As an entrepreneur of a startup, my life over the past year has been crazy! When a close friend asked me the other day “What do you do all day?” I realized that some people don’t really understand what this crazy life is like. To let people know what I have been going through, I came up with an analogy that they can all relate to. So here it is…Starting a business is a lot like having a baby.
As soon as you are told that you are pregnant, what starts to happen? Both current parents and even people that aren’t parents start to give you advice. Either way, you appreciate that people care and want to help. My son is 7 and I still get advice. Some of it you will agree with, some of it you won’t. You decide what is best for you and your baby. Trust your instincts! Same thing with starting a business, you will get advice from everyone. Especially in investor meetings. That’s like getting parenting advice from someone who has never even met your child. You get really good at smiling and nodding.
Oh the sleep deprivation! New moms know it too well. So do entrepreneurs. You work from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep, but you do it because your To-Do list never ends. You realize that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel one day and you will have a chance to sleep again in the future.
As a new mom, you research everything. Google becomes one of your best friends. What new mom hasn’t googled about the color of baby poop? The answer is None. We all have done it! You read every chapter of “What to Expect.” You become part of Facebook groups online, you start following parenting related websites, you research the best products, etc. This is the same for entrepreneurs. You are constantly doing research regarding your industry because every month you are required to master a new skill set.
Diapers, formula, baby classes, baby products…let’s face it, having kids is expensive. You end up putting off buying things for yourself in order to provide for your baby. You may have loved clothes before and now sacrifice by not buying those $125 designer jeans in order to sign your baby up for baby sign language classes. Likewise for an entrepreneur. You will sacrifice that annual trip to Cabo to buy a laser printer for your business. That is a true story! I just bought a new fancy printer last week and didn’t get to go to Cabo with my friends. You do everything you can to stay afloat until you can find investors to fund your dream. And even after it is funded, you will want to put money back into your business to make it grow rather than your personal bank account. I once fell in love with a dress, but all I could think of was how much marketing I could do with the money it was going to cost. There is no U in Mom or CEO.
One minute you are laughing at your baby dancing, the next you are crying because you can’t find a way to soothe your teething baby. You are worrying that you will cut his finger when you cut his finger nails, you are so proud for his first steps, you are overwhelmed with joy the first time you hear the word “Mama.” The emotions never stop! The same goes for entrepreneurs. One day can be the worst day of your life, the next can be the greatest. You are excited when a meeting goes well with an investor, you worry that you will run out of money, you are overjoyed when you meet with another company that makes the perfect strategic partner, you are frustrated when you can’t figure out why you can’t update the font on the backend of your website, and so on.
When you become a mom, you will still try to keep your friends that don’t have kids, but you will yearn for connection with other moms that are going through the same thing. Both for yourself and to find other babies for your baby to play with. These moms will be there for you in time of need and to share experiences with. Pretty soon your old friends will stop calling because all you want to talk about is your baby. Same for an entrepreneur. You will want to find other people that understand what you are going through, whom you can learn from, and don’t mind talking about metrics all night long.
When you have a baby, it is by far the most important thing in your life. It gives you a new purpose. You can’t imagine your life without it and you will make any sacrifice or do anything to help your baby grow and thrive. Same for an entrepreneur. Your business is your baby. You put everything into it and won’t stop until it succeeds. Sometimes you want to pull your hair out, but there’s also nothing else in the world that is more fulfilling than creating and nurturing something that you made out of love and passion.
So there you have it. Hope this gave you a little perspective into my life and the life of an entrepreneur. My business truly is like my baby. I can’t wait to see the MomCo app grow and thrive. I always say being a mom is the greatest adventure you can go on, but being the CEO of a startup is a close second. There are ups and downs. It’s stressful and emotionally draining, but after being the mom of a newborn, you really can handle anything the business world can throw at you.
~Jillian Darlington, CEO of the MomCo App