I was an entrepreneur before I became a mother, but for many women in my circle, the opposite is true; motherhood has forged the path to entrepreneurship. For some, the challenges of motherhood have been the inspiration behind their companies while for others, the flexibility allowed by being your own boss has been the key to managing a career and family. Whatever their reason for entering entrepreneurship, all agree that motherhood has provided them with the skills to help their business thrive.
Vanessa Jameson and Julie Pezzino, CEO and founder, respectively, of Covey, an app that helps moms connect with each other in real time, know very well the skills they garnered as mothers helped them take the plunge into entrepreneurship.
Motherhood identifies potential companies.
Motherhood caused Jameson and Pezzino to reflect upon what they needed most, and so they founded a company to help other moms navigate the challenges they faced as new mothers. The two women recognized their network of local moms was their most powerful parenting resource. “More and more these days, moms aren’t necessarily living near their extended family and they’re turning more towards social media and online connections and not getting those in person relationships,” says Jameson.
While in their moms group, Jameson and Pezzino decided to start Covey in order to allow other moms to have the same great experiences with local moms that they found. “I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur if it wasn’t for my daughter,” says Jameson.
Motherhood causes you to re-evaluate your time.
For Jameson, who left a full-time job with Google to start Covey, the balancing act of motherhood and career was one that could only be resolved through entrepreneurship. “[My daughter] caused me to completely re-evaluate how I was spending my time,” says Jameson. “If I was going to be away from her for even a minute, I wanted to really feel conviction about the reasoning that I was away and feel passion for the work that I was doing.”
For Pezzino, a flexible work schedule that entrepreneurship allowed was the key to achieving work-life balance as a mother.
Motherhood teaches you to prioritize.
“Being a parent forces you to prioritize your time and make sure you’re making the best use of your time,” says Jameson, who says she’s much more aware of how she’s spending each hour of the day since she became a mom, something that has also helped her in running a business efficiently.
Motherhood teaches you to multi-task.
Moms often have to wear different hats – as caregiver, house cleaner, chef, family nurse, driver…the list goes on. This is a skill entrepreneurs must also have. “As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to jump around and serve a lot of different functions in the business, especially when you’re starting out,” says Jameson.
Motherhood teaches emotional intelligence.
Although called a “soft skill”, emotional intelligence (being able to recognize different backgrounds and needs and meet people where they are) has been slowly rising to the forefront in the business world and is being upheld as an essential leadership skill. This is a skill that mothers hone early on in their young ones’ lives.
“I feel like the two-year-old is the extreme example of the intensity and struggles that can come from working in a team environment and particularly a team where a lot of different personalities are represented,” says Pezzino.
Motherhood prepares you for a business baby.
Many mothers who start their business after having a family often call their business their second baby. “The way that everything changes when you have a child is the same as how everything changes when you start a company,” says Pezzino. The lack of sleep, the constant craving for information to steer you in the right direction, learning what your parenting style is – all of this is the same process entrepreneurs go through in the early stages of the company. This is why Pezzino says “there’s nobody more equipped to start a business than a parent.”
Motherhood prepares you to seek advice.
“It’s true in entrepreneurship and in parenting that there is no rule book,” says Jameson. New moms are constantly on the lookout for advice from other moms. In much the same way that moms lean on other moms and seek advice from parenting groups is the same way that successful entrepreneurs have to seek advice from mentors in their early years.