Making a successful career transition as a working mother.
The working world is changing. Around 10 million Americans are considering switching from full-time to freelance work—53% of businesses say the era of remote work has increased their willingness to use freelancers, and 71% of hiring managers plan to sustain or increase their use of freelancers in the next six months. Office workers have discovered that they can effectively do their work from wherever they want, and with that, are building flexible working arrangements that coincide with other aspects of their personal lives. These turbulent times present an important decision for many employees, particularly working moms. Is it time to look for a more meaningful entrepreneurial profession that aligns with one’s career goals or should you stay with a job that offers a flexible work arrangement so you can manage the kids at home? The unique opportunity of this moment is that it’s possible to do both.
The Balancing Act: A Female Founder and Working Mother
Nearly 47% of all U.S. workers are women, and 75% of them work full-time. In fact, women own almost 10 million businesses today. Yet, these numbers only tell part of the story as women-owned businesses are still in the minority. Women, not to mention those with kids in tow, face vast hurdles not understood or experienced by their male counterparts. Launching your own business venture, whether that be a full company or a personal freelance/self-employed career, is a frightening thought for many women. These journeys are very tedious and painful processes that require patience and endurance. Yet, women already have more skills than they think! A new survey found only half of working moms give themselves credit for utilizing their ‘mom skills’—empathy, multitasking, and efficiency—in their jobs. The hardest part of creating a solo career or company can be the relationship-building. Females tend to have better people skills and naturally flourish in these environments.
More work still must be done to empower women to change careers, launch self-employment ventures, and create companies. In my experience, females tend to be more modest and undersell their achievements, which is a huge factor holding them back. Nonetheless, the leap can still be a scary one. Try testing the waters and explore a single job interview or freelance role before making a major life decision. Network and dedicate time each week to reaching out to people that could help in your successful launch. And then share your story. How you got to where you are and why you wanted to make a change inspires other women to do the same. There is power in example; the first few people knock down the door, set the tone, and create the examples that reshape the patterns. I hope through my company, we can be catalysts that provide inspiration to minority females. Women should be given the same opportunities to pursue their dreams and go after what they want. At Solos, we are here to support future and fellow female founders.
How to Secure Financial Freedom and Become Financially Literate
The self-employment avenue is an incredible opportunity for anyone, but especially women, to become financially secure and confident. Though seemingly a stereotypical insight, self-employment attracts more females because of the hourly flexibility these jobs provide them to also be home caretakers. Past research found how married women tended to choose self-employment over wage-salary employment with key factors considered including the greater relative earnings, hourly and weekly flexibility, and if their spouse had covered health benefits. For the self-employed, ‘financial wellbeing’ means being in a state of financial security that gives them choice in their career and the freedom to enjoy life—as well as the ability to provide for family and loved ones and feel secure in their financial future. Being self-employed makes incredible sense to many. Yet, there is an ever-prevalent gender gap when it comes to financial literacy. Much of the gap is explained by the need for women to feel highly qualified and skilled for the positions they take on. Self-employed women seek more financial knowledge and generally tend to be risk-averse and more comfortable feeling fully qualified for a position. Women who select self-employment would only do so if they were over-qualified, possessing a higher level of skills, including financially literate, than their male self-employed counterparts. To inspire more women to become entrepreneurs, we must focus on building women’s confidence in financial and business skills.