30 Dec 2015

How Running A Business Is Like Having a Newborn

It's been 6 months since I started my business, Follow Me Media. People ask me how it's all going and to be honest, it's going really well. I'm still surprised and humbled by how well the business has taken off, but like any business owner would understand its a lot of hard work. I remember seeing a quote that read, "Entrepreneurs are people who quit their 9-5 to work 24/7". There's always misconceptions about running your own business, such as having the flexibility to work your own hours - ha, if working 16 hours a day every day is working your own hours. Or not having a boss to report to - but it means you're doing the work of every employee of a business, from book keeping, marketing, sales, customer service, graphic designer to CEO.

I certainly don't know everything there is about running a business, I'm definitely still learning, a lot. But I've come to realise there are so many comparisons of running a business, to raising a newborn such as:

Lack of Sleep
Just like a newborn gives you little sleep at the start, so does running a small business. Expect to be pulling in extra time into the business, doing business tasks you don't normally do in addition to your current lifestyle, which means no sleep for you. As I mentioned previously unless you've started a business with a someone else or group of people, it's all on you to do everything required to successfully run your business. You've got many hats to wear and limited time to do it all. 

Takes Up All of Your Attention
Your up most attention is required whilst watching a newborn. You got to watch the baby ensure it's safe, keep a look out for any changes, and engage with the baby to help with its development, this also applies to any business. You have to monitor and measure all your actions - you want to know what works and what doesn't. Keep a close tab of costs, watch your competitors, gather data and make sense of it all. Tweak your efforts, refine your work, try something new and do it all over again and again and again. I've always said the real parenting work happens after the pregnancy, likewise with a business. The work isn't getting your ducks in order to go live, it's after you've told everyone you've started a business. 

You Second Guess Everything 
Just like when I was elbow deep in regular breastfeeds, baby vomit, nappy changes and with a bored toddler throwing tantrums every 15 minutes, I started to question what I've gotten myself into. These same sentiments are felt when running a business. Those moments when everything seems so unachievable, or when there are so many tasks ahead of you, you start to question whether your great idea is worth all the effort and  whether you should continue.  

Trust Your Gut Instincts
Like with a newborn you'll hear a lot of advice, all with good intentions. Sometimes you hear stories or things from people and you start to think 'should I be doing it that way too?' - this also happens with running a business. You'll hear lots of advice, ideas thrown your way and learn what your competitors are doing, which makes you want to try everything everyone is saying or doing - you can easily get pulled into different directions, but you got to trust your inner voice. That voice will help you make decisions, keeps things in perspective, and one that needs to be louder than all the noise around you. 

So I guess what I'm realising is people who run a business and have newborns are crazy and are super human, cause I don't know how you can do both and still function! But in all seriousness what I've learnt from the short period of time I've since started running this business is, if you think you can't do it, or your fear is that it's going to be too hard, believe in yourself and just start because you can do it.

I guess that's also my encouragement to anyone thinking about starting anything. A side business, an idea, a family, taking up additional responsibilities, or taking on something risky - it seems impossible right now, I guarantee it's not going to be easy, but it's so going to be worth it and you're very capable of achieving it. 

What are some of the life skills comparisons can you identify that will help business owners with running their business? 
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