Entrepreneurship is like a baby of its own, birthed first with the existence of an idea, opportunity, or problem. The idea must be nourished with a lot of passion and patience. It consumes you, exhausts you just like the terrible-twos. Eventually, your venture is finally out of the startup crawling phase, on to its feet expanding and exploring the adventure of the economy. Your baby is finally independent and that makes you so proud. The joy that comes from hitting a milestone or continuing on a fulfilling journey can be likened to the journey of motherhood.
I call my online business my second baby, even though my son desperately wants a real human sister that is not found on the internet
To celebrate Mother’s day, I spoke to a few mom-preneurs working out of Impact Hub Boston to share any transferable lessons learned from motherhood to Entrepreneurship.
Lessons from Monica:
I used to get impatient when I could not see the results of a new project right away. Motherhood has taught me the art of learning to wait while keeping sane. The same applies for entrepreneurship, since my business is in its early stages. I don’t get anxious for positive results right away; I’m more focused on enjoying each step with joy, while gaining more confidence in my management abilities.
It took me a while to learn that we are in control of a conversation when we listen more than we talk. Motherhood had its own way of teaching me this lesson. I realized there is no benefit in jumping to conclusions without having all the facts. Being a great entrepreneur is about developing good listening skills.
Do not compare yourself to others:
Since my child was born, I tended to compare everything she did to other children of the same age, until I noticed the extra pressure I put on her for no reason. Understanding each child has his/her own way of growing and behaving took a huge weight off my shoulders. The same applies to being an entrepreneur: each business has its own way of developing.
When a parent is not consistent with the rules they set up, kids are not going to take them seriously. It’s easy to lay down a rule and then let it slide when you’re tired or in a hurry; but children learn through a lot of rehearsal and repetition. The same applies to being an entrepreneur; being consistent with customers gives us credibility.
Live by example: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Growing up, children mimic the behavior, beliefs and attitudes of their parents. No matter how much you talk about a rule, if you break it, your child is most likely to break it, too. Setting an example for our customers is a great way to build a relationship with them.
Lessons from Chien-Chi:
“It takes a village to raise a child”
It takes a team, sometimes an entire community to ensure a startup has all the necessary resources and support to grow and flourish. Just like modern-day mothers, entrepreneurs today also have access to many online forums for advice and support. Be sure to take advantage of the ecosystem.
Be ready to let go when it’s time:
Entrepreneurs go through a lot to give birth to the entity that embodies their dream or cause. However, there might come a time when we need to let our children choose the path they want to take or the life they want to live. Just remember, letting go does not mean failure.
Self-care is not selfish:
A mother cannot take care of her family if she’s not well herself. Your health is crucial to the success of your venture, so take time to rest and re-energize when you need it.
Lessons from Margaret:
As a mother, I learned things are not always going to turn out the way I want them to. My child might want to wear her rain boots and winter jacket in summertime or throw all of her food on the floor. It’s not ideal. But sometimes things are out of my control and I just have to go with it and figure out a creative solution to the problem.
The same goes for entrepreneurship: there are twists and turns and sometimes you just have to go with the flow and get creative in your solutions.
Lessons from Stephanie:
It’s better to be kind, than to be right
There is no such thing as a stupid question; It’s better to be kind, than to be right; Your reputation precedes you, think before you post/text/tweet/fill in the blank. Remember to say please and thank you. One favorite quote from Carol Dweck: “Parents should teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence”
Lessons from Sandy:
Celebrate the little successes
As a mom, I have learned to celebrate the good days and learn to live with the bad ones. I have learned that I am not perfect; there is no such thing as life-work balance. This has prepared me better for the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. I strive to celebrate the little victories any time I can.
Lessons from Jessica
What is needed today might not be needed tomorrow. This is a lesson I was reminded of often while raising my son who is now in college. For example, a particular approach to encouraging responsible behavior might had been very effective in our home for a long stretch but then suddenly it lost its magic power. Jake had evolved as a person and my “carrots” needed to as well.
Lessons from Candice:
Motherhood taught me that we can create a future of our own. We have to pursue our dreams and not just follow other people’s steps.
Happy Mother’s day!