In 2010, I chose to take the leap, moving from writing and reinvention coaching work as a side gig to making it my primary livelihood. In 2011, I added yoga workshops to that equation, and I have never looked back. I knew early in my working life that W-2 employment was not for me, and ultimately, I wanted to be my own boss. So, when the opportunity presented itself to move out of employment into ownership, I took it.

According to the Small Business Association Office of Advocacy, 81 percent of small businesses are solopreneurs, and out of the 33 million U.S. small businesses, 22 percent of these businesses are owned by women. As women, we recognize that our skill sets and the life we desire to live — whether it’s being available for family, not putting an illusory cap on our earning potential, or working seasonally — requires the ability to choose our clients, choose our working partnerships and chart our own course.

Yet society and our federal (and local) governments fail to recognize solopreneurs. Governments too often hamper and restrict us. From access to funding to burdensome regulations and urban myths about what we actually do, solopreneurs are too often given the short end of the stick or dismissed outright.

CNBC recognized that the Paycheck Protection Program, which was the government’s solution to assist small businesses during the COVID pandemic, was based on employee payroll. Therefore, it eliminated solopreneurs from accessing these funds and forced us onto the unemployment rolls, which, in places like California, was used to target us for audits and more destructive policies. This is the solopreneur’s landscape, and it needs to change.

A recent Entrepreneur profile asked female entrepreneurs what their favorite thing about being a business owner was. Words like choice, empowerment and having control of one’s own time were mentioned. Even more for the solopreneur because, in terms of business, we are responsible only for ourselves. We can be nimble; we do not have to consult with partners or consider employees in project decisions when to ramp up — or slow down — output. We are a one-person small business, which allows us to be self-governing. This is at the heart of our constitutional liberties. 

And we contribute to the economy like any other business. The Small Business Association Office of Advocacy further reports that women-owned businesses had an estimated $2.1 trillion in receipts in 2023.

Sadly, state and local regulations make it more difficult for women to pursue these aims. Along with the recent Department of Labor final Independent Contractor Rule, other rules limit business growth, as well as industry requirements on reporting of small business loans — loans that are already notoriously difficult for solopreneurs to acquire.

Female solopreneurs are less likely to have lending relationships with traditional banks because of the high-income threshold required to secure such funding.

But there is also the fact that female solopreneurs are simply not taken seriously. One woman from the Entrepreneur study had this to say: “When I opened my first boutique, friends and family thought it was ‘cute.’ Twenty-two years and six businesses later, they still think it’s ‘cute.’ I’ve never heard anyone say that it’s ‘cute’ that Elon Musk started a business. The business community at large, including banks, lenders and policy, still do not take women’s role in business seriously.”

Then there is the urban myth that solopreneurs and other freelancers/self-employed do not pay taxes. It’s akin to the lie of “taxing the rich” and used to target the solopreneur who often does not have the resources of a larger business regarding legal and tax assistance.

We not only pay federal and state income taxes but also self-employment taxes. We also pay for Social Security, Medicare, pension/retirement plans, and health and other insurances. As a yoga professional, I am required to carry liability insurance for myself and my clients. If I hold workshops in a venue, my insurance also needs to cover the facility.

Starting a solo business and maintaining it as a solopreneur is an incredible risk with significant pitfalls. But for most women, the rewards of greater flexibility to greater control outweigh these. If the government will get out of our way, and if the business community recognizes that we are unique, diverse and profitable, and require resources and tools that cater to this, we can grow, thrive, and continue to build economic endurance, while contributing to our nation’s GDP and the prosperity of a new business frontier.