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Is it Responsible for a Homeless Single Parent to Launch a Business? Entrepreneurs normally encourage people to stop at nothing to pursue their dreams. In this case, one entrepreneur isn't so sure.

By Andrew Medal Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is going to be a very simple and quick post, as I'm interested in everyone's opinion about this topic and would prefer not to push my own opinions through the story.

Occasionally, I write about personal obstacles that I have overcome on Entrepreneur. Plus, I have a Facebook group that has 9k+ entrepreneurs, in which I mentor and help entrepreneurs directly. Additionally, I write for Entrepreneur.com, which affords me lots of exposure all over the world. Needless to say, I get hundreds of emails from entrepreneurs weekly, asking for guidance, mentorship and pitching me their startups for a piece on Entrepreneur.

Last Friday I received this message (I've removed some details for privacy sake, and to protect this person's identity), which led me to write this post:

Andrew! I love your story, your zeal and your voice in entrepreneur.com. Two things:

1.) I want to interview you.

2.) I am seeking major help! I have risked EVERYTHING following my gut instinct and it has led me to rebrand...

I'm being flat honest. I'm having one heck of a story right now I am a single mom and homeless. FYI I am seeking employment. But I am also looking to go ahead and launch my project. I am totally out of funds. Somehow I feel that I have all the resources I need to both get my life back AND LAUNCH this vision.

I seriously need input... Realistic input on making a plan. Execution right now is not my strong point. I feel as if I am struggling between old mindset and the new mindset that I am stepping into.

I know I have this, but I need help. I honestly don't know what help I need. In the meantime, if you are interested in being interviewed... I assure you it will rock! I've been working with some awesome people to help me.

You are awesome.


I responded to see how I can support, and am still waiting back on her response.

Related: 6 Steps to Starting a Business From Zero

On one hand, we are taught to pursue our dreams, to fight for what we believe in, and do everything in our power to build our dreams and conquer the startup odds. Her story is reminiscent of Chris Gardner's in the Pursuit of Happyness, assuming she gets through her struggles. I know how easily life can chew you up and spit you out, and always root for the underdog in every situation. Building startups is easily the hardest thing I've done in my life. It takes relentless work, unwavering optimism, unique vision and skill to be successful. How can I not cheer for someone who is giving it their all, to accomplish their dreams?

On the other hand, there has to be some level of accountability and responsibility to those who depend on you for basic human needs; food, shelter, clothing, etc. Responsible entrepreneurs understand this, and figure out a way to mitigate risk, to take care of the necessary, while also finding a way to pursue their dreams. Please do not take this the wrong way, I would never judge another human being. However, I think that responsible entrepreneurship is important and cannot be downplayed.

Related: Orphaned and Homeless, How This Self-Taught Techie Founded a Multi-Million Dollar Empire

I built my company with $200.00 to my name, through endless sweat, blood, mistakes and hustle. I do not have children, though, and have had a supportive girlfriend (now fiancee) throughout the entire process. Early on, when building my company, there were moments when I had part-time jobs to make sure we had money coming in. I worked through the night and during the weekend, as I knew I had to make responsible decisions and be somewhat realistic in my pursuit.

So… I'm totally split about this story. I'm not sure how to answer the question, "Should A Homeless Single Mother Be Building A Business?"

What are your thoughts?

Related: 10 Single Mom Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Business Advice

Andrew Medal

Entrepreneur & Angel Investor

Andrew Medal is the founder of The Paper Chase, which is a bi-weekly newsletter. He is an entrepreneur and angel investor.

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