Yes, my baby and ShareYourCart were born and raised pretty much at the same time. That’s a hardcore experience, I’ll tell you that!
But it has also taught me a lot. It challenged me in so many ways! I have spent the last two years running, competing against myself. Since the moment I gave birth to my son, I probably didn’t feel even once really in peace with myself. I always wanted MORE, I always kept running. When my startup started growing, I was thrilled, but that also meant I had to sacrifice my child for it. When I spent blissful mornings with my incredible son, I felt tormented with guilt for the work I could have done but didn’t.
(because this article is about startups and babies, I won’t tell you about the biggest torment of them all: missing my husband, my pair, half of my soul).
Ok, so let’s get to the point: WTF do start-ups have to do with babies? I could never have imagined HOW MUCH growing a start-up resembles to raising a person. And yes, motherhood kindda helps me understand things better. But all the lean startup talk helps me understand life better.
- BIGGEST SIN: aiming for perfectionAs a mother, you want the best things for your child, you want to be the best mother, the person he laughs the most with, the person he loves the most, the person whom he respects the most, the queen of his Universe, you want to raise him to become the strongest man, to be the smartest kid, to be the happiest kid, to have fun, to…………. you want the world for him, and you expect from yourself to deliver it to him. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. You are not born a ‘mother’, you learn every single day how to become a mother. There is so much information and baby theory nowadays, that you cannot possibly apply it all and stay sane. It is humanly impossible to do EVERYTHING the best way possible. There IS no such thing as ‘the best way possible’. But you still want to…..you still torment over not being able to…. As an entrepreneur, you want to deliver the perfect product. You want to grow the perfect business. Hit the sky, leave your footprint in it. And there are so many theories, so many articles to read, so many stuff you have to learn. You were certainly not born ‘the perfect entrepreneur’. And even if they tell you ‘If you deliver the perfect product, it means you launched too late’, even so, you are always hurting about not being able to deliver perfection. It always hurts when customers start bitching about your imperfect MVP. There is always MORE you could have done. No matter how much you work, there is always MORE to do. SOLUTION: You must learn to settle with ‘the good enough’. You cure your perfectionism every day. You must learn to celebrate victories more and focus on imperfection less. You learn from expeience and do better next time. You choose what KPIs to focus on – you cannot have it all, silly girl! You re-learn every day to move on, live on.
- FOCUS ON VISION – boy, I love this one! In both growing a startup and raising a child, you cannot be successful without focusing on the bigger picture. It is darn easy to get lost in daily routine and urgent issues that come up, so tempting to choose the comfy roads or safe bets. You might even feel completely lost in so many opinions to chose from, so many advice and smart asses telling you what you should do. You cannot raise a good man if you are not focusing on the future. If you focus on the present, you teach him obedience. If you focus on the man you envision him to be, you focus on strenght and freedom of choice – which will make your task so much harder, but infinitely rewarding. When you successfully raise a child, it means that you envisioned how you would like the world to look like, and worked damn hard at making it happen. Must I stress again the importance of vision in a startup? In all the talks about failure in startups, the most frequent of them all was ‘we made decisions based on short term benefits’. Weather it’s about advice that you didn’t filter through the vision, about a big fish you chased and it drew you away from your vision, taking the roads that make you juicy for investors, not making sure they lead in the right direction….. all of it would have been obvious mistakes if seen with the vision filter.
- THE EASY WAY – always stay away from it! Why is it hard for me to do both business and motherhood? Because after working for more hours and with more commitment than at any job, I come home and want to give to my child as much as possible, educate him, make him laugh, teach him about the world, give him my love and my heart. And that requires more energy than I have left. So I am squeesing myself dry every day. I could take the easy way: let him hypnotised at cartoons and take a nap, watch TV and ignore his curiosity, feed him anything anytime to keep him happy, etc.. I am not saying I am perfect, I lost my hope for that, but I certainly didn’t take the easy way. Startups and ‘the easy way’? Well, anything that resembles even a bit ‘the easy way’ is highly probable to be distracting you from your vision.
- BREAKING YOUR LIMITS – every day if you want to do greatSounds like a great evolutionary thing … but is actually a lot of pain, cause in order to break them, you first need to face them. And facing new limits every day, learning to accept them and work on breaking them, is a lot of hard work. I strongly agree with those who say you are not a parent, you become a parent … more and more every day. Obviously, I was not born a CPO, either 🙂 And that’s a great settlement for the perfection seekers. When facing new limits every day, you kindda get the point: perfection is a myth. You can only aim your best …. and no, your best is not perfect. THERE’S NEVER ENOUGH …. of you, your work, your time.
- YOU WANT MORE – you never HAVE enough
- They are both kindda addictive. In your blood. You obsess over them, you fall in love and then hate them and then love them even more.
Now that I draw you a picture of why they look so much alike for me, let me tell you the one thing that makes them completely different:
YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO FAIL IN RAISING A BABY … but you are respected for failing fast in startups.