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5 Ways building a business is like having a baby

Jillian Darlington, CEO and founder of the MomCo app. MomCo was inspired by my own life experiences. I believe having the support of mom friends is so important to the well-being of moms. MomCo is a geolocation based social networking ap...

Starting my own business was like having a new baby again

Are you a mom or an entrepreneur? Maybe you are both like me. If you answered yes to either, I know you are going to understand where I am coming from. As the CEO of a startup, a lot of people ask me what my daily life is like. I tell them I feel like I have a newborn baby all over again. Building a business is a lot like having a baby.

1. You get advice from everyone

As soon as you start telling people you are pregnant, everyone wants to give you advice! Do this, don’t do that, eat this, don’t eat that, buy this, don’t buy that — it never stops! Some of it is good, some of it is total garbage. You have to decide what is best for you and your baby. Trust your instincts!  

Starting a business invites the same sort of conversations. You will get lots of advice and ideas from others, but you need to decide what is best for your company.  Some people might have more experience in your industry, but no one can see your vision clearer than you can.

2. You are sleep deprived

Oh, the sleep deprivation! It is literally a form of torture. The first few weeks with a newborn are like nothing you have ever experienced before. Once you become a mom, getting four hours of consecutive sleep is a major victory.

Entrepreneurs are also very familiar with this kind sleep deprivation. I work from the minute I wake up until the minute I fall asleep. This usually happens on the couch before I have washed my face or brushed my teeth. I know, it’s a very glamorous life I lead. I also can’t remember the last time I slept through the night because sometimes at 3 a.m. either inspiration or my phone chiming wakes me from a deep sleep. Unfortunately, it’s usually my phone because I sleep with it next to my head. I think I suffer from severe mobile device separation anxiety, and I bet you can relate.

3. It is all you can think and talk about 

As soon as you find out your pregnant, it is the only thing on your mind.  You are excited. You are scared. You want to talk about it to anyone who will listen. You want to connect with others who you feel can prepare you for what is about to happen. FYI, no one can fully prepare you for what is about to happen, no matter how much they know. Once the baby comes, it goes to a whole new level. That’s when the pictures start and social media take on a whole new meaning. This is mainly because it is your main line to the outside world.

Plus, in your opinion, you did just have the most beautiful child in the world. Everything they do is adorable and must be shared! You also no longer find people who can’t relate to what you are going through remotely interesting and they usually feel the same way about when you start talking about things they have no clue about. Poop for example. When did you ever have a 20-minute conversation about poop before you had a child? Never! This becomes pretty darn common once you start cleaning it a few times a day.

This is absolutely the same for an entrepreneur who is trying to get their startup off the ground. When something exciting happens or you get featured in an article, you must immediately share it with the world. I am pretty sure that my close friends and family are over hearing about MomCo.

4. You are broke

Diapers, formula, baby products and gear: having kids is expensive! Let’s face it, the cute clothes and shoes you will be spending your money on for the next few years are not going to be for you. You put off doing or buying anything for yourself to make sure your kiddo is well taken care of.

Entrepreneurs understand. Most entrepreneurs are crazy enough to leave cushy corporate jobs with 401Ks and health insurance to follow their dreams. You go from saving for vacations to worrying about how you are going to pay your rent, phone bill and car payments. You sacrifice and do everything you can to stay afloat until you can find investors to fund your dream. Even after it is funded, you will want to put money back into your business to make it grow rather than your personal bank account. Simply put, there is no U in Mom or CEO.

5. You are on an emotional roller coaster

Having a baby brings on lots of emotions. One minute, you are crying because you can’t find a way to soothe your teething baby and you haven’t slept in days; the next minute, you are overwhelmed with joy the first time you hear the word, “Mama.” The emotions never stop and they come in extremes!

The same goes for entrepreneurs. You are told that you are doomed to fail in one meeting, then told that you are a genius in the next. You are overjoyed when you are featured on Today but then smacked down to reality when all the traction makes your app crash. The highs are just so high and the lows are just so low when you are dealing with something you love so much.

As you can see, there are a lot of similarities between having a baby and a building a business. I launched the MomCo app in April, 2015, and I barely recognize my world anymore because it has changed so much over the past eight months. The last time this happened was eight years ago, when I became a mother. I always say that being a mom is the greatest adventure you can ever go on, but being the CEO of a startup is a close second. There are ups and downs. It’s stressful and emotionally draining, but after being pregnant and raising a child, I feel we women can handle anything the business world can throw at us.

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