Parenthood and entrepreneurship might seem like two completely different worlds, but they have more in common than you might think.
As a new dad, and founder of a service business, I’ve come to realize that these two seemingly unrelated experiences share many similarities; while parenting and running a business require different skill sets, the principles that make them successful are surprisingly similar.
Last July I became a dad of twins – yes, we’ve survived so far – and I was struck by how a decade working in the startup ecosystem almost prepared me for this transformational experience. The similarities between parenthood and entrepreneurship stem from the fact that both experiences are long-term investments that require commitment, patience, hard work, resilience and lots of communication.
Let’s dive into the four similarities between parenthood and entrepreneurship that can help us succeed in both areas.
1. Don’t do it alone.
Starting a business (like raising a child) can be overwhelming and it’s easy to feel like you’re in it alone. It’s also very easy to feel like you need to be a superhero and do it all by yourself. What I noticed is that both building a business and raising kids is more of a team success rather than a solo effort; whether it’s with a partner, family member, or hired help, having someone to share the load with is essential. As it’s been said, it takes a village.
2. Defend your sleep.
Building a marketing agency required me to work long hours – especially in the first year and half of being in business. This means a few important nuances get deprioritized, one being sleep; burning the midnight oil is tempting as you get your business off the ground. As a parent, sleepless nights are part of the journey. Lack of sleep definitely harms your productivity and decision-making abilities, it can also lead to lagging mental health. Prioritizing sleep isn’t always easy, but it’s essential for both your business and your family.
3. Fundamentals are key.
In both entrepreneurship and parenthood, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the latest trends and flashy ideas, but just as a startup needs a strong foundation of fundamental business principles to succeed, raising a child requires a focus on the basics: nutrition, safety, love, organized schedules etc. Without these essential building blocks, things quickly fall apart.
4. Focus on small wins.
When I launched my marketing agency I was extremely impatient and kept myself frustrated as things were not growing as fast as I wanted them to be. I have personally seen the same happening with my twins; driven by excitement, I wanted to start crawling as fast as they could. I wanted them to start chatting and have interactions with them. But just as it takes time to build a company, raising kids is a long-term game. Celebrating small wins along the way can help you stay motivated and on track, whether you’re hitting a business milestone or your child is reaching a developmental stage.
Parenthood and entrepreneurship might seem like vastly different experiences, but in my experience it was fun to notice how they actually share many commonalities. From building a strong team to prioritizing sleep and focusing on the fundamentals, these similarities can help entrepreneurs become better parents, and parents become better entrepreneurs.
So whether you’re changing a diaper or changing the world, remember that the skills you learn in one arena can benefit you in the other.
Author: Nelio Leone, CEO & Co-Founder, Urban Monks