At first glance the title is perplexing, but starting two separate businesses while each of our children were born gives me some credibility to speak on this subject. The timing seems illogical, but if you’re an action-oriented person like myself, ideas only become reality if executed quickly. Here are my thoughts why juggling a newborn and a startup makes sense:
1) Efficiency – Time is fleeting as a new parent. Newborns need their parents to install routines even though initially they resist them. Transition to entrepreneurship and you can never have enough time in the day to accomplish your dreams. As a new parent you could be working on your business plan in the dark while baby is sleeping. Since you’re up from the crying it’s a perfect time to research and e-mail on your mobile phone. Meetings are a perfect excuse to find extra help so you can make progress on your business while gaining some rest and sanity from your little one at home. Parenthood forces you to be creative when it comes to spending your time. The lack of free time means you’re wiser with the little you have. Nothing makes you hyper-focused more than the fear of your baby waking up from a nap.
2) Parallels to Learning on the Fly – The most unprepared you’ll feel as a parent is when you arrive home from the hospital. The most unprepared you’ll feel during launching a business is when you start. Both responsibilities can be studied, but nothing is a substitute for experience. Parenting is about trial and error and you only get better by doing it. That’s very similar to the success rate of starting a business. First time owners have a less than 30% chance for success, but if you keep trying your chances increase on the next business. The message here isn’t to have 5+ kids, but to understand that both parenthood and entrepreneurship are about adapting and pivoting accordingly. The more rigid you are in your thinking, the harder it will be to thrive in today’s changing market. Commit to a learning mentality and you’ll figure out what to do next.
3) Teaches Kids Entrepreneurship – When my kids get older I’m going to tell them we started a business when they were born. Whether it’s a success or failure isn’t as important as following your dreams. Skill sets such as: sales, networking and communication aren’t taught in school. They are taught in the “streets.” We are moving towards an economy where it will be mandatory to have a side hustle, so age shouldn’t be a factor when experiencing entrepreneurship. My wife and I have talked several times about giving our children their “college fund” for school or starting their own business. As college graduates, we don’t de-value education, but we also believe it doesn’t guarantee you anything either. What our kids decide to do when they grow up is their decision. We just feel our job is to provide them with choices.
Becoming a new parent may be the most inopportune time to launch a business, but then again…you’ll never know until you try.