My blogosphere musings have been lacking the last 2 months. A lot of other things have been lacking the last few months as well. Quality time with my family and friends, my patience (where did that go?), my self-care (haircut…don’t know how long its been and eyebrows – yikes), my wardrobe (atrocious), my reading (none), my fun (uhh…what’s that…), my sanity (hahahaha right). So what’s been eating up my time and energy?
My new baby!
But not a cute, snuggly, soft, warm human baby.
More like a time-eating, soul-testing, freaking-DO-or-DIE kind of baby called:
A NEW BUSINESS START UP!
In the course of 1 calendar year, my husband and I had our first child and launched 2 businesses. So essentially we feel like we have birthed 3 children in 1 year. Yikes, that means we are heading into the toddler years of all of them. (!!!!!)
Here are a few things I’ve experienced over the last year…
10 ways that starting a new business is like having a baby:
1.) The last 10% of launch required more energy than the first 90%. Actually the founder of Etsy is credited with a quote like that about business, but it pretty much applies to pregnancy as well! Pregnancy is long and not always easy…but then labor comes and NOW the real work begins. I labored for almost a full 48 hours with our son – that was some serious work. It was a natural labor for 46 of those hours – and my calves were SO tender to the touch the next day from bouncing up and down during constant contractions. Labor is called labor for a reason YO.
2.) You think, “once it’s here, you’ll have so much more time to relax.” WRONG! You come home from the hospital, and yes people come to help you for a bit. But challenges you didn’t really consider much are now smacking you in the face. Nursing on demand, health issues with baby, how to freaking get some sleep, healing your body, dealing with everyone wanting a piece of your time. Pretty much the same truth in business. There is a good saying and book “What got you here, won’t get you there.” To me, that means you’re always faced with new challenges, once you conquer one – you don’t simply relish in the fact that you’ve accomplished it – it’s immediately onto new challenges. Game on.
3.) You get messy, physically. Opening a business (unless you have buckets of start up funds) requires LOTS of ‘dirty work.’ Working out of a sweaty garage for 8 months, schlepping and laying flooring on Thanksgiving, cutting yourself multiple times, cleaning up years of junk from a nasty old building, painting, more painting. The phrase “We put our blood, sweat, and tears into it” has never rang more true! All 3 of those happen, all the time. With a new baby – you’ve got to have a load of laundry running at all times with the amount of projectile spit up, newborn poop, your own healing (you know what I mean!), leaking boobs, and drool that happen.
4.) You make up stupid songs to get you through. When my mother and I were laying flooring, we found a system to laying them that worked and it went “Lock, lay, shimmy-shimmy, tap-tap-tap.” It became our theme song, we got delirious singing it. We still reference it today whenever something sparks it. And any parent is familiar with the “I’ll sing about anything song.” A favorite in our house is “Where are your f-ing shoes, your little tiny shoes and your little tiny socks?”
5.) You find out what you’re made of. Mainly because you have no choice. You have higher highs and lower lows than you’ve ever experienced. If you don’t scrape your flattened self up off the floor everyday and remember WHY you do what you do…you’ll be lost. Business and new babies give you the OPPORTUNITY to see what you’re made of!
6.) It’s a cyclical game. Business and parenting gets completely, utterly, insanely overwhelming at times – no matter how ‘on it’ you are. However, life is cyclical – and I have faith that it’ll always circle back around to being ok. So, if you’re anything like me – your cycle goes like this.
1) Ya, we got this. Woot woot. Let’s plan some stuff.
2) Oh snap, I am SO on top of my game, yo! Execute mode = ON.
3) I’ve got this, bring more on! RAWWWW.
4) Um, no freaking way. No way I can ever get this stuff done. But let’s plow through anyway. Where’s the coffee?
5) Complete paralysis, too much too handle means I can’t even start on 1 thing. Tears.
6) White flag goes up and I call in the troops for help – call mom.
7.) I realize I need a nap, a good meal, a hug, and to talk myself back into #1 remembering that I am in control of my day, business, and children.
7.) Everyone will give you unsolicited advice. Completely parallel worlds here. People who have never opened, ran, created, or even worked in a certain business will give you advice. Unsolicited, and of course – with good intentions. They have a GREAT marketing idea for you – they know JUST what product you should offer – they know EXACTLY how to engage your employees best. Just like the lady in target who tells you how to deal with your toddler melt down, thanks lady but you don’t know that he hasn’t had a nap today and no tactic will work! Just let me get my laundry detergent and peace out.
My personal take on advice is…I’ll listen and thank you for sharing. But I don’t really listen WELL or take it into consideration unless I know you’re giving it from a place of experience. I don’t want to learn marketing from the neighborhood hot dog stand. I want to learn it from someone who is crushing it and I’m familiar with their work and actually LIKE it. I don’t want to learn potty training from a pediatrician that doesn’t have kids yet. I want to learn it from the mom who raised 2 sets of twins and had them potty trained in a weekend before they were 2.
8.) It takes a village. I’m uber stubborn and the very last thing I like to do (after go to the doctor which is funny because that’s my background…) is to ask for help and accept it. Ugh, even writing that makes me cringe. In parenting, you have to ask for help. In business, you have to ask for help. I’m working on this….a LOT. On the flip side of that, asking isn’t enough – you have to accept the help as well. Lots of folks may be on your side and asking to help.
9.) You have to let go, to grow. This sucks for control freaks like myself. I have ridiculously high standards, and no one will EVER raise your child or run your business with the care, quality, and exact angle that you will. BUT you will also never grow if you don’t let go. If someone can do a certain job 80% as well as you can, and it frees up time for you to do your unique thing – you’ve got to give it up mama!
10.) The amount of LOVE you have towards it, is immeasurable. It’s cliche and oh, so true. Anything you’ve worked really, really, reaaaally hard on – you love and are so proud of. It’s your world!! If you build a business in something that authentically helps others and you know their world is better for it – then you should be proud. If you raise well behaved, creative, kind, giving, loving, innovative children – you should be proud. My sister shared a quote with me that said ‘You are my greatest adventure” in reference to her second ‘spirited’ daughter. It rings true for business as well.
My shameless plugs for the local Dayton mama bears (gotta hustle where you can, right??) are: