I am a woman. I am a mother. And, I have launched businesses. I would like to say I am no different from any other entrepreneur but I feel I am…somewhat. We all have our own challenges. As a mother, I also need to consider my children and my spouse. My decisions also affect them.
Female entrepreneurs often face additional challenges not faced by their male counterparts. Many businesses started by females do not scale. The business world does not see females on an equal level. At a recent roundtable of female entrepreneurs (most, if not all, without children), I heard a variety of reasons for lack of women operated start-ups including females not being taken seriously unless they approach business with a “bitch-like attitude” and a lack of female mentors.
But for the mother entrepreneur, we have additional issues.
While we can be ready, willing and able to move forward with our project, to take calculated risks, to explore new options, we also have to think about our families, particularly if our business will be the sole income for the family.
With family and kids, our primary need is often food and shelter for our children, We tend to play it more conservatively, taking the path of less risk, less opportunity. Why, because as primary caregivers, we need to make sure our dependents will be provided for and taken care of. This puts pressure on the female entrepreneur not faced by those without children. In addition, we are dealing with school issues, health issues, and other household matters. It is no wonder that the thought of scaling our businesses is often feared, Scaling may mean increased risk or simply too much time away from family.
The female entrepreneur with kids (before business launch) is more likely to put aside her dreams or goals in favour of stable finances and health care versus untold risk. We have a need to ‘protect’ our family.
Mothers may always be more reluctant to take risks but by offering support and guidance, we can encourage them to move forward with bigger projects and scale. When we empower women, particularly mothers, we empower our future generations by showing them anything is possible.