Franchising and the Mom Gap
What is it like to re-enter the workforce after being a SAHM (stay at home mom) and are there other options?
The job hunt is a daunting task no matter what level you are at in your career. It’s a part-time gig in of itself. The searching , the scheduling, the preparing, the interviewing….then the waiting in the abyss of the unknown of where you stand, wondering if you’re on the list of call backs.. Leaving even the best go getters feeling drained, minimized and frankly tired. Now layer into the mix, dare I say, the stay-at-home-mom.
Over the years I believe, we have socially become much more aware, accepting and supportive of the work it takes to raise little humans. Let’s face it – they are the toughest clients any of us could have. But what does a potential real world employer think of what you could bring to the table as an employee? Unless you’re applying for a position at a daycare or preschool, you have a much greater chance of being met with a scrutinizing eye of doubt. The critical interview & scrutiny of your ‘time off’ wondering if you’re up to date on the latest software! When the focus should be on natural soft skills, b/c anything else can be taught. Trying to oversell yourself to over prove comes across as desperate, and no one wants to be that person – at the playground or at the interview. Then is all of it worth the paycheck?
But there is a large group of women out there who are or will be in the position of – job hunting.
“43 percent of women quit their jobs when they have children, according to Brie Weiler Reynolds, a senior career specialist at FlexJobs, a job searching website. Of those women, 70 percent eventually return to work — but only 40 percent come back full time.” – MSNBC The Rise Of The Stay At Home Mom
Opting for something within the business ownership space is very appealing. Many try their hand at multi-level marketing. The lower investment is appealing, but is the rest of it? Very few make the money needed to make it worth their while. Starting your own business from the ground up is an option too. This can be exciting as you can begin a journey into entrepreneurship, feeling empowered and set off to make your mark. According to investopedia.com, a sobering statistic to consider is that 90% of businesses fail, 10% in the first year. It’s a huge undertaking, funding can be difficult and it can take years to get to profitability b/c so much time is spent building processes or figuring out marketing.
There is another type of business ownership to consider: franchising. Franchising allows you to be in business for yourself but not by yourself. Brands are SBA approved, systems processes and procedures are in place and there is full support of the franchisor and neighboring franchisees. Sounds fabulous, but really, what can it offer a stay at home mom that is trying to find her place back in the world of working adults.
Before we dive into the 5 reasons why the mom gap is not a concern in franchising, let’s outline some of the many business ownership skill sets acquired or sharpened while being a stay at home mom:
- Time management / Multi-tasking
- Crisis management
- Leadership / Mentoring
- Team management
- Organization & Planning / Event Planning & Mgmnt
- Budgeting / Financial Mgmnt
- Problem solving / Creative Thinking
- Negotiation w/with big ego and pouty clients / Persuasive Influencer
- Project management
These are excellent skills! They should be taken seriously when perceiving your value that could be brought to any company. So instead of focusing on an internal position, why not shift gears & your perspective and focus on the top – build something for yourself!
5 Reasons Why the Mom Gap is not an issue in Franchising:
1. Working ON the Business not IN it
It’s so easy to get bogged down into the everyday functions of a business or a household but taking the perspective of an organizational chart can fill in the gaps of what needs to be done and who stays in which lane with their responsibilities. If no one is steering the ship & overlooking the big picture then so much gets off course. Tasking out children with chores, hiring services for the household – or at least knowing which ones could be hired out if money was no object – to lessen the burden & time of the CEO getting in the thralls of details is a critical piece. This is parallel to managing your own business – different characters but the elements are very much the same. You get to choose which programs, spreadsheets, budgets, suppliers, the company is going to use. Or in franchising some of this burden is taken off the franchisee’s shoulders b/c they already know which one works best or have a national contract. You’re in business for yourself but not by yourself. (I think I’ve stated this 😉
2. Industry Experience
The industry is business ownership! Managing a household / children is managing a business. Knowing how to operate the business, manage employees and (ironically) hire the right people are the upper management skills a franchisee focuses on. If someone was starting a business from the ground up and attempting to secure a loan to do so, specific industry experience would be more at play. However, a franchisor has the systems and mechanics established. A franchisee has a head start!
3. Investing in Yourself
When you work for someone else, all your efforts go towards making that company money. They want to make sure you’re good for the job to support the revenue they need so the business operates. The people interviewing you are most likely on the line to secure employees that will successfully complete the tasks to make them look good. Hence their critical eye of the minutiae of your skills set on a particular software platform or if you performed the same job somewhere else. You have skill sets that already match with business ownership! Why not invest in yourself by running your own company that already has systems & processes in place?
What does asking your boss for time off feel similar to? – being a teenager asking your parent for permission. The stress of needing to leave early b/c of a dentist appointment or heaven forbid the dreaded sick child, that could last for a few days. A call to the school is a call to your boss. And sure, while the pressure of running a business doesn’t subside for a sick child, there is something different about being under the gun to a manager being an underling and being under the gun to a client as the owner. You’re on more equal footing. You can have systems in place of temp services to handle these types of crisis situations…which let’s face it, are nothing new to you. Or the support of the franchisor! Or a neighboring franchisee.
This topic can go in a few directions, and some of you may have conflicting opinions. But here is mine based on owning two franchises and seeing many others run their businesses. Yes, a position comes with the perceived initial security of the paycheck & benefits (maybe), depending on the job or who needs to carry the benefits within your household. As a side note, these are aspects we consider with clients when determining which brands match with their needs & goals. What happens when the job is cut? Or the hours described are not the actual hours, so if you break out your actual salary / hourly wage you’re not making as much as you thought. Then the possible cost of after school help and everything else that comes along with you being at the office. Owning a business has the ability to write off many expenses, so a $50K salary is not the equivalent of $50K net after the Schedule C. Shifting our paradigm in thinking is not easy. But it could mean the difference of bringing in more and having more time. Maybe not in the beginning, launching a business is similar to having a newborn! You’re new at this, you feel out of your comfort zone and in those late night / early morning feedings have moments thinking ‘what did I do”. But growth happens in these moments when we challenge ourselves. And maybe your first business isn’t your last business. Maybe you need a lower investment to start out & then build as you take a regular position. Gaining experience in pieces that fit with your lifestyle & goals.
I challenge you to begin thinking differently, thinking of your goals and where you see yourself in 5 years, what you want from a position or from a business – as Steven Covey wrote as one of the 7 Habits of Successful People – “Begin with the end in mind”. Uncover what you really want but make sure to give yourself credit for what skills you have gained and what you have to offer!
Originally published on FranchiseWire; https://www.franchisewire.com/franchising-and-the-mom-gap/
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