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As a new mum, you may have been thinking about setting up your own business. Not necessarily because you have too much leisure time, but because you want to be flexible in your job and perhaps make an old dream come true. It’s a little scary and you may regret you haven’t created your enterprise before becoming a mother, when you had more time for yourself? But having a baby and founding a start-up aren’t as different as you might think! Motherhood can actually be the best preparation for it. Here are five acquired skills mums can use to start their own business.
Being a mum means coping with unexpected events and performing life-saving measures in extreme conditions (think sleep deprivation). While you are helping your oldest child get dressed for school (he cannot find his favourite jeans) you see your toddler climbing an unstable chair, so jump into the kitchen to cradle his head before it meets the hard floor. Shortly after the phone rings and it’s the babysitter who calls to cancel at the last minute. You have no choice but to find another available childminder as you have an important meeting with your boss. This sounds familiar to a mum - you’d be surprised how similar this is to managing a company!
The day you get pregnant, you start getting five different opinions on everything, mostly unsolicited. This forces you to get comfortable trusting your own opinions because you have no choice, this is your responsibility. What pain relief will you use in childbirth? Will you breastfeed or use formula? How about those vaccines you keep hearing so much about, are they bad or necessary? The learning experience makes mums more self-confident and decisive, which is crucial to run a company – haven’t your children ever called you chief commander?
Mums are excellent negotiators. They are empathetic, they value other people’s talents and time, and have a defined purpose – their family’s well-being. But they also and mainly benefit from a wealth of experience. Negotiations they conduct on a daily basis go from finishing the broccolis and going to bed to more pocket money and playing video games. They have to learn how to convince a stubborn and unreasonable little person to do what they want, in any type of situation. A similar challenge occurs when they need to influence business partners to sign an agreement. With less drama.
Mums deal with problems all day long. Finding last minute childcare solutions, fixing toys and electronic equipment, explaining complex concepts with simple words or comforting a tearful child after an argument with a friend, you name it. This all may sound very instinctive but being able to solve issues in a timely fashion with creative solutions is very precious and helpful to undertake a life as an entrepreneur, who keep facing unknown problems.
Successful entrepreneurs know that the future of their business depends on making the right connections. Whether it is for fundraising, potential partnerships, sales, marketing or supply chain management; Contacts are vital for business growth. And the same applies to motherhood. Mums excel at creating and expanding their network as they are constantly reaching out to friends, family, and even strangers for their help and advice; and they usually come through.