50+ Small Business and Entrepreneurship Resources For Single Parents
Whether you chose the single parent life or it chose you, being a solo parent comes with its own unique challenges and rewards. According to the 2017 US Census, there are nearly 12 million single parent households in the US, with around 80 percent of those headed by women.
As you and those 12 million other single parents know, finding work that allows you the freedom and flexibility to adequately care for and financially support your children can be a daunting task. Between managing a household on your own and raising your children, you’ve got invaluable experience that could make running your own small business a great career path.
As Emma Johnson, the author of The Kickass Single Mom says, “Work and money are not luxuries, and your children benefit in countless ways by having a proud, successful, financially comfortable mother. Go earn, and never look back.” If you’ve been contemplating opening your own business, or if you have a business and want to see it grow, there’s no better time than the present.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of over 50 useful resources for single parents who run a business or for those who are interested in starting a new venture.
Business ideas for single parent entrepreneurs
In the Internet era, there are tons of different business ideas that allow you to work from the comfort of your own home, such as affiliate marketing, opening up an online store, freelance writing, and more. Then again, you may want to set up your business at a brick and mortar shop instead.
If you’re still shopping around for the right business for you, these are some great lists of business ventures that would be perfect for a single parent. Check these out:
- 50 Business Ideas for Moms from Small Biz Trends
- 50+ Profitable Small Business Ideas from Single Moms Income
- 20 Business Ideas for Stay-At-Home Parents from Entrepreneur
Government programs for single parent entrepreneurs
Federal, state, and local governments all offer programs that encourage the building, growth, and success of small businesses. Check out these useful government resources:
- Small Business Administration. This federal government agency is dedicated to supporting small businesses. Their online portal has tons of free courses, business guides, and other informative resources to help you get your business off the ground. They can also help you find an investor to loan you money or invest funds in exchange for equity, a share in the ownership. Plus, the SBA will match investments with $2 for every $1 an investor puts into your business.
- Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). A branch of the US Department of Commerce, the MBDA works to help minority business owners, including women and people of color, succeed in their businesses. They have a blog and collection of resources online, plus Business Centers around the country. Find your local branch here.
- Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). The US Treasury provides awards to certified financial institutions around the country with the goal of expanding economic opportunities for underserved communities. Find one near you here.
- Government contracts. The federal government sets aside a certain share of its contracts for women-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses each year.
Mentorship programs for single parent entrepreneurs
Finding a mentor can drastically improve your chances not only of surviving as a business, but also thriving. According to a 2014 survey from small business mentor group MicroMentor, mentored business owners were able to increase their revenue by 83% during the 2013 fiscal year, while non-mentored entrepreneurs only generated 16% more revenue. Check out these free and low-cost mentoring programs to set your business on the right track:
- SCORE. This organization has the largest network of business mentors in the US, with over 10,000 entrepreneurs volunteering their time at 300 chapters around the country. Sign up to get linked with a mentor who can advise you on your business ventures or check out their live and recorded webinars for topic-specific information.
- MicroMentor. A free site that connects volunteer business experts with small business owners. Users create a free profile then search for their ideal mentor and beginning a relationship.
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). Sponsored by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), SBDCs provide free counseling and training resources to small business owners. Find your local center here.
- All Small Protege Program. This program from the SBA helps small business owners interested in getting federal government contracts create mentorship relationships with other business owners who have experience in getting these contracts.
- National Foundation for Credit Counseling. This non-profit provides financial advice to small business owners. Their personal coaches offer their knowledge to help you manage both your business and personal finances more effectively.
- Pacific Community Ventures. Another non-profit that maintains a network of seasoned business owners and banking experts who volunteer to mentor new and prospective business owners. Their mentors hail from across the US and you can connect with people in your city or online.
- Live Coach. This site and app has a global network of coaches who can advise you on just about everything, including entrepreneurship. For $29 per week or $99 per month you can send unlimited text messages to your advisor. Through their referral program, you can get a $50 Amazon gift card for you and a friend when they sign up as a coach or client.
- State and local governments. Many state and local governments offer small business resources including mentorship and counseling to their constituents, like this free business mentorship program in New York state.
Online business schools for single parent entrepreneurs
Getting a degree in business can be a tremendous asset. But, doing so while caring for a child on your own can be challenging. Fortunately, there are tons of options for getting a business degree online. Federal loans, programs like the Pell Grant, and scholarships like these can also make getting a business degree much more feasible. Check out these online business schools:
- Capella University. Offers a self-paced online business degree which you can finish in one year for $11,000. Get a free trial course when you sign up for their mailing list.
- DeVry University. Has several different business degrees, including TechPath, a tech-focused program. DeVry does offer some scholarships including the Business Edge scholarship of up to $10,000 for TechPath students.
- University of Phoenix. Provides several options for business degrees online. New programs start monthly, and they now lock in your tuition cost throughout the duration of your program, so you won’t see an increase in cost.
- Purdue Global. Has several degrees, including the ExcelTrack program that can be finished more quickly than the traditional degree. They offer a risk-free three-week trial course, plus their tuition is a flat-rate per term, allowing you to take as many courses as you want for one rate.
- Keystone College. Offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration that can be completed in as little as 18 months.
- Western Governors University. Has a number of business degrees from Associate to Masters. Sign up for their mailing list to get a waiver for the $65 application fee.
- Drexel University. Offers online business degrees including undergraduate, graduate, and business certificates.
- Udacity. This online learning platform offers business courses as well as nanodegrees in various business-related subjects.
Funding and loans for single parent entrepreneurs
There are tons of options when it comes to starting and growing your own business. Many folks choose the traditional route, opting to find a small business loan to help launch your new venture. But, in recent years crowdfunding, angel investing, and venture capital have become popular among entrepreneurial hopefuls.
- Fundable. This site allows emerging companies to create a profile and start a fundraiser to start or grow your business. Funders are investors who typically give you money as a loan or in exchange for equity.
- EquityNet. Allows entrepreneurs to share their business plans with potential business investors, venture capitalists, and angel investors in order to get funding.
- Kickstarter. Kickstarter has helped to get nearly 150,000 projects funded, and yours could be one of them. If you’ve got a great business idea that you think people will love, set up a fundraiser on Kickstarter to help get it off the ground.
- Fundbox. This company’s main attraction is that they give out small business loans with decisions that come through in hours, not weeks or months. Registration is free and there’s no credit check required.
- Kabbage. Much like Fundbox, Kabbage gives out loans of up to $250,000 with six or 12-month terms and a quick turnaround. Decisions are typically made within 10 minutes through the app. Check out this article they wrote on their blog about running a business as a single parent, too!
- Republic. Another crowdfunding site for startups that allows people of all incomes to become angel investors. Customers can invest as little as $10 to have a share in your business.
- The Kickass Single Mom Grant. Founder of Wealthy Single Mommy Emma Johnson is a single mother and entrepreneur. Each month she gives out a grant of $1,000 to a single mom to put towards a business endeavor.
- Amber Grants. Offers a monthly $1,000 grant and an annual $10,000 grant for women entrepreneurs.
- Cartier Women’s Initiative Award. This annual grant program provides promising women entrepreneurs with awards of up to $100,000 to help them jump start their business endeavors.
- FedEx Small Business Grant. FedEx gives out 10 grants annually to small business owners, with the grand prize recipient earning an award of $25,000 plus a $7,500 credit for products and services from FedEx.
- National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grants. The NASE selects one business each month to receive a grant of up to $4,000 to use towards growing your business.
- Lending Tree. Has an annual grant competition for small businesses. Winners receive a $50,000 grant.
Single parent groups for aspiring entrepreneurs
As a single parent who owns - or wants to own - a business, there are plenty of people out there like you who want to see your venture succeed. Check out these groups that are useful for single parent entrepreneurs:
- The Founding Moms. While this group isn’t specific to single mothers, they offer resources for moms who own or want to start a business. Their in-person meetups are free and you can get access to their educational webinars, take monthly video courses, connect with brand and marketing experts, and join their members-only Facebook group if you choose a paid membership.
- The Life of a Single Mom. A nonprofit organization offering support for single moms. Check out as many as two free courses through their Single Mom University to get financial advice and other useful information.
- Parent Entrepreneur. This site run by Mary Kathryn Johnson helps folks find the balance between being a business-owner and a parent. You can sign up for a free email business course, get mentoring, or just check out the blog and podcast.
- The Mompreneurs. This Canadian organization seeks to assist and encourage mothers to start and succeed in their own businesses.
- Parents Without Partners. Although this group isn’t specific to business owners, they have chapters around the US where single parents can meet and network with one another. Check out their Resources page for useful information.
- Single Parent Action Network. An online community and resource for single parents with information on education, grants, and more.
- Single and Parenting. An online resource as well as a network of in-person meetup groups, this site offers advice for single parents including a section on money and career.
Blogs and podcasts for single parent entrepreneurs
There are so many single parents out there who have started their own businesses and several of them have even created blogs to share their wisdom with you. These blogs are a great resource for learning how to navigate the world of entrepreneurship as a single parent:
- Single Moms Income. Started by single mom Alexa Mason in 2012, this blog has tons of articles on topics including ideas for working from home, ways to earn extra side income, and how to manage your finances.
- SingleMoms.org. This site features articles on single motherhood across a range of subjects. Check out their Careers page for information and inspiration on building your own business.
- Wealthy Single Mommy. This site is run by Emma Johnson, a single mother and entrepreneur who offers financial advice and general life wisdom for single parents. Sign up for her mailing list to get two chapters of her book The Kickass Single Mom for free. You can also join her Facebook group here for free.
- Single Dad’s Guide to Life. David Elliot’s blog is a great resource for single dads.
- The Eventual Millionaire. Jamie Masters uses her podcast and website to interview millionaires, giving advice on parenting and successful entrepreneurship in the process.
- SingleDad.com. This site offers advice and wisdom to single dads on everything from parenting to legal advice.
Other useful websites for single parent entrepreneurs
Social media and online networking groups have become integral to the success of pretty much every business these days. Whether it’s luring customers with snaps of your tasty creations on Instagram or demonstrating your knowledge and expertise with blog posts on LinkedIn, getting social media savvy can make all the difference when it comes to succeeding in your business. These sites are a great place to start:
- LinkedIn. This popular site helps you to network with other professionals in your field. Use it to find a mentor, promote your business, and connect with relevant people who might be interested in your products and/or services. You can get a one month free trial of their Premium plan when you sign up.
- Meetup. Another popular website, Meetup provides listings of local events and meetups. There are tons of single parent and small business meetups available, and even some for both like this group coaching meetup for Single Parent Professionals and Entrepreneurs.
- Instagram and Twitter. These days, it’s all about social media. Use Instagram and Twitter to find inspiration for your business, promote yourself, and make invaluable connections with customers and other business owners.
- Small Biz Trends. A website dedicated to sharing the latest information about running a successful small business. Check out their Small Business Resource Center for useful tips on starting and growing your own small business.
- National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). This organization provides resources and education to entrepreneurs and folks who are self-employed. Members get access to tons of benefits like discounts on tax software, travel, insurance, and more.
- Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative. Goldman Sachs offers training and support to small business owners to help them grow their ventures. You can apply for their program here.
Equipped with this advice, getting your business off the ground and making it a success is well within your reach. After all, you’ve got the strength and knowledge to run a household on your own, important experience that will help you as you move forward with your business venture.
Want to find more useful advice like this? Keep up with the Knoji blog for informative articles that can help you save money and be more financially savvy. Plus, check out the Knoji homepage where we’ve answered thousands of questions about discounts at your favorite retailers.