Having exhaustingly long days, bouts of insomnia and days that turn into weeks without you noticing? If this is what your life sounds like right now, you are probably a mother or an entrepreneur. Yes, starting a business is a lot like having a baby. The initial excitement, all the preparations, the fear before the launch, and once you launch, it is a totally different story. You learn that nothing, we repeat, nothing prepares you for what lay ahead of you. Motherhood is as adventurous a journey as entrepreneurship. So depending on which of them you embark on first rubs off on the other positively. Let’s look at how being a mother might just make you a better entrepreneur.
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As a mother, there are a thousand different things that need your attention. If you were to tackle them all together, none of them would get done. You need to make it a habit to prioritise what is most important for the baby and you and chart your day and activities accordingly. Also, there might be times when there are two or three that demand your attention simultaneously. An entrepreneur, too, is expected to be many things at once. She might have to step in to do work that is not always hers. Prioritising important tasks in a way that they are flexible enough to undergo yet another round of re-prioritisation is the way to go. This is not to say that those who are not mothers cannot multitask well, but it always helps if you have some practice, doesn’t it?
Convincing a three-year-old to eat his or her food is perhaps one of the most difficult negotiations you can be a part of. Mothers deal with such scenarios on a daily basis. If the straightforward way doesn’t work, they find creative ways to get things done – like making faces with veggies or even the sly veggie milkshakes! Mothers don’t lose hope when they hear no for an answer. Instead, most often they use their negotiation skills to find a way out of difficult situations. An entrepreneur, too, needs to face situations in which he or she needs to sell an idea to investors, convince customers and motivate employees to do what he or she envisions. Negotiation skills picked up at the dinner table will go a long way in such situations.
“Talking to people is the most useful and efficient way of finding new things,” said author Malcolm Gladwell, and mothers seem to be following his words to the T. Mothers love to seek advice from other moms who are in similar situations. They go out to create a community and share details about their experiences with each other. Most often, they are not shy to accept that they do not know how certain things are done and are eager to learn because they want to give the best to their babies. This is a quality that will be very beneficial when they start a business. As an entrepreneur, a good network of like-minded individuals is one of the biggest assets you can possess. Also, if you don’t have an ego when it comes to reaching out and asking for help or approaching people to seek advice, half your job gets done.
One look in a mother’s bag will explain this point best for you. They are prepared to face just about any emergency that might throw up. Mothers are always in unlimited supplies of Band-aids, change of clothes, sanitisers, snacks and tissues – you imagine it and they have it. They expect and are ready to face the worst-possible scenario. As an entrepreneur, it helps a great deal to be prepared for the unpredictable. Learning about all possible emergencies and arming up to face them is a strategy you will pick up as a mother.
Both as a mother and an entrepreneur, you will find that it works best to prioritise the things you cannot do without and delegate and seek help for the rest. It is best not to try and do everything yourself. It takes a lot of courage, dedication and hard work to be an entrepreneur and a parent, but at the end of the day it is just the beginning of a beautiful journey that you will be proud of in the years to come.