Some people think that you can’t have a family and run a business at the same time. It’s true that you need to have balance. There is some amount of time that you need to dedicate to your business, and you certainly need to dedicate time to your children. However, being a parent sets you up for success as an entrepreneur. Those who dare to do both find out that they can do both, and they do both well.
1. Different Personalities
Until someone becomes a parent, they’re rarely faced with dealing with different personalities in close parameters. Entrepreneurs love who they are, and that’s wonderful, but it isn’t until you deal with someone who is different than you that you learn how to effectively communicate in order to accomplish a common goal. Getting children to do anything requires some enticing.
You learn from children that everyone is inherently different, they have their own way of doing things and their brains process information in a different way. You come to appreciate and celebrate these differences. You realize how they’re an asset to you and what you do. The same holds true for anyone in business. The very people you make deals with, those you buy from and those you network with have their own unique personalities. You don’t brush them off for being different than you. You learn to work with them, and you can team up with those with certain skillsets because they have what it takes to help you get where you need to be.
2. Outside-The-Box Thinking
Perhaps you have heard the saying, “The world doesn’t reward perfectionists. It rewards those who get things done.” Being a parent means that you have to solve everyday problems in unconventional ways at times. You find ways to cut corners where you can to get things done. It’s not a huge deal if your child has a milkshake as an afternoon snack. You cared that your child needed something in their stomach that had some protein and calcium. Sure, you can’t do this every day, but there are times when you have to bend the rules and go with what’s best at that moment.
To run a business, you need to find a quick way to get things done that meets all of the requirements at that moment. This might mean hand-delivering a package to a client on your way to the dentist because they need to get it as soon as possible.
Business requires some persuasion. It always has. Children require persuasion too. Whether you want them to eat their broccoli, talk them out of a bad mood or how to effectively deal with a bully, you have to learn how to be persuasive. It’s easier said than done. Parents learn what makes their children tick, and they communicate in a way that coaxes their little minds to see the good, to be positive, to see how something they perceive as undesirable would actually benefit them.
Business is the same way. You’re not out to coax adults, but you want them to see the benefit of what you do. That is how you sell your product.
4. Dealing with the Unexpected
With kids, there are days, hours and minutes where the unexpected happens. It could be that the three-year-old stumbles across dog poop, gets it on them and the carpet, and you’re set to leave in 15 minutes. In such a crisis, you remember to keep cool, put aside the gross factor and focus on the essentials. You disrobe the toddler, get them clean, spray their clothes with pre-treater, spray on carpet cleaner, and vacuum it up in a matter of minutes. Being a parent helps you to roll with the punches.
Being an entrepreneur requires the same. You have to make things work when it seems very unlikely for them to work. Quick thinking is a must for dealing with life’s obstacles when running a business.
If everyone in history listened to nay-sayers, we wouldn’t have technology, civil rights or anything that we have today. It took someone willing to do what they dreamed despite everyone saying it couldn’t be done. Like entrepreneurs, parents often beat the odds that are stacked against them in order to believe in someone or something because their dream is big. They want their child to succeed. They don’t want their child to give up. Parents make amazing entrepreneurs because they know half the battle is in making up their mind to do something, and they don’t let anyone stand in their way.
When people get a routine down for themselves, they don’t have to plan as much. However, making sure that kids are well-cared for is a different story. It’s not enough that they need to eat three times a day. You have to consider that they’re probably not going to eat all of their meals and will want two or three “snacks” in between those meals. Those who aren’t parents scoff at such a scenario, but the parent, in knowing this all-too-well, gives their little one a smaller portion and takes their best backpack diaper bag along to bag up snacks ahead of time. Being a parent means planning every little thing out to ensure success. Business is the same. You have to know your cash flow status, inventory coming in, inventory going out, who you’re meeting with, where you’re driving, how much gasoline that takes and so much more. You can’t leave things to chance and just hope that they work out.
Plan all you want to, and change will invariably come into your life. You can plan in detail, but you also need a backup plan in case of change. Change can mean a blowout while taking an elementary student to school. A backup plan can mean that you have the phone number of another parent who can swoop by to pick up your child while you deal with the tire.
Being a parent teaches you invaluable lessons. If you’re not yet a parent, it’s not like you have to rush out to become one. If you are a parent, you’ll quickly understand how your little one has changed your life for the better and how much you have grown as a person learning from this little wonder. Don’t be afraid to tackle other things in life using the skills you’ve learned from being a parent.