When the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic upended several aspects of everyday life, many U.S. mothers—3.5 million to be exact—were forced to give up their careers in order to look after their young children who were suddenly attending school from home. A new campaign from ZenBusiness and Joan Creative offers such moms a unique opportunity to reenter the workforce—by establishing their own business.
ZenBusiness, a public benefit corporation that helps people start and grow businesses, launched the "#MomsMeanBusiness" campaign to empower moms across the country to take the leap into entrepreneurship. From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the company will help mothers overcome the initial hurdles of starting a business by fully covering the costs of registering their business as an LLC and securing the business’s name, as well as providing free access to tools on the ZenBusiness platform such as a dashboard that helps organizes business-related documents and track expenses.
The digital-first campaign is the first collaboration between ZenBusiness and Joan Creative, which the company selected as its agency of record earlier this year. To kickstart the campaign, Joan produced a short film that emphasizes the resilience and power of mothers that make them well-equipped to take on business ownership. The film features scenes of a woman giving birth, overlaid with photos of various mothers with their children and the thumping of a drumbeat. As the music swells, a voiceover reminds moms, “If you can handle motherhood, you can handle anything.”
“This isn’t a campaign, this is a call to arms,” said Jaime Robinson, co-founder and chief creative officer of Joan—and a mom herself—in a press release. “Mothers left the workforce because it doesn't work for them. But mothers can be the ones who can change it all by starting the businesses they wished they worked for."
“It’s no secret that the workforce is really difficult for women, and moms especially,” she added in an interview with Ad Age. “So, let’s take moms, who maybe haven’t seen policies … that are conducive to them fulfilling their potential, and get them creating businesses that actually can change the fabric of the way the workforce works.”
Along with Robinson, several members of the film’s production team, including the director, editor, head producer and lead actress, are also mothers. Their firsthand experience with motherhood helped imbue a sense of authenticity in the film and capture the “feeling of being a superhero” that accompanies giving birth, Robinson said.
In addition to the film, the campaign involves a series of posts across ZenBusiness’s social media accounts designed to raise awareness about the lower numbers of mothers in the workforce; allow moms to share their stories about their journeys to business ownership; and provide advice to moms hoping to launch their own businesses. On YouTube, the company will share several “how-to” videos that offer tips and practical advice about starting a business, said Michael Fanuele, brand SVP at ZenBusiness.
Though the campaign has had a “very soft launch,” Fanuele said, ZenBusiness will further promote the "#MomsMeanBusiness" campaign on Friday during ABC’s “Good Morning America” and during the season premiere of the business reality show “Shark Tank.” The company also sent out an email last week to its 250,000 customers asking them to share the campaign with any mothers they knew who may be interested, and it quickly became ZenBusiness’s “best-received, best-converting email,” he said.
“There’s something about this that seems to be inspiring everybody, not just moms, to realize how wonderful it would be if more moms started their own businesses,” he added.