Starting a company is hard. Having a baby is hard. Doing both at the same time is kind of insane.
But one major advantage of living in the Midwest is that founders have the ability to do both. In the coming months other founders will share their stories, experiences, and advice for having the best of both worlds.
In this post, we’ll talk about how your startup and your baby are more similar than you might think and lessons you can take away from both. As background, I started my first full-time company in 2014 and my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world earlier this year.
You’re always dealing with random s***.
Babies poop. A lot. You never know when, and you never know if it is a minor poop, or an outfit destroying blowout. And no matter what, when it happens, you have to deal with the mess.
In business, you’ll find poop too. Not real poop, that’d be horrible; but problems that arise that you must clean up. It doesn’t matter if you created the mess or if someone else did. As the founder, it is ultimately up to you to clean things up.
No matter how much you prepare, unexpected things will arise and you have to become comfortable working in the realm of the unknown.
You have to learn to defer to your partner and divide responsibilities.
The co-founder of my child (my wife, who is amazing) and I disagree on all kinds of things. I have no idea why my daughter needs a headband or fancy socks. But my wife does. And I quickly learned to defer to her on things where her expertise is greater than mine. And related to that, we’ve learned how to divide responsibilities well so that we both don’t get too worn out too quickly.
The same holds true in my business. My business partner and I disagree on all kinds of things. But we’ve learned how to work well together. We established certain decisions where she has final say and other decisions where my voice controls. And we do our best to avoid duplicating work so we can push our business forward.
Understanding the skill set of different people and learning to delegate responsibilities is critical to maintaining your sanity.
You’ll fall madly in love with your creation – to a fault.
My love for my daughter grows every day. I know I’d do anything for her. And I sacrifice a lot for her benefit. And the same goes for by business. When I created it I was really excited. But it was only after the first year or so that I began to truly appreciate what I created. And every time I close a new deal or achieve other milestones, I love it even more.
And while this is good, there is a dark side: I’m obsessed with both and it is easy to over-extended myself.
Learning to prioritize what was really important to me became vital. Some things had to be cut out of my schedule and I became hyper-focused on maximizing my time. Everyone has the same amount of time, so what really matters is how you use that time.
What about you?
Do you have a company and kids too? Share your opinions in the comments below. And if you want to share your stories, experiences, and advice for having the best of both worlds, email firstname.lastname@example.org