Tag: Entrepreneur

Why Does Being a Parent Give You an Advantage in Business?

I wanted to reissue this post to add some additional information from John Warrillow. Check the link at the end of the article.

There is a truth to the thought that starting a business is a lot like having children:

  • There is never a perfect time to start
  • There is more to know then expected
  • You cannot guess how it will change your life

In Business, like having children, there is an overwhelming sense of love and satisfaction that comes when you have a business you are passionate about. Unlike having children you will have more control over how it operates when it is mature.

So why is being a parent an advantage to a business owner? Let’s take a look at the three items above that these two life courses have in common.

No Perfect Time to Start


Before I had children, in a time when I knew I was going to have children, I spent a lot of time trying to define (with my husband Brian) how my life needed to be to be able to manage a life with kids. I needed a job with some flexibility. I wanted to be in our own home. I had to be finished my degree. We wanted to have a combined income of a certain level. We wanted to have traveled together. Well, as you can see I had a list.

I’m very good at implementing, so most of my list was complete when my first child was born. What I could not believe was how much time I must have had before children. I mean really, what did I do with all our extra time? I should have been able to finish two degrees.


Before I started my first business I needed to know exactly how I was going to be paid, who was going to work with me, how I could get extra funding, and where my clients would come from. Everything I needed to know about business, or so I thought. There is so much to know about business that if you started down the learning path before you launched, you’d be in an MBA before you opened your doors and still you would not have enough information.

Somehow I was  able to take on an enormous amount of work I did not have before: Work that runs into family time or weekends and yet it still seems to fit into my life.

To completely understand your business you have to be in it – you have to start. Each business has its own personality (Brand) and friends (target market) and family (mentors and peers).

There is More to Know


I could not have guessed I would have had to know so much about child psychology, conflict resolution, mentoring, leadership, delegation, and diplomacy as a parent. Dealing with kids, their friends and their friend’s families, teachers, schools, sports clubs, etc. has been a huge ‘eye opener’ for me.


I could not have guessed I would have had to know so much about human psychology, conflict resolution, mentoring, leadership, delegation, and diplomacy as a business owner. On top of this I also must understand accounting and bookkeeping, sales, marketing, business development, and operations among other skills. I am truly grateful for the learning I received dealing with my children which helped me more quickly become a leader as a business owner.

Change Your Life

Child at desk - poised to take over the businessChildren

As I mentioned, I don’t know what I must have done with all my extra time before I had kids, but I can tell you I love the time I spend with them now. There is humour, growth, development, companionship, maturity, fun, tears, and love. There is a wonderful feeling of belonging, not only to my family but to the community my children tie me to.


Being in business also ties you to a community of peers, supporters, family, mentors, teachers, advisers, partners, affiliates, and clients. There are literally hundreds of opportunities to be connected in business in ways you could not necessarily have foreseen before you started. The more you give to these connections the more you will get back. It can be an extremely gratifying part of your business.

Growing a business is a life lesson. Be excited to learn. Learn from your children to apply to your business and learn from you business to be a better parent and leader. Remember to teach your kids the benefits of being an entrepreneur and model the way so that they will bring that enthusiasm to all they do in life. Who knows, maybe they will take over the business one day.

I wanted to re-issue this post because I just read another article that brings even more credence to this topic. Check out “Do Parents Make Better Startup Founders?” by John Warrillow.

Removing Your Obstacles to Growth

Do you want to make some real changes? Then start with removing your obstacles to growth.

What are your Obstacles?

For most of us there is so much going on in our lives that is it difficult to focus on what is important. Our obstacles are the things we have to do, or think we have to do, that fill our lives with distraction.

Have you ever felt like you just start one thing that could not be finished until you addressed another thing, which could not be started without something else, and so on? These are the distractions that take us in unproductive circles, never fully completing things we start. Here are a few things that may be a distraction to you in your business.

  • Desk is cluttered
  • Too much email
  • Calls that are not made
  • Documents to complete
  • Licensing or Incorporation papers to file
  • Work interfering with marketing
  • Marketing interfering with work
  • Doctor/Dentist appointments
  • Kids
  • A messy home
  • Health issues
  • Loneliness
  • Etc.

I work from a home office. For five years in my business I put up with this hideous wallpaper we inherited from the last owners. I could not stand it, but I knew to change it would be an investment in my time. I had to remove all my desks, cabinets, computers, and book shelves which were just too much to think about – so I put up with the wallpaper, year after year. What was really happening was that under the surface of my conscious thought was a constant reminder of an unfinished task.

This reminder took up a small part of my thought process and my emotional structure. Alone this would not be an issue, but on top of the other reminders that fill our lives when we are starting a business, getting educated, raising children, and working to keep a balance in our lives it can become an anvil on our growth.

How Can You Start Clearing a Path?

If you want to really start growing your business you need to first get rid of all these reminders of things you need to do. Here are a few things you can do to start reducing your mental checklist.

Create a List

Create a list of things that are your ‘incomplete reminders’. Put down everything that fills your mind with anguish or worry. List all the things that are part of your regular responsibility that you are having trouble managing. Anything that is an irritation to you is something that should be addressed.

In Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles, he describes a process for addressing your irritations. It is worth reading.

Set Aside Time

Don’t try to tackle every item on the list. If you have to do it yourself then work on one item at a time. If there is something that is part of your regular responsibility then make sure you have time that is set aside specifically for that task every day/week/month. Prioritize items so you can get the tasks complete that will allow you to tackle secondary tasks more easily.

You will never find time to look after these tasks because you have not found it so far, so set aside the time. Make it a small manageable time slot so you will not overwhelm yourself. Then, let go of the list and release the reminders from your mind. It will get done because you have set a priority to manage it. Any time you start thinking about it you can say to yourself, “oh yes, that is slated to be looked after”, and you won’t have to worry that it needs to get done.

Hire Someone

I met a business owner through BNI that loves to paint (Bev Morgan of Fresh Look Painting Services). She says she “makes love to your walls” and it is true. She is focused on the details and a beautiful result. To her, this is the most rewarding job ever.

I hired her to remove the wallpaper and paint my office. All I had to do was remove the items in the room. What I found was that moving the items in the office were not the stalling factor, it was completing the job. I was so excited to have someone else looking after the project that I joyfully cleared out my office and my kitchen too.

Now my office is a whole new workspace. A place of ease where I can be creative without stopping to panic about the work I kept putting off.

Get your kids to help

A much cherished mentor of mine, Donna Douglas, once said to me, “even a two year old can scrub a toilet. You just have to be accepting of the level of clean they can accomplish.” Her point was, if you start your kids young, when they want to help you, and you give them praise for the results they are capable of managing, then you will create kids that will help when they are asked.

You cannot run a business on your own and run a home on your own too. Get some buy-in from the rest of your family. If they are unwilling to help, then explain to them the level of “clean” you are capably of managing on your own and if they want something more then they will need to help you with that.

6 “Musts” that make a Great Entrepreneur

This is part of my presentation that I like to give to high school and college level students. I’m sharing it with you so you can see the qualities and experience that went into the business you have built.

Must be educated

OK now you’re thinking, “she’s nuts.” “I didn’t have to go to school to get an MBA to run my successful business.” True, but you did have to have some type of education; whether it was training, apprenticeship, experience, or a traditional education you definitely did not come into your business without skills and knowledge.

In the book, “The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind,” T. Harv Eker talks about failing over and over again at his jobs, but as the book eludes, he does become very wealthy.  His first big idea took a few thousand dollar investment to open a fitness store, which he grew into a chain in 2.5 years and sold for over a million dollars.  He attributes his skills and education to the jobs he had.  He explains how he viewed each job as a paid education to owning his own business.

Must see something where others do not

There are so many opportunities out there. The best ideas are usually fairly simple in concept and sometimes very hard to implement but it is the idea to do something in a way that no one else does it that allows a business to stand out and become successful.

Yesterday I had the privilege of being at an expo where Amanda Lang of CBC News was talking to Peter Aceto, the CEO of ING Direct Canada. When ING Direct Canada opened in 1997 people could not believe that there was a bank that had no physical presences. The founders of this bank knew there was a better way to ensure people could “save their money” and that was to cut out all the overhead. “How do you build a bank without a bank”, was the question they had to answer. As we know, it has become a very successful business model, started in Netherlands in 1991 and now in over 40 countries. It even has competitors, like Presidents Choice Financial launched in 1996. Someone saw the need and then looked for a solution that was not what everyone else was looking for.

Must be willing to Act

This is the key component of an entrepreneur. We have all heard someone say, “I could have done that,” or “my 10 year old could have done that better”, and yet they do not act on it. The entrepreneur can see the opportunity and does something about it to make the change. They are willing to take a chance, to struggle, to build, to create, to manage and to succeed or to fail.

Yesterday I also had the privilege hearing Amanda Lang of CBC News interview Sir Richard Branson. She asked him why he did what he did even after his businesses were successful. He explained that in the beginning of a business the owner need to be the figurehead or brand. The business, if built correctly, would become the brand as it grows. To do that he likes to “exercise his creativity” and he has acted on many of those creative moments. In his company Virgin there are over 300 branded companies. He explains that he does what he does so that “at the end of the year you hope to have enough money to pay the bills so you can go on creating.” Like many entrepreneurs he works to be able to create more and his simple answer to “why?” was “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

Must be willing to risk their own…

We all know of the very successful entrepreneurs like, Gates, Jobs, Brin & Page, Trump, etc. Our society holds entrepreneurs in high-esteem because what they do seems unreachable to the average person. But when these people started out they were just average people. They were scoffed at. They worked out of their homes or garages. They enlisted friends to help. They risked their own money to make things happen and they risked being known as a dreamer or unrealistic. The entrepreneur must risk a lot to find their path to success.

Must have unshakeable vision and dedication

It is very uncommon for a business to be instantly successful. It took Google many years to even make their first commercial product. Their vision was so clear they were able to get funding for their development even when they did not know how it was going to become commercially viable. They answered a need with their authentic passion and it paid off.

Must be willing to learn, grow, and change

An entrepreneur must be familiar with every position within their start-up, from bookkeeping to sales. To be able to understand how to communicate to suppliers, prospects, clients and past clients as well as your peers and competitors the entrepreneur has to take on a bigger role.

There is so much to learn about being an entrepreneur that as you go through the process of implementing you will be inundated with tonnes of new information, ways of thinking, and ideas. If you do not accept the opportunities to change, your business will not be able to make the changes it needs to grow and become successful.

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