The Competitive Startup Advantage of Being a Single Mom

How skills cultivated as a single mom translate to entrepreneurship.

By Sara Millman (Co-founder, backHer)

Do single moms have any competitive advantages when it comes to being startup founders?

An affirmative answer to this question at first seemed a bit unrealistic even to me, a single mom co-founder. But upon further reflection, I realized that single moms have a wealth of skills that translate exceptionally well in the pursuit of entrepreneurship and there are indeed some serious competitive advantages. So many in fact that I believe a visionary VC out there would do well to create a portfolio focusing on Single Mom Founded Lean Startups.

Single moms perform a variety of job roles every single day; that of breadwinner, protector, therapist, teacher… and the list goes on. Being accustomed to managing multiple responsibilities is vital in a lean startup situation when there’s only a few people doing the needed work of all the positions at first. Having the flexibility to quickly switch directions and being capable of picking up whatever task is needed in the moment is what moms do.

When there is passion for what we are doing, time somehow seems more expansive. Single mom founders in particular learn how to become expert managers of time. While modern research suggests that multi-tasking and sleeping less than 7-8 hours a night is not good for productivity, single moms know that somehow those studies didn’t take us into account. Mothers are natural multi-taskers and for some nights over a period of some years, our children and our businesses may require of us a bit less sleep. But for our most important life endeavors, we do what it takes. We don’t often stop to contemplate the perfect work-life balance scenario either, because we are too busy forging our dreams.

For many single mom business founders, there were many “lean years” before the founding of a ”lean startup.” People who survived lean times often have the creativity and the know-how to build something from nothing. You know the old expression: Necessity is the mother of invention.

Single mom or not, most people cannot build inventions alone. We need to work together as founders, collaborators and investors. This is what we are doing at the startup I have co-founded. We provide the platform and tools for women-led ventures big and small to get funded.

Mothers have an innate sense that what we are creating and nurturing is our legacy. Our children are our legacy, as are our works of art, and our companies. Single moms who have the backing to follow through on ambitious endeavors are natural legacy makers whose success can have a major ripple effect.

Funding passionate, dedicated, single moms can change lives and change communities — and can change the world.


About the guest blogger: Sara Millman is an independent filmmaker and writer whose work has been screened and distributed on five continents. She cofounded backHer to enable fellow artists, activists, and entrepreneurs to grow budgets, while at the same time to support women who are rising from poverty and oppression.