By GGTW Co-founder Amanda Epp
I am a new mom of a little girl. We are about three months in, and it’s been an amazing, and of course difficult, adjustment so far. During one late night feeding with our little Lydia, I found this post on LinkedIn from Gabrielle McGee, in which she compares becoming a mom to launching a start-up. I was inspired and thought I would make my own comparisons on becoming a new mom while helping to build one of the fastest growing tech companies in Columbus, Ohio.
Be comfortable with pivoting. As your baby grows, you learn what she wants, likes, and needs, and you adjust accordingly. Just like in your business. In a start-up, it’s important to listen and look for signs of problems or growth potential, use data, analyze the industry changes and then pivot if needed. If something doesn’t work, try something new!
Structure and environment are critical to success. Humans need and want structure…babies included! Having a bedtime routine, and even a loose daytime schedule, has helped me balance my work and my role as a mom. As I helped build and scale a start-up, I found that structure is important too, especially as we added new people to the team. People want to know what you expect from them, where they fit in the organization, how to contribute, and how to improve. But, defining the environment you want to create and foster in the start-up is also important. The right environment can help guide decisions for building the team and lead to success in the same way that a warm, loving and patient environment helps nurture babies to grow into their best selves.
Communication is key. Was the baby fed, was she changed, is there a babysitter, did she have a goopy eye yesterday, too? My husband, my mom (our sitter right now), and I all need to communicate well to ensure the baby gets what she needs and she is healthy. We use a lot of different ways to communicate about the baby, not just talk and text, but also helpful apps. In a start-up–especially one that is growing quickly–communication is paramount, and the way your methods to communicate need to evolve, too. As the company gets bigger, you may think everyone is reading that all-staff email or communications that come through that shiny new app, but sprinkling in graphs and charts, and setting up live meetings and one-on-ones can ensure that everyone is hearing the right things in the way they need to receive them. There can never be too much communication!
Find amazing mentors and moms. I don’t know what I would do without an amazing support system of mentors in the community. It’s great to hear their experiences, and decide if what they went through or implemented is right for your start-up, too. It’s the same with being a mom (and it just so happens that a lot of my mentors are moms)! Hearing how they handle juggling both baby and business, even how they prepped for maternity leave, has been very helpful during my new chapter.
Ignore the critics. I’ll finish with this one because it is the most important. When you are launching a start-up or scaling one up, people will judge everything. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people question our company’s vision, goals, and even our talent decisions. And that is no different than being a mom! Everyone has their own opinion on parenting and raising a child. Ignore them. As long as you are keeping that baby happy and healthy, you are doing a good job. In the start-up world–and as a mom–I’ve had to learn to ignore the critics altogether, or just use their skepticism to fuel my progress!
Do you have any parallels from parenting that you see in your professional life? Drop us a line!