Mompreneurs

4 Struggles of the Mom Entrepreneur

Women, including those running businesses and creating jobs, do the most of the world's unpaid work.
4 Struggles of the Mom Entrepreneur
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images
Guest Writer
CEO of Teddy Shares
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Female entrepreneurs have received a lot of press over the last couple of years, and with good reason: There are more of us. In fact, female-owned businesses now account for 30 percent of privately held American companies. Women-owned businesses are expected to create at least five million new jobs nationwide by 2018.

Despite our achievements, however, inequity still is a very real issue. As an entrepreneur and proud mother of three, I’ve experienced my unfair share of struggles in the workplace. It’s important to recognize some of the most critical challenges so we can rise above them. 

1. Balancing paid and unpaid work

Not all female entrepreneurs are mothers, but those of us who are know the struggle as well as the rewards. Juggling motherhood and a career can be exhausting, especially in an age where we spend more time with our children than any other period in recent history.

Let’s do some math:

  • A (good) work day is 9-to-5, five days a week. But, entrepreneurs tend to work 52 hours per week.
  • Moms, on the other hand, spend more than two hours a day with their children -- every single day -- doing "just" mom stuff. 
  • That creates a baseline of more than 62 hours per work week, not counting weekends.

Also not included in that 62-hour baseline: family dinners, shopping, sports games and everything else that falls under the category of parenting and family support.

Related: Why One Founder Says It's Crucial to Question Assumptions and Constantly Improve

Would I trade any of it for more time? Of course not. Those are the best parts of life. And I never put work before family (though work is still pretty high in the pecking order). We know it’s impossible to split our time and energy equally between children and careers, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

There is a silver lining: When you’re a mom, you master important skills, such as being able to multitask or to think on your toes. Moms do that stuff all day, every day. So do the most successful entrepreneurs.

2. Making do with (a lack of) funding

It's widely known that on average, female full-time, year-round workers make just 80 cents on every dollar paid to men. An even greater disparity exists between the sexes when it comes to venture-capital funding. 

Many startup owners aspire to raise venture capital “Series A” funding, which represents an investment between $3 million and $15 million. If you’re looking to reach that level, you’d better hope you’re a man. Only 8 percent of all Series A funding received last year went to female-led businesses. 

Why is this the case? Reasons range from the nuances of female entrepreneurial culture to systematic sexism in the business community. Whatever the root causes, the numbers certainly point to a truth: Women have a harder time securing venture capital funding than men do.

Related: Acing Your Pitch to Investors

3. Excelling in a bootstrapping culture

Lack of funding is a double-edged sword. It can be flipped into a positive, and women have used that motivation to their advantage. In fact, companies are more likely to be profitable when women are running the show.

This comes out of necessity more than anything else, though. With less funding going to women-run companies, we female entrepreneurs must turn a profit -- or close their doors. Women are 37 percent more likely to pull money from their own bank accounts to start their businesses. That means more pressure to succeed. Failure or even delayed success can have drastic and long-lasting effects on our personal lives.

Related: How She Built a $50 Million Postcard Empire

4. Battling subtle stereotypes

There's no denying the progress we've made in the business world over the past few decades. Sexism isn't the blatantly rampant force it once was. It's transformed. Now, this discrimination rears its ugly head in more subversive ways that are felt especially by female entrepreneurs.

Successful women often are perceived as less likable. This is in sharp contrast to men, who are much more likable thanks to their success. Furthermore, women often are forced to prove themselves before they're taken seriously by a prospective client, peers or even their employees. Sadly, this is because many people suffer from the underlying assumption that women are incompetent on the whole (or by nature).

Related: 4 Easy Ways to Help Women Succeed in Business

Breaking the struggle

As women and successful entrepreneurs, we’ve already made a substantial amount of progress through innovation and determination. That being said, we still have far to go. Those struggles will cease only when the gender divide begins to close within the entrepreneur community.  

As for being a mom? I doubt that job description ever will not include struggle -- albeit, a wonderful one.

More From Women Entrepreneur

Failure

With Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso Is Using Past Failures to Fuel Her Latest Success

And she's launching a brand new social network to help other women thrive.
Mentor Moments

How This Subscription-Box Founder Got Her Mentor, the 'Hottest Ticket in Town,' to Invest in Her Company

Rockets of Awesome founder Rachel Blumenthal had found a valuable mentor in Kirsten Green, founder of Forerunner Ventures. And when Green invested in Blumenthal's business, their relationship only got stronger.
Podcasts

8 Podcasts by Boss Women You Should Subscribe to Right Now

Seeking some motivation during your early morning commute? Here are some ideas.
Public Relations

Pitching 101: Reaching Out to the Media and Getting Them to Bite

Increase your success with the press by following this advice on pitching your business story.

More from Entrepreneur

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

How I Balance Entrepreneurship and Motherhood