepreneurs to get funding), but neither is parenting. Women are armed with multi-tasking and crisis management skills and have proven that they’re more than equipped to run multi-billion dollar businesses.
The First (and Crucial) Steps of Business Ownership
There are many crucial steps to take (and lots of paperwork to get through) when forming a new business. Make sure to do your due diligence by filing everything properly to ensure no surprise issues come back to haunt you later. Though each type of business will encompass unique legal actions, there a few steps every new business owner must take:
1. Craft a Business Plan
Your business plan will serve as your roadmap while building your company and a vital tool to present to potential investors
2. Name Your Business
Create a name for your business that’s unique and represents the vision of your brand. You will also need to obtain a DBA. While your name will be connected to your business as the owner, you still need an alias that the business of your business is associated with (and not you).
3. Get an EIN
Look into getting an EIN (federal tax ID), which is essentially the social security number for your business. This is how you and your business will be identified to the IRS.
4. Determine a Business Structure
5. Obtain Any Necessary Permits or Licenses
Find out if your business needs any additional permits or licenses, as most businesses need to obtain at least one license before being able to legally being normal daily operations.
Go For It
Leaving a salaried job after having children doesn’t mean not maintaining a career. For many women, it might just be the perfect opportunity to pursue their ambitions of business ownership. Starting a business comes with its challenges. But when either choice of staying at home or continue working can bear financial consequences, the risk might just be worth it.
As Michelle Zatlyn, co-founder of Cloudflare, said, “People don’t take opportunities because the timing is bad, the financial side unsecure. Too many people are overanalyzing. Sometimes you just have to go for it.”