Have children? This will help not hinder any entrepreneurial endeavours
Contrary to popular belief, devoting your time to caring for your children does not hinder your ability to run your own business. In fact, being a mother-figure will stand you in good stead for the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship. Below, Danielle Bekker, our female founder, explains how…
Last year I wrote an article about the under-representation of female entrepreneurs in business ownership.
One of the main barriers is a ‘perceived ability gap’ that females have relative to their male counterparts – they think they just cannot do it. Women need to have confidence in their ability to start their own businesses. The term ‘mumpreneur’ hinders rather than helps. The success of a ‘mumpreneur’ is judged by her ability to juggle family life and earn an income NOT on the business she has created.
I have come to realise that there is very little difference between running your own business and having children. The experience provides female entrepreneurs (who happen to be mothers) with a head start on what to expect and means they bring a unique set of life experiences to the businesses they run. Here are some of the similarities we found.
Plans are made to be broken
New parents all go through the thought process of ‘this baby won’t change my life’. Our best laid plans are thrown away within a few weeks as reality hits home. Similarly, no business goes according to plan. With a dose of pragmatism and flexibility new plans and directions are constantly being set.
It consumes every thought
I was a loyal and committed employee who ‘went the extra mile’. This dedication was nothing compared to running of my own business! I think about the business constantly – from waking up to going to bed and everything in between. This is no different to the way we worry and think about our children – will they have friends? what will they study? how can we help them? Just like children our own businesses consume a lot of mental and emotional energy (positive and negative).
You experience the highs and lows of the business as though they were your own
When I was younger and did gymnastics, I made a habit of falling off the beam during competitions. Only now, watching my own daughter perform her gymnastics routines, do I appreciate the range of emotions my parents must have experienced whilst watching me. In the same way, any highs or lows in the business are personal. Just like your own child, don’t let anyone say anything negative!
Time flies by and stands still simultaneously
Trying to build a brand and a business is like nurturing and investing in your child. It seems to be happen so slowly and suddenly you look back and your teenager is ready to leave home. In much the same way, you invest time and energy into your own business which seems to move forward at a glacial pace. Then you glance up to realise the business bears almost no resemblance to what it was at the start and you hope that all the time and effort you have invested have paid off.
You need buckets of luck and a willingness to make mistakes
Our job as a mother is to guide our children to success. We invest vast amounts of time, energy, emotion and effort (whilst making mistakes along the way) to achieve this. Even if the parenting ‘fundamentals’ are in place there is still a lot of luck involved as to how their lives will ultimately unfold. Chance meetings, a supportive boss, meeting a partner can all alter the course of their future and over which we have no control. In much the same way the focus in your own business is to make sure all the fundamentals are in place and to grab the opportunities as they present themselves.
So, for all the mothers out there living with all the emotions of raising your children: running your own business is pretty much the same – children just happen to be a little more difficult on occasion and seem to cost more money!
If you are a mother thinking of starting your own business but are not sure what to expect: don’t worry, you have done it already. The question is ‘are you ready for an additional rather needy “child” to be added into the mix?’.