There is almost no way to prepare yourself enough for a Squalling Infant. I can honestly say I never felt less competent than I did during the first few weeks of my daughter’s life. Despite my years (and years) of life experience I had no idea what to do. But I was in love with my new baby – it’s what kept me going during those first dark, dark days.
Starting a new business can feel the same way. You love your baby but it isn’t always an easy road. What should you expect when you’re expecting?
- Expect that everyone will offer you advice – and a whole lot of it will be wrong for you. Like parenting styles, everyone has their own management style. What works for someone else may not work for you. And every business has its own personality. When in doubt, follow your instincts – they’ve gotten you this far.
- Expect your identity to take a beating. Whether you are coming out of a corporate job, a similar small business or a completely different field you’ll need to define your new role and get comfortable in it. One great way to do this is networking. Talk to everyone – neighbors, friends, former co-workers – about your new role. Use positive language. Say “I own a business” not “I’m starting a business” and “I provide these services” not “I’m planning to provide these services.”
- Expect to step outside your comfort zone. Being the “parent” of a young business requires you to do things you never thought you’d do – maybe selling is not at the top of your list. Maybe you struggle to read your financial reports. Educate yourself and surround yourself with knowledgeable people who can support you.
The good news? This phase will pass. Then it’s on to dealing with your Unruly Toddler.
P.S. If your business is a Squalling Infant send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. If I use them I’ll feature your business.