Mother's Day last year was notably different than this year for me. My mind was only on the holiday then. This year, my mind is on my new business. As a mother, today I couldn't help but think about the parallels that exist between being a mother and being an entrepreneur. In many ways, I now feel like I have given birth to an additional child. I'm not sure if my children fully understand this dynamic. Neither of them had voting privileges when they got a new sibling, the same is true with my business.
I started my communications consulting business, @TCM Communications, in July of 2017. Here are some comparisons that I see between my experiences as a mother and that of being a new business owner:
Conception - Some pregnancies are planned, some are not. Same thing is true with entrepreneurial endeavors. Some people get bitten by the entrepreneur bug while they are working for someone else. Their entrepreneurial efforts may be just a side hustle or hubby for them. Never with the intent of it being a full-time endeavor. While others may see from the beginning the full potential. They may strategically go about establishing this business as they are working for someone else and then slowing put into place their exit plan. I readily admit that I resisted being bit for a very long time. Others tried to get me to go down the same path that they did, but the predictability of paychecks kept me in the proverbial hamster wheel. When I finally got bit, I could no longer resist.
Pregnancy - This phase is the time in which the babies...human baby and business idea, grow. The mother is doing everything she can to ensure for a healthy pregnancy. She's eating right, getting rest, keeping her stress level down and so much more. For the entrepreneur, this is the time in which you formulate in your mind if you are really going to step off into the unknown? Is the business idea really viable? Will you be able to get enough business to really make it more than just a dream? The questions continue to form until you get to a point at which you either decide to truly start the business or not. Unfortunately, just as it is the case with some pregnancies, some businesses are just not meant to be. Either it is a matter of timing, the business idea is not marketable enough or other factors. The pregnancy phase for my business was relatively short. It seemed to be an idea that was long overdue and the need for the business endeavor was pressing. It really seemed as if so many events that occurred in my professional life through the years lead to the time being right for me to become my own boss.
Labor & Delivery -This is the scary part. I think there will be few mothers who would say that labor & delivery was a pleasant experience. Mothers experience excruciating pain through this process. There a very few experiences that adequately compare to the high level of pain that women bears. Some have said that is similar to 20 bones being fractured at once. For a new entrepreneur, the pains of birth of new business can be very daunting. This can include deciding on the right name, developing a business plan, creating logo, establishing the business a legitimate entity with the state and federal government and so much more. Just as mothers may sometimes want to bypass labor & delivery and quickly get to hold the baby in their arms to admire, the entrepreneur may want to bypass some of the aforementioned business startup steps. But the pushing through of the process is what gives birth to the baby...business.
Post-Birth - The birthing of a baby and a business are joyous occasions. All the pain that was experienced in bringing them to life miraculously fades from memory. One’s excitement cannot be contained.
Growth - As a mother (parent), there is no greater satisfaction than the experience of seeing your child(ren) achieve key milestones. You celebrate the achievements with great joy and pride. The same is true for entrepreneurs. Reaching key milestones like the first paying customers, referral network naturally growing for your business, recognition from sector veterans...are great boosts for any startup business.
As a popular song goes, "I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now," is a sentiment I have regarding my children and my business. Just as was the case when I first had my children and along different periods of their growing years, I have had many sleepless nights as I work to build my business. I'm like the new mother, very protective of my business and focusing on every detail. My business is the new family member that everyone has to accept. My hope is that they will grow to love it just as much as I do. But of course it is hard for anyone to live a child more than a parent. I am confident that by this time next year my business will be excelling just as well as my children are now.