Becoming an Unintentional Work-At-Home Mom

By Kathy Zucker

Kathy Zucker

Over the past six years, I have been a managing partner in three companies. In the past year, I have written two business plans and raised a million dollars in investor capital commitments. In the past 16 months, I established a beverage company’s online and social media presence, redesigning the look and wording of all its marketing materials. The result of those efforts? The company has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.com, shot to No. 1 in nationwide sales in the Amazon grocery section, and is now being sold at the Ritz Carlton, at the hotel’s request. And I accomplished all this while working from home.

When I launched my marketing consulting business six years ago, I never expected any of this to happen. But the biggest surprise of all? The fact that I am home at all. I never, in a million years, intended to stay home when I became a parent. I thought I would be your typical Manhattan marketing director, taking 12 weeks of maternity leave before putting my child into day care or hiring a nanny.

Life has a way of moving in unexpected directions. I found parenting to be much harder and more gut-wrenching than I ever expected. You don’t truly know what sleep deprivation is like until you have parented a newborn; it’s like walking around drunk all the time. And I found that I couldn’t stand being away from my daughter. Watching her little face pull away from me in a car window is one of my most emotionally searing memories of early motherhood. Also, my husband’s career started ramping up; I had been the primary breadwinner until then, but I agreed to scale back so he could go for the big time. Two parents working 60-hour weeks — we would never see our kid.

Struggling to balance parenting with your career?

It is surprisingly easy to start working for yourself. The most basic level of being in business is a sole proprietorship. You come up with a business name, register it with the state you live in, and get a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). It can all be done online; it should take about an hour to establish your business. And the cost? Under $100.

Why do you need an EIN as a sole proprietor? Privacy is huge; do you want to give your Social Security number to every client? Having an EIN also enables you to partner with other people; I often put together marketing plans that involve multiple vendors (interns, a web developer, etc.) At the end of the year, I issue them 1099s since they are independent contractors; no tax liability for me.

Having an EIN makes you look legitimate. Many clients request my EIN before they will do business with me. It doesn’t change my income tax filing status; I file one set of personal returns and all my business activity goes on schedule C.

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Kathy Zucker, serial entrepreneur and mother of two toddlers, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. See what Kathy is up to at her blog and on Twitter.

 This article originally appeared on Metromoms.net on Jan. 9, 2012.

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