Mompreneurs: Generational Wealth and Real-Time Struggles

By Nancy Bilyeau · April 16, 2024 · 7 minute read

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Mompreneurs: Generational Wealth and Real-Time Struggles

Two-thirds of business owners who are mothers say creating generational wealth for their children is a major reason they launched their business, according to a survey of 1,000 mothers and business owners conducted for SoFi in March 2024. Nearly half (48%) also expect their kids to take over some day, intending to pass the business onto the next generation.

Even so, nearly half (42%) of entrepreneurs who are mothers feel they are treated differently by society than entrepreneurs who are fathers.

According to the latest Census data, women own 13.8 million businesses across the U.S., employing 10 million workers and generating $3.9 trillion in revenue. Those businesses make up 39.1% of all U.S. businesses, a 13.6% increase from 2019 to 2023, according to the Small Business Administration.

Many entrepreneurs who are mothers – or mompreneurs, a term that was coined in the 1990s – have a long-term plan to grow their business, with 86% of those who have another job saying they want to devote themselves full-time to their own company eventually. More than half are actively working to educate their children on being entrepreneurs themselves.

The challenges in finding a balance between work and home are genuine, however, with mompreneurs feeling shortchanged on both sleep and time to spend with family and friends. And two-thirds feel judged by others for pursuing their entrepreneurial goals while being a parent to begin with.

Source: Based on a survey conducted between March 18-24 2024, of 1,000 female business owners aged 18 and over who have at least one child and live in the U.S.

Young Children and Businesses?

Our survey showed 29% of the respondents said their oldest child was 6 to 10 years old when they started their business, followed by 15% saying their oldest child was a teenager between 13 and 18. Another 14% started their business when their oldest child was just 3 to 5 years old.

A majority (74%) of our respondents were married or living with a partner, and most of the respondents had one child or two. As for the children’s ages, 51% had kids between 5 and 13, and 34% had teenagers between 13 and 18.

Among our survey respondents, the largest age group (37%) was 35 to 44 and the second largest (27%) was 25 to 34. As for education, the largest group (33%) had a university degree, but those who had a high school degree (28%) came in a close second.

Living in the Present, Envisioning a Better Future

A majority of the mompreneurs in this survey said desires for financial independence and personal growth motivated them to launch their own business.

So has being a mother made it harder or easier to run a business? Survey respondents said being a parent enhanced their entrepreneurial skills in a myriad ways:

•   Improved problem-solving skills: 60%

•   Enhanced multitasking abilities: 51%

•   Increased empathy and understanding: 46%

•   Greater resilience in the face of challenges: 46%

Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said creating generational wealth for their children was a big reason for launching their business.

And nearly half (48%) said they are confident their children will take over their business eventually. Many mompreneurs are already phasing in their kids when it comes to learning about business.

When asked how they involve their children in entrepreneurial activities, the respondents answered this way (multiple selections were possible):

•   Educating them about entrepreneurship: 55%

•   Introducing them to the business environment: 43%

•   Assigning age-appropriate tasks related to the business: 41%

•   Including them in decision-making processes: 31%

Work-Life Balance: Can It Be Found?

Running a business and raising children are tasks that are hard enough, but nearly two-thirds (62%) of survey respondents said they have another job in addition to the business they own. Interestingly, 50% of those with household incomes under $100K don’t have a different job aside from their business, compared to 17% of those with household incomes of over $100K.

Incredibly, for those who had a full-time or part-time job apart from their own small business, 26% still spent between 20 and 30 hours per week on their own company.

Something has to give, timewise, and our survey broke it down. When asked what they have to sacrifice to balance entrepreneurship and parenthood, this is what our respondents said (multiple selections were possible):

•   Sleep: 48%

•   Spending time with friends and family: 48%

•   Hobbies: 38%

•   Exercise: 28%

•   Diet: 21%

•   None of the above – I don’t have to make any sacrifices: 16%

Asked what challenges female entrepreneurs who have children face, they answered as follows (multiple selection were possible):

•   Balancing work and family time: 58%

•   Balancing multiple roles: 42%

•   Managing stress and burnout: 40%

•   Access to funding or financial resources: 38%

•   Overcoming societal expectations about mothers who start their own businesses: 26%

•   Navigating discrimination or bias: 18%

Having help at home in the form of a partner or other adults can go a long way, but 37% of respondents, the largest group, said it was mostly them alone left with the mental load of home responsibilities. However, an even split between the respondent and their partner came in a close second at 35%.

When the mompreneurs did get help, the percentages broke down in interesting ways.

Here’s how partners and extended family members offered support (multiple selections were possible):

•   Assisting with childcare during work hours: 30%

•   Providing emotional support: 20%

•   Collaborating on business-related tasks: 16%

•   Helping with housework: 14%

•   Offering financial assistance: 11%

In terms of stress relief, respondents said they balanced self-care with roles as parent and entrepreneur:

•   Participating in hobbies or leisure activities: 51%

•   Scheduled breaks and downtime: 47%

•   Regular exercise or physical activity: 45%

•   Seeking professional help or counseling: 40%

Gender Disparities Revealed

While women-owned businesses are more prevalent in America than ever before, our respondents said that they experience inequity.

More than two in five respondents (42%) said they felt that entrepreneurs who are mothers are treated differently than entrepreneurs who are fathers. Only one in five (21%) said they thought mothers and fathers who owned business were treated equally.

More than 60% of mompreneurs said they felt “judged by others for pursuing entrepreneurial goals while being a parent.”

Making matters worse, the respondents said that this disapproval came into play if they sought financial support to grow their business.

When asked if they felt that being an entrepreneur and parent has affected their access to venture capital or other forms of financial support for their business, they answered:

•   Yes: 43%

•   No: 34%

•   I haven’t tried to secure additional funding for my business: 21%

The Takeaway

Women own 13.8 million businesses in the United States, making up 39.1% of all businesses. Their numbers keep growing, yet nearly half of these mompreneurs feel society treats them differently than owners who are fathers, and balancing work and home is a challenge.

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