Business and babies don't mix - or so goes the general opinion among most entrepreneurs, investors and startup accelerators. Motherhood, however, gives a completely unique drive, skillset and connections that, when leveraged in the interest of growing a business, can quickly set your startup on a successful path.
I ideated Map My Beauty (MMB) while pregnant with my first son. I never had time for in-store beauty experiences, and craved curated suggestions and individualized instruction on how to look my best, with introductions to cool, new brands. There was nothing to make beauty discovery, education and shopping easy on your phone, so I created it. Map My Beauty is an iOS app that's fun and easy, giving you individualized recommendations on looks and products that fit your features and lifestyle plus tailored tutorials right on your selfie. After my son was born, we ran a pilot with Sephora, quickly attracting over 2 Million user experiences. Soon after, pregnant with my second son, I went on to raise a $500,000 round and closed it when I was seven months along. I went to my first meeting five days after he was born, but I didn't just "lean in." Both my babies and my business are my priorities. To make it possible to never miss a bedtime or an important deadline, I set out to figure out my own rules, so I could always take care of the most important needs for both. Here are a few tips I have learned along the way:
1. Other parents provide a killer network.
Becoming a parent is a unifying experience and chances are that other new moms and dads are not only willing to help you out (they know how hard it is), but also are a collective network of business expertise. My parent network has helped Map My Beauty with financials, pitch decks, content production, sales introductions and PR, each leveraging their own experience being an expert in her or his field. So take the mommy & me class at 2pm on a weekday and stay a few minutes over to bond over the sleepless nights. You'll make more priceless connections than at a 7pm networking happy hour.
2. Building an at-home team is key.
Time-consuming activities (that don't affect the bottom line of your business or have anything to do with bonding with the kids) should be done by someone else whenever possible. Hire committed, flexible multi-taskers like you would for your business: housekeeper who can babysit in a pinch and does the laundry, and a babysitter or nanny who can also whip up toddler meals and baby food and help you run a few errands.If hired help is not a possibility when you are also forgoing your corporate salary, get creative with your working hours and ask trusted family members to help out. If you split the cost of childcare with your significant other (so your income alone is not counted on to both cover all of the at-home team's cost and generate profit - often a mom's dilemma), you can quickly calculate how much you are able to accomplish when you have someone helping you out.
3. It's not about the hours but what you do with those hours.
Building a business takes an awful lot of time and there's no way around it. But as the one running the business, you are able to avoid all the inefficiencies of a big, corporate business and truly move faster with less time. How? Having specific daily, weekly and big picture goals and a deep understanding of what you do best - and delegating the rest. At MMB, we make sure we don't spend time on anything that doesn't help us reach our goals quickly. Having an office space within a few blocks also helps, so no time is wasted in commuting.
4. Scheduling sprints create quick results.
I learned the method of working in sprints from our developers, and it works for every other area of a business as well. Setting up specific-seemingly unattainable-goals in two-week sprints with specific tasks for each team member leads to incredible results fast. It's also a great way to see the ROI on your work.
5. Being a proud parent will change the business landscape for all of us.
Many mothers in business get undermined - all the time. So, I didn't mention my motherhood to business contacts when I started building the business after my first son was born and kept my pregnancy under wraps when raising money-literally under a Cynthia Rowley trapeze dress. But when I started the Springboard Tech accelerator when my second son was 4 weeks old, I realized that that was just nuts. I brought Miles along with a babysitter so I could nurse and cuddle him in between presentations (I even once nursed during a presentation - he was hungry and couldn't wait), and now I openly talk about mixing babies and business. Much is talked about the financial power and value of moms. Time for us to harness that power not just as consumers - but as entrepreneurs, creating solutions for the new ways we want to consume and live our lives.
Annabella Daily is the Founder and CEO of Map My Beauty. Map My Beauty makes beauty discovery, education and shopping easy on your mobile. Now available in the app store, Map My Beauty empowers and inspires women with multimedia content, look & product recommendations and individualized how-tos on their selfie, all sharable and shoppable. A pilot with Sephora drove 2 Million user engagements and 40% repeats. Previously, Daily ran digital transformation at Conde Nast and Hearst, where she ideated and executed digital content initiatives, increasing organic engagement, and created the playbook for the Fashion & Beauty vertical at YouTube. Daily has also published, produced and hosted numerous beauty and fashion articles and videos. Daily lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two sons, Lucas, 2 and Miles, 8 months.