By Christine Michel Carter
As of January 2023, fewer women were still in the labor force than in February 2020. Single mothers continue to be the subsegment of this group most likely to be unemployed, and it is directly related to childcare. Specifically, the employment rate fell from 84% among single mothers who found a childcare program to 67% among those who did not. Without access to formal, affordable childcare, single mothers typically rely on a patchwork of care within their network, which can be challenging to secure consistently.
America has also experienced an economic downturn in recent years. According to a recent report from Greenlight, 81% of parents said the state of the economy had increased their financial stress and anxiety. Arguably moreso for single mothers, who are often both the primary earner and caregivers in their households.
Corina Burton is familiar with the stress of serving as the primary earner and caregiver in her home. For five years, Burton was a single mother of three with little child support (today, she is married with four children). Three years ago, Burton decided to focus on building her construction cleaning company, which started at her kitchen table.
Today Burton’s company CPR Construction Cleaning is franchised with an annual revenue of over $5.5 million. Below she discusses the challenge of growing a national business during a time when childcare resources started dwindling across America.
Christine Michel Carter: What was your first venture into entrepreneurship?
Corina Burton: I was a stay-at-home mom for a decade before I unexpectedly had to provide for myself and my three children without a work resume, experience, or a college degree. After two years as a full-time employee and single mom, I started my first entrepreneurial venture with three male colleagues. I oversaw all of the marketing, sales, and branding for our restoration company.
Carter: What happened?
Burton: Unfortunately, after a couple of years of business, I recognized I was being taken advantage of financially. I did not do proper due diligence because I was learning to operate a business in real-time. Eventually, I was forced to make a hard decision and walk away. It was a tough lesson learned, but I transitioned back to being a full-time employee for a brief period so I could learn more about business and entrepreneurship. Four years later after I remarried, I came up with the idea for CPR Construction Cleaning.
Carter: How did childcare resources play a part in the growth of your second company?
Burton: I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur again, it was always my ultimate goal to control my financial destiny. But without stable childcare resources, I knew I wouldn’t have been able to grow the company- I’d experienced years of inconsistent childcare support from family members. When my husband and I realized we wouldn’t be able to find those resources outside of our home, we made a difficult decision. Three years ago, he left his corporate sales position and started working remotely for my company. It involved a pay cut to the household, but this helped me build my company in the field while he took on the supporting role of a child caregiver.
Carter: With your husband as your employee, did serving as the primary earner for your household cause financial stress and anxiety?
Burton: My husband left his corporate job to work solely for my company. Being solely responsible for the sales, revenue, and growth of the company has brought pressure. It is an overwhelming feeling, knowing my company is responsible for my whole family financially. Working as a team and showing constant support has made it all possible.
Carter: What was your mindset during those years of financial uncertainty?
Burton: I experienced more years of struggle from uncertainty financially as a single mother. Being a single mother can be one of the most challenging roles a woman may ever face. I learned to build a powerful mindset. I learned to release what was no longer serving me, consistently write down my goals, and live as if they had already happened. But I didn’t just wish my dreams and goals into existence. I did five tasks daily that got me closer to achieving my goals.
Carter: A little over one-third of franchise owners are women, and in 2022 you were named one of the top women in the industry. As a Latina entrepreneur, I imagine that honor feels reassuring.
Burton: It has been an exciting time to break glass ceilings and standards. It does, and I highly recommend minority women who want to become entrepreneurs consider this avenue. Though I represent a small percentage of the construction industry, more women are finding that franchising (especially franchising as an owner) provides a sense of time management, financial stability, flexibility, and independence.
See Original Article at Forbes