Staying home and taking care of the kids is a tough job, but for many families it is also tough on the finances. For those who can perhaps afford to stay home, the lack of mental challenge can get frustrating. But what most women don’t realize is that while changing diapers, running carpools, and fixing dinner day after day may feel like a brain drain, you’re actually building skills you can use to start your own business.
There are many similarities between raising a child and growing a company, with each stage providing parallels that actually give moms an edge in business.
Getting pregnant: The decisions to start a family and start a business are strangely similar in emotion and process. Sometimes, it takes a few tries to get it right and other times it can be happen, well, by accident. We are never properly training for either endeavor, but we dive in and tend to learn as we go. Both starting a business and starting a family involve looking into the future to plan for the growth of our child (real and business).
Labor and delivery: Starting a business and delivering a baby are both tough. Yet, after the fact, we can look back with fondness to see the positive results. We bond with both our business and our baby so that, years later, the hard stuff doesn’t seem so difficult anymore. And that bond gets us through some pretty tough stuff.
Baby to toddler years: In the beginning, we have to do everything for our baby and our business. As we work hard to teach them to the basics, we marvel at their growth. The Terrible Twos -- and, sometimes, Threes -- are when our child and our business experience growing pains that we somehow find our way through. We also learn that “Spit (up) happens” and to be prepared for the unexpected (sound like anyone’s business experience?). At the end of the day, though, a sense of humor really comes in handy at home and as you build your business.
Elementary school years: Anyone who can figure out how to teach a child to clean up his room can persuade a customer to buy their products or services. It is about creative persuasion and, as moms, we get chances to hone that skill every day. We also learn that it isn’t good to discipline in anger, neither child nor employee, and how important it is to follow through with threats.
Pre-teen years: As a child and a business begin to grow up, you need to start to let go. You have to allow for each to make mistakes and learn from failure, as long as it is controlled. It is also important to not avoid conflict as some of the best and most creative ideas and outcomes have come from productive conflict.