The last community of entrepreneurs we want to spotlight is parents. The popular image of an entrepreneur is often a young person on their own pouring every hour into starting their business, but the reality is usually quite different: 60% of entrepreneurs are already parents when they launch their first business, juggling work and family demands, according to a Kauffman Foundation survey.
In many ways, being a parent and being an entrepreneur are naturally compatible. Just as a parent nurtures and protects their child as it grows, an entrepreneur does the same for their business. Both roles require leadership, risk taking, planning, time management, and building a supportive network. Research has even shown that the brain responses entrepreneurs have toward their businesses mimic the responses that parents have toward their children.
Owning a business can bring many benefits to the children of entrepreneurs in particular. In a 2018 survey of US mothers with a business, 94% believed being an entrepreneur was having a positive impact on their children because they were teaching them things like responsibility, leadership, commitment, and self-confidence. 89% thought they were inspiring their children to become entrepreneurs themselves in the future. A 2017 survey found that over 75% of small business owners with children believed that their kids would have a better standard of living than they did, compared to only 67% of the general population.
At the same time, being a parent and an entrepreneur comes with a unique set of challenges. Parents have to create space for caretaking on top of the high time and energy demands of owning a business – particularly women, who still carry most of the burden at home. In the 2018 survey of mothers who own a business, 73% said they put in a second shift of work after getting their kids to sleep. A 2019 study found that the majority of mothers work the equivalent of an extra full-time job in the form of childcare in addition to running their business. This challenge is especially acute for lower-income families given the high cost of childcare in the US.
Many entrepreneurs in the RMMFI community are successfully balancing the demands of parenting and business ownership, creating impact for themselves and their families.