Mothers all around the world have one thing in common with entrepreneurs – a baby. I’m both a mother and an entrepreneur; let me tell you, I don’t know which is harder. The experience of starting a new business is almost exactly the same experience as a first-time mother with a newborn.
Failure is right around the corner
When you become a mother, you’re obsessed with trying not to mess it all up. As your baby learns new tricks, you’re proud that you’re doing something right.
When marketing your new business, you’re constantly evaluating your strategies to see what works. As your customers become comfortable engaging with you and your sales start to pick up, you can’t help but feel like a proud mama.
You’re constantly looking for advice, then you decide “screw the advice”
All first-time mothers I know have the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” This is followed by parenting books, parenting magazines, and notepads kept on the nightstand to scribble down questions for the doctor. We get so much conflicting advice that our heads are spinning by the end of the day. At some point, we screw our heads back on and decide to do it our way and see what happens. Most of us end up getting it right.
As an entrepreneur new to your industry, there’s no doubt that you’re scouring blogs, emailing influencers, buying tons of books, and reaching out to your competitors on social media.
You just want to make sure that you’re doing it right. What happens when two of your idols have completely opposite advice for you? You learn to trust your instincts and stop your search for the “perfect method.”
You’ll forget what it means to get a full night’s rest
Babies are needy little creatures. The worst of it is that they always need you the most at night. On the nights you get lucky and they’re not wailing at 3am, you’re still up just to make sure they’re still breathing. Someone needs to create a manual for babies that reads….
INCLUDES: raccoon eyes, disheveled hair, and exhaustion
Before you start a business, you think that getting started is the biggest step. Once you get started, you realize that every single day counts.
Smooth sailing doesn’t come until much further into the experience. Sleep is practically out of the question those first few months (first 11 months, but whose counting?).
The moment you shut your eyes, you’re wracked with guilt and panic. There’s too much to do – who has time for sleep!? Is my COMPETITION ASLEEP?
It takes a while before you discover that your competition gets twice as much sleep as you do on a good night.
You’ll go through the money cycle (spend a lot, then spend very little)
First-time mothers spend over three times as much money on newborns than moms who’ve already been to the rodeo. It’s not because of hand-me-downs. No, it’s credited to wisening up and realizing that a newborn doesn’t need an entire wardrobe of NB clothes.
Having my first baby was a reason to shop, shop, shop. At about 6 months, I realized this little human was blazing through my bank account faster than I was filling it.
I had to strategize my spending (which is code for more diapers and wipes, less of everything else).
By far, the question I am most frequently asked is: How do I get the funds to start my business? Most small businesses actually waste a ton of money in their first year. They could have piled the money up, set it on fire and their business would still be in the exact same state (or better).
When I started my first business, I spent tens of thousands of dollars on what I thought was “branding”, only to do a complete pivot 8 months in.
Yep, I should have just lit the match.
A shift in the company you keep
The child-less friends that planned your baby shower, were so excited throughout your pregnancy, showed up regularly in those first few months… they disappear. It’s not because they don’t adore you and your bundle of joy. Your interests have changed. As a new mother, I gravitated to other moms.
The new routine involves play dates, hanging out at the park, fitting in workouts, and sneaking in glasses of wine when the kids are down.
The concept of entrepreneurship is still new for many people. It’s difficult for them to understand your obsession. Working for yourself is like.. a job right? Except you’re the boss – you can do whatever you want!
As the vision for your business becomes clearer, you’ll want to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Naturally, we want people around who will motivate us and hold us accountable for our goals.
It’s extremely important as a business owner to surround yourself with the people you strive to become.
Resources for You
How to Get Paid to Be Creative by Abigail Pumphrey
How to Increase Your Self-Esteem by Ramit Sethi
Babies? Businesses? Share your story in the comments below!