Recently, our party of two became a party of three. My wife and I welcomed our daughter into the world a few months ago and it's been a game-changer for us in terms of elevating our joy and purpose in life.
The experience of becoming a parent has me thinking that this role of "new parent with new baby," is pretty close to what it's like to becoming an entrepreneur and vice versa. Here's why:
A startup is your baby, and you have to take care of it. This new startup baby is just beginning, with not much personality (brand) yet nor has your startup baby fully developed into its true potential. We need to protect startup baby from the outside world until it can manage to become more upright and mobile. There's a lot of pressure to make sure we teach and work with startup baby so that it can survive and thrive.
Your startup is going to give you many sleepless nights as you stay up, thinking how to turn it into a business. You will also be working around the clock because you are so intent on making it grow.
Your startup will be the most exhausting thing you've ever done, but you will be glad you did the work, in the end (I can say this now that my daughter is peacefully sleeping through the night). Over time, you may end up getting more sleep until the next stage in your startup development.
Lots of Opinions
Many other people will offer their opinions (whether you asked for them or not) about what you should do. I never knew so many people would have an opinion on my child (or my payments company). Some advice may be beneficial while some may not be applicable. It's good to listen to everyone and politely accept that they are trying to help. But, you have to be able to quickly discern what advice to take and which advice you are going to toss.
Many entrepreneurs have "been there and done that," so they can provide tips that make raising that child - startup - even easier. After all, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. However, it's up to you to know what will work for your startup (baby/child/teenager).
Fear of Screwing Up
It can be scary having this much responsibility. I still can't believe that someone let me be in charge of this fragile little bundle. Everything I am doing in life right now - I put her first because I don't want to do anything that would harm her inadvertently. It's the same with starting a business. Especially the first business I started, it was definitely daunting in the beginning, and I was afraid some mistake would hurt the business or lead to failure.
However, in both cases, it helps not to focus on the fear but to look ahead, be thoughtful and careful, and keep going even if something goes wrong.
Excitement and Joy
Through the setbacks and worries, the parent of a child and the parent of a business can experience some of the greatest joy and excitement from this role. It's thrilling to watch our child grow and learn so quickly, respond to us, and be so curious.
For my life as an entrepreneur, I get that same joy from seeing my business ideas grow and develop into sustainable companies as well as getting feedback from customers and employees about what I'm doing. Even when things get rough, I focus on the overall excitement and joy such an experience has brought to my life, which helps me stay the course and do what has to be done right now.
They Become Our Priority
Our priorities quickly change when we have a child or a business. I know that certain things that were once important are relegated to the back burner now. A parent now has other things they must focus on that fills their time - first.
I have had to learn balance despite making my child and my business a priority. That's because there is still a need for spouse, family, and personal time that needs to get balanced and worked into the equation.
Every Day is Different
Unlike a regular job where your schedule is pretty much the same every day, the life of an entrepreneur means every day is going to bring something different. You never know if you will be putting out fires or celebrating some win in the form of more customers, new talent, or extra funding.
The same goes with having a child. There are some good days with big strides and there are other days where I wish I could take a nap and hide for a while. I never know what's about to happen next, and I love that. Entrepreneurs live for the unexpected, and even thrive on it.
At the same time, I still try to stick to some type of general routine while staying flexible for whatever pops up. It helps your startup or your child to have that same sort of structure as well - so craft some type of schedule and just be prepared to chart a new course - pivot - if one or more days just doesn't go as planned.
A Chance at Success
The role of a parent and an entrepreneur both provide the opportunity for inexpressible success that has never been previously experienced in life--or, at the very least, was not as satisfying. The fruits of your labor can grow into something--and someone--admired by others and that has a life of its own. You can then say, "I made this," and I don't think anything really feels better than that.
The Urge to Have More (Well, Maybe)
The satisfaction I feel already as a parent and an entrepreneur only spurs me on to have more children and businesses. It's the idea that you put all of yourself into the role and something incredible came out of it. That's the feeling that makes you want to go through the new business process again and again.
From the success of becoming an entrepreneur, I knew I could do pretty well at this parent gig. Plus, my wife is pretty good at it, too. Together, we make a great team and are well on our way with our strategic plan and branding strategy to help this little dynamo chart her own course into a raving success at every age. She even has her very own Facebook page, so we already putting that social platform to work for her. You are never too early - in any business - to start networking!