While many people called me crazy, in 2014 I started working on my tech startup just a few months before my first baby was due. It was the classic story, my terrible online experience searching for baby products inspired an idea for a new business. Our startup, solves this problem by making it quicker and easier for parents to shop for baby products. We bring the world’s top baby, kids and maternity brands together into one simple shopping app.
I admit now that I underestimated the challenges of juggling a business and a baby. I had dreams of my baby playing happily on the floor while I worked at the table… that never happened. But what I underestimated the most was how much motherhood would teach me and how valuable those skills would be for entrepreneurship. Below are just a few of the many things I learned from motherhood that have helped me manage and grow my startup.
To be honest, I thought I was pretty good at prioritization before my baby came along. I had spent 7 years working in a high-pressure banking job, and before that juggled studies with part time work and competitive sports.
1. Ruthless prioritization
To be honest, I thought I was pretty good at prioritization before my baby came along. I had spent 7 years working in a high-pressure banking job, and before that juggled studies with part time work and competitive sports. I thought I had it sussed, and then my baby entered the world… All of a sudden I had no control over my schedule, no idea when I would get a chance to work or sleep. The only thing I was sure of was that as soon as my baby closed her eyes I had to make the most of that precious 30 minutes.
Everything I did in that time was prioritized by its’ level of impact on the business and sometimes things lower down on the list never got done. This would have killed the pre-baby- perfectionist me, but the new mother-entrepreneur (or now known as mumpreneur) me learned the power of focusing on what really matters and to say no to low-impact tasks. This lesson has helped me run our lean startup with extreme time and cost efficiency.
This would have killed the pre-baby- perfectionist me, but the new mother-entrepreneur (or now known as mumpreneur) me learned the power of focusing on what really matters and to say no to low-impact tasks.
It’s incredible watching your baby grow and develop, but it also means that every day brings new scenarios and questions that you have never experienced before as a mother. One day your baby will love her puree, the next she will scream blue murder at the sight of it. She can’t tell you why and she can’t tell you what she wants instead, and so begins a process of trial and error.
Like a baby, a startup has unique characteristics (its unique value proposition, you could say), meaning there is no perfect guidebook on how to grow the business. People can give you advice and share their experiences but in the end you have to test and experiment to find the best solutions for your business, and you have to get used to make decisions without complete information.
Parents take forward-thinking to a whole new level, because there is nothing worse than being that parent at the café with the screaming child.
Have you ever wondered what is inside those huge diaper bags parents carry around? Enough supplies to survive at least 2 hours in the outside world with a baby. Changes of clothes, warm layers in case of aircon, cool layers in case we’re outside in the heat, diapers, multiple meals, snacks, anything that might possibly entertain, and the list goes on. Parents take forward-thinking to a whole new level, because there is nothing worse than being that parent at the café with the screaming child.
This skill is incredibly valuable for entrepreneurship. Understanding that many scenarios may play out across all areas of the business at any time and having plans in place to allow for these enables the team to seize opportunities that arise, and quickly fail ideas that are not effective so we stay lean and efficient.
Both motherhood and entrepreneurship are incredibly rewarding. If you’re thinking about combining the two I encourage you to go for it!