The number of stay-at-home dads in the U.S. has surged to roughly 2 million, a 90 percent increase since 1989, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Although stay-at-home dads are becoming a new norm, there are still stigmas associated. Because of the antiquated belief that men are the family breadwinners, many see stay-at-home fatherhood as a loss of income, lack of desire to work and shortage of domestic knowledge.
What people tend to forget, though, is the innovative ground these stay-at-home dads have broken. Domestic dads tend to inherently have key characteristics that make them successful--appreciating experiences, ignoring stigmas and going above and beyond to name a few. When applied to other areas--such as entrepreneurship and running a business--these same skills and characteristics can translate into high levels of success.
I talked with Gerry Hays, the founder and CEO of DinnerCall, a public benefit corporation founded in 2015 out of Indianapolis. DinnerCall's premier initiative is The Billion Family Dinners Challenge - a social advocacy venture that aims to bring families back together at the dinner table.
I asked Gerry to share what entrepreneurs of both genders can learn from stay-at-home-dads. So, entrepreneurs, consider taking a page out of the stay-at-home dad handbook and apply these six invaluable lessons for growing a budding business:
1 - Be authentic.
In a world where authenticity is scarce, commit to being the genuine version of yourself--and your business. Don't let anything or anyone alter your goals, passions or values. In the realm of stay-at-home dads, hidden agendas aren't welcome. Don't make them acceptable in entrepreneurship either.
2 - Appreciate each experience.
Every first (and second, and third) should be savored. You'll be thankful later that you took in all the moments that got you to where you are today. It may be clich, but every experience will be a lesson learned. Just like mastering how to discipline your children or which route to take to school, welcoming each adventure will help you succeed in the end.
3 - Be devoted.
It's hard to make something grow when you aren't dedicated to seeing it flourish. Your project should be your passion and vice versa. If you feel like it's losing that spark, take the time to rekindle your excitement. It's easy to see how the chaos of everyday life could burn out a dad, but the second his kid says "please" or gets that first "A," it makes everything worth it.
4 - Be an early adopter.
Aren't sure about the newest trend? If you think it could work for you, try it out early. No harm, no foul if you decide to drop it later on. If it does work out, it could give you the edge you need to succeed. Moms have typically been the stay-at-home parent in past years, but some families have now adopted this new family structure in their homes. It may be unconventional, but that doesn't mean it can't work for some.
5 - Ignore stigmas.
Some of the most successful people had to overcome stigmas before ascending to accomplishment. (Think Bill Gates, Walt Disney and Jackie Robinson.) Ignore stigmas that are holding you back from pursuing your dream. As stay-at-home dads have learned, disregarding criticisms can be worth it in the end.
6 - Go above and beyond.
It may not include baking brownies for your child's soccer team, but there are manythings you can do to take your success to the next level. Many people are average, but few excel. The winners in business are those who take the time to go that extra mile--your employees, partners and customers will appreciate the extra attention and dedication.
Even if you're not taking on full-time stay-at-home dad duties la famous TV fathers Joel Graham or Cameron Tucker, that doesn't mean you can't apply these practices to embrace your role and become effective in whatever you do.
Stay-at-home dads are doing incredible things, and so can you.