Managing Your Business
Mom's Guide to Launching a Business
You may think that you have traded running an office for running a household, but the next phase of your career could be as close as your living room. According to the SBA, 60.1% of firms are home-based.
Motherhood and Business
While motherhood should not be synonymous with the end of a strong career, mothers are far more likely than fathers to stay home and handle the family caregiving responsibilities. A recent study by the Pew Research Center reveals that 4 of 10 working mothers (42%) experience an interruption in their work life to care for children. Roughly 40% of women in the workforce either took significant time from work or cut back on hours following childbirth/adoption and 27% of mothers quit their job completely to look after the family and home. By contrast, only 24% of fathers took time off for parental leave.
Returning to the Workflow
What happens after children are grown? Can moms drop their baking pans and pick up their career where they left off? It’s possible. Of the 43% of women who leave their careers to raise children, 74% will go back to work eventually. And of that 74%, only 40% will return to a full-time career.
The workforce doesn’t always welcome working mothers back with open arms. If going back to a traditional corporate job is not something you are looking forward to, you are not alone — there are currently more than 12 million women-owned businesses in the US; 1 in 4 small businesses are owned by women. In 2018, 1,821 new businesses were formed by female owners daily.
Business Ideas for Moms
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 number of profitable and relatively easy business options exist for stay-at-home moms to “get their work on” without going through the usual corporate route.
Do you have a way with words and/or know how to navigate social media platforms like you were driving on the Autobahn? If the answer is yes, consider building a following as a blogger, freelance writer, and/or a social media manager. Grammar nazis can find a fair amount of work as a professional proofreader. Do you sew like a pro, or enjoy other crafts? Mobile and online selling platforms like Etsy and Poshmark allow vendors to peddle their creations to millions of potential buyers around the world. You can also sell some handmade items on Amazon’s marketplace. If you enjoy baking and/or cooking, you may find a new career as a caterer, personal chef, baker, and other food-related occupations.
Grant and Funding Options
There are several resources for starting a business as a female entrepreneur. If you’re struggling to get your business off the ground, grants and funding options are available, such as:
- Girlboss Foundation
- InnovateHER Challenge
- Amber Grant
- Eileen Fisher Grant
- Any loans or grants available at your nearest Women’s Business Center
Starting a Business
Forming a new business is definitely a process. You may not want to deal with paperwork, but it is just a small part of the new adventure. The more organized you are in the beginning will prepare your business as it grows.
Create a Business Plan
The business plan will serve as your roadmap while building your company and a vital tool to present to potential investors. A good business plan will lay out every facet of the business and include plenty of research of your particular industry and potential customer base.
The basic set-up of a business plan includes:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Service/Product Explanation
- Marketing Ideas
- Financial Projections
- Cost Analysis
Name Your Business
A creative, unique business name can set you apart from the rest of the competition. Take Google — it’s not even an actual word, but came from a letter representation of 10 raised to the power of 100. The original spelling was “googol,” but someone misspelled the name and “Google” became the company’s name (and eventually the term for searching for information online).
Do you have the perfect business name? Find out if your creative name is available in your state today.
You may also consider registering for a DBA (Doing Business As) while your company is still coming together. The DBA allows you to do business under any other name than your own.
Choose a Business Structure
If you plan to operate a for-profit company, you will eventually need to choose a legal business structure— the most common options are LLC or traditional corporation (c-corp). Both structures provide a measure of liability protection for your business and personal assets.
- C-Corp: The more structured business entity; more closely regulated through state and federal laws; required to have a board of directors and keep records of all corporate activities. Corporations often owe more taxes, particularly the 21% federal income tax, and are taxed twice.
- LLC: Far less structured than traditional corporations; Fewer laws and regulations to be compliant with; known as a “pass-through” business; generally pay less/no taxes, depending on the state.
(For many small business owners, the LLC is the more common choice because of its relaxed structure and fewer legal regulations. taxes are also generally less complicated and lower with an LLC. Learn more here.)
After you have selected a business structure, most states will require your business to register for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and appoint a registered agent to be a consistent point of contact between your company and the government and legal system.
Note: Generally, sole proprietorship LLCs are not required to have an EIN — this identification number is mainly needed for businesses with employees. All corporations, however, must obtain an EIN. If you are forming an LLC and plan to have employees in the near future, it would be a good idea to file the paperwork and check this requirement off the list.
Growing a Business as a Mom
Starting a new business may seem like an overwhelming task, but many popular companies like Amazon, Flickr, Apple, and Google started small (and from the house or garage). You have to begin somewhere, even if it is making notes about your ideas. Pick up a pen and get going.
“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”
- Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks