Back in October of 2017, I published a vlog entitled ‘Building a business is like a pregnancy.”
You can check it out right here (it’s really short because I was at the dealership getting my car serviced!)
At that time, I just received word that a dear friend was 11 weeks pregnant. The wonderful news reminded me that one of the topics I have always wanted to talk about on my YouTube vlog series is the striking parallelism between building a business and a pregnancy.
When I vlogged about it, it really resonated with me because, as a marketing mom, I know the challenges presented by both life-changing situations. Fast-forward two months and I find it really funny that when I talked about the said topic, I didn’t know that I was pregnant, too.
Fast forward to the date of publishing this blog post and our new addition is here and thriving!
I know working moms who are successfully running their own businesses will agree with me when I say that building a business is like going through a difficult pregnancy or having your own baby. Building a business, just like a pregnancy, presents a host of daunting challenges and tasks.
And just like a pregnancy, starting a business is exhausting, time-consuming, and an emotional experience that’s eventually rewarding.
My first few years as a work-at-home marketing professional were the most challenging periods of my professional career.
In hindsight, that period certainly shared similarities with the first trimester of my very first pregnancy.
It was hard, draining, and messy.
There were days when I felt like I was in control of my business but that sense of control could disappear in an instant.
I was often high-strung and wasn’t very immune to feelings of helplessness when it certainly felt like I toiled night and day to grow my business.
You can see from this “blackmail” picture my husband took of me one night.
As he puts it I was burning the candle on both ends of the stick.
But guess what? After those first few trying years, after I laid the necessary groundwork, I was able to see my business grow – I took on countless marketing campaigns and successfully converted leads into tangible gains. (with a little help and training from my mentors of course!)
Looking back, after my rocky start, I experienced what most successful business owners describe as the calm before the storm, a period of slow yet steady growth that’s very much like what a pregnant woman experiences during her second trimester.
There are challenges but they are minor and definitely more manageable compared to what I went through the preceding period.
If the first few years were a roller coaster ride, then this was a beach escapade or a river cruise.
The last phase of building a business is where I’m currently at right now.
Very much like the last trimester of a woman’s pregnancy, it is a period of exponential growth.
As my business grows, I have to work harder to address the challenges – market demands, goal setting, allocating funds for a bigger budget, ensuring that the right systems are in place, innovating, acquiring the right KSAs (knowledge, skills, and attitudes, and preparing for unforeseen changes.
I am always ready to restructure or reorganize to accommodate major changes and maintain equilibrium or balance.
Even if I have successfully built it from scratch and it is strong enough to sustain itself, I have to care for it and nurture it because I cannot afford to allow it to stagnate.
Now, why am I saying this? I don’t mean to scare those stay-at-home moms who are planning to start their own businesses, online or offline.
In fact, I want to help them prepare for the worst, build confidence and resiliency for the challenging times that lie ahead.
Because contrary to what some people might say, building one’s own business is not like a honeymoon.
One can’t expect bright, sunny days all the time.
It entails long hours of consistent, hard work before fruitful gains can be enjoyed.
And, there’s always the need to capitalize on its long-term potential. The sense of commitment should always be there.
So if you’re planning on starting a business, here are few things you should remember:
Just like a pregnancy, it can be REALLY difficult.
Success only comes to those who try really hard and if you want to build your business, prepare yourself to do flex your muscles and do some serious work.
It is not for people who want to maintain a laid-back, easygoing lifestyle.
You will lose precious hours of sleep but it will be all worth it in the end.
Just like a pregnancy, you need a strong support system.
If you’re just starting out, know that it is okay to ask for help.
That is what coaches and mentors are for.
You are not expected to know everything at once so it is really helpful to have someone who will give you just the right amount of push or nudge in the right direction.
If your business idea can’t be implemented with a one-woman team, do not hesitate to delegate by hiring the right people.
Remember, people are your business’ best assets.
The first few years of running your business is an emotional, bumpy ride so it will help you greatly if you have someone to help ease the workload.
Just like a pregnancy, you need to have patience.
You can’t expect to rush things.
The biggest mistake first-time entrepreneurs can make is dive into the business thinking they can start from scratch, grow it from the bottom up, and earn loads of money in less than a year.
While there are those who hit it big in a few months, it is more prudent to prepare yourself for months or even years of hard work.
Turning your goals into reality entails consistent work.
Stay committed to the goals you formulated when you started your business to achieve success.
I talk a little bit about this especially as it relates to building your brand on social media right here:
Just like a pregnancy, you need to learn how to take care of yourself.
Remember when I mentioned that people are your best assets?
If you are a one-woman team, you are your best asset.
Therefore, you need to take care of yourself in order to perform 100%.
Manage your time and stress well so that you don’t burn yourself out.
Yes, building your own business requires hard work but that doesn’t mean you don’t won’t ever get that much-need rest and sleep.
Think of your business like a growing baby inside a mother’s womb during pregnancy.
In order for the baby to stay healthy and survive, the mother needs to stay healthy.
Therefore, if you want your business to grow, you need to be fully involved. Develop healthy habits and equip yourself with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
Just like a pregnancy, you have to be aware of various signs.
A woman realizes that she is pregnant by recognizing the signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
Throughout her pregnancy, she too, must be aware of danger signs or warning flags that could signal complications.
This also holds true for business endeavors.
When building your business, you need to take heed of red flags that could potentially erupt into a full-blown problem.
Be cognizant of early cues that will help you adjust your business and marketing strategies accordingly. Being aware gives you the opportunity to be flexible and provides more time for you to prepare.
While it is true that building a business may involve backbreaking work, don’t give up.
Successful entrepreneurs almost always come very close to quitting before hitting it big.
So dream on, pursue that brilliant business idea, and soon, you will reap the fruits of your hard work.
Are you trying to turn around a struggling home-based business? Let me teach you my best strategies. Book a free business coaching session today and together let’s figure out what’s wrong and find ways to finally get your business off the ground!