Before I was a mom, I used to think that the best time in my life to start a company would be before I had kids. But I never felt ready for it until I went on maternity leave. 3 months after giving birth to my first son I “gave birth” to my first startup. It turns out, motherhood was the best preparation for entrepreneurship that I could have asked for.
Women make great entrepreneurs. In fact, studies by the Kauffman Foundation and the Dow Jones company have shown that venture-backed companies led by a woman typically produce higher revenues (by 12%) and launch on a third less capital. Additionally, women-led companies are proven to be more resilient to financial and market crises than their male counterparts.
Why is it, then, that less than 10% of startup founders are women? You may think it is the lack of role models, professional network barriers and limited access to funding. While these are all true, I believe that the main reason is that most women are also mothers, and they are afraid that they can’t juggle motherhood with the intensive entrepreneurial life.
As a mother and an entrepreneur myself, I’m here to tell you this – being a mother actually qualifies you more to become a successful entrepreneur.
You heard me. Don’t let motherhood hold you back – I is actually an advantage much more than a disadvantage! Raising your own startup is hard, and so is being a mom. I believe that as mothers we acquire many of the skills that are essential as we become entrepreneurs.
Here are the top 5 skills I learned since having my first child that have helped me become an entrepreneur:
1) Work under pressure
You know what I’m talking about. It’s time to get out the front door and your kid can’t find his favorite T-shirt. He won’t wear anything else. You help him look for it and the baby starts screaming from the other room. You know that you’ll be late for your meeting and reach out to your phone to text your boss that you’ll be late, only to find a text from your babysitter that she’s sick and won’t make it today. Isn’t this a situation us moms face every day when dealing with our family? You’ll be surprised how similar that is to managing a company.
2) Negotiation skills
You think it’s hard selling your solution to a potential customer or negotiating a deal? Try selling vegetables to a stubborn 5 years old! Believe me, if you have kids, you must already be a great negotiator. Closing deals is a piece of cake for you.
3) Creativity and the ability to crowdsource
As an entrepreneur with minimum financial resources, the ability to come up with creative strategies as well as access other people’s knowledge, connections and resources is crucial. As a mom, you are used to asking your friends, family and even strangers for their help and advice, and they come through for you.
How did you find that awesome and cheap cleaner? You asked your community. How did you acquire your second hand baby equipment? You asked your community. As an entrepreneur, knowing how crowdsource is crucial. And, again, as a mom you have the upper hand.
4) Putting your ego aside
Entrepreneurs are smart, resourceful and hard working. However, knowing how awesome we are, we sometimes have BIG egos and can become arrogant, over-pushy and.. well, annoying.
As a mom and the person managing your family, you know that being smart is not always about being right. There are times to win an argument and times to back down if it serves your long-term interests. Being able to put your ego aside while managing your business can be crucial when you want to get people on your side.
5) Weathering the ups and downs
Many startup founders describe entrepreneurial life as a roller-coaster. One day you get a great review in the paper or a big business opportunity appears; and the next day an investor backs down or your system crashes. You go from flying high to wanting to throw it all away. I can see you smiling from behind your screen… And I know why: while a startup founder always has a choice, to give up and throw in the towel, a mother can never give up on her child.
Being a mother is similar – one day they make you a card at school and you are crazy in love with them, and the next day they trash the entire house just before your mother-in-law comes to visit. However, you would never “close them down” – even if you wanted to in your secret moments. So you learn to weather the storm with each new challenge that arises
If you ever considered starting your own venture, and were afraid that motherhood might hold you back – consider how your newfound skills will push you forward – and jump on the entrepreneurship train.
The writer is Yael Kochman, a mom +1 (and #2 is on the way!), an experienced entrepreneur and graduate of the first batch ever of Google campus for moms program. After leading her own startup she is now Head of Marketing at Roojoom – a successful startup revolutionizing the way we present & share information online. Follow her @yaelkochman.
Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 500,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.