Wanting to launch a new business? Exhausted figuring out how to keep family life on track? So are we! Here are five tips that are working for us and that we hope make your journey a bit smoother:
1. Tackle the Gaps with Gusto
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain. We’ve worked with startups and global corporations for years, and the thrill of the tech sector is that there is always an area of expertise applied to inventing something that doesn’t yet exist. To succeed, being honest about areas of “ignorance” is key. For our venture, Not Parent Approved, a kid’s card game we created in desperation to get our kids off their screens without a fit, we are deep in the Operations stage and are networking with advisors as we learn the difference between “freight forwarding” and “fulfillment!” We are veterans in some areas like digital and marketing yet we are newbies in others. Being a newbie is uncomfortable but it’s really important to tackle these areas with honesty and gusto. We’ve seen so many founders and CEOs tank promising endeavors with hubris by not having the humility to know what they don’t know.
2. Modeling Entrepreneurship Prepares Your Kids for THEIR Future
They say (who are THEY by the way?) that in parenting, kids model your actions not words. Founding a business while juggling a demanding income-producing career with parenting concierge services like play-dates and homework supervision is the new normal. A traditional career where people work for a stable company for thirty years and earn a paycheck is now a rare scenario. Rather than feel guilty or completely stressed out about the time you are investing in your new business and the time trade-offs that often requires, we share with our kids stories and real-time moments of triumph, teamwork, frustration and failure. Yes, FAILURE. Research is showing that GRIT not self-esteem is the key to being a successful adult. If we can model how our aspirations sometimes fail to hit the mark and that this is an organic part of life, hopefully this can better prepare our kids to face their own roadblocks.
3. “Hire” Your Kids
We’ve given our kids the titles of CKO (Chief Kid Officers), granted it’s a little easier when you’re developing a kid’s card game, but the purpose is truly to engage them in the process. The hours spent on launching a new endeavor can often make your loved ones feel excluded or that your focus on them has diminished. From assisting us pick out the best photos for our website, to helping us find and set aside the items we need to bring to tradeshows, bringing your kids into the process helps them share in your aspirations, develop entrepreneurial skill sets and perhaps most importantly, feel that they are part of the team invested in the success of the business which will benefit the family.
4. Bootstrap It: Trade Your Talents
My business partner is exceptional at UX design and product strategy. She’s built websites “pro-bono” for a handful of friends and colleague. This generosity paid off for us in getting some amazing copy-writing support and professional photography. I have traded public relations counsel to get retail introductions and video production services. When you’re bootstrapping it, it’s imperative to be creative in ways you can make every minute and dollar stretch. It’s critical to weigh the opportunity costs of how you spend your time, but it’s smart business to trade your time for valuable services from quality professionals rather than diminish your cash flow.
5. Find the Fun in the Frazzle
Let’s face it; launching a new business, delivering exceptional work for your current clients or boss while being a present parent is a Herculean effort. This is not going to be pretty. Instead of beating yourself up, it’s important to embrace the mess and frazzle. You might have to Face-time a bedtime story to your kids while you’re on a business trip, be late to a game because you promised home made cookies and barely made it to the market to pick up non-organic Chips Ahoy. Perfectionism is poison and if we can have a sense of humor about not getting it right, that might be the best aspiration of all.