Just as we teach our children, they teach us. It is an old saying, but has a lot of truth in it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your children impart knowledge to you. It means that, by taking care of them and helping them grow, we are building and practicing skills that make us better parents. Believe it or not, there are a surprising number of parenting skills and techniques that can actually prove invaluable when it comes to starting or grown your own business. Read on for some of my favorite ways that parenting can teach you to be a better business owner and entrepreneur.
- Treat others as you would like to be treated
It is the golden rule for a reason. Children need to learn empathy for others, they need to learn to put themselves in another person’s shoes. By teaching them that you should always treat someone the same way you would like to be treated, you are imparting a lesson that will serve them well throughout their lives. I is a lesson that can serve you too.Customer service can be difficult, especially when you are the only employee. No matter how unreasonable a complaint or problem from a customer, try to put yourself in their shoes. Treat them with respect and understanding. By treating your customers the same as you would want to be treated as a customer, you will build an excellent sense of customer service and create a culture of customers that come back to you again and again.
- Give them choices, but not too many
Being spoiled for choice is a real thing. Years and years ago, do you remember going to the video store? It could take you a solid half hour or more just to pick out a movie. That is because of the thousands of films that lined the walls. It is difficult to narrow something down when you have so many options. Children are the exact same. If you offer them unlimited choices, they can feel overwhelmed. The solution as a parent is to narrow down their selection for them and then let them chose from a few possible options. Offer them either grape juice or orange juice. Don’t offer them every liquid at the grocery store.Once again, it is the same when working with customers. Instead of just asking them what they want and leaving them to figure that out for themselves, give them some options and ideas that you are comfortable with. If your clients know what their options are, it will be much easier for them to chose between them and will make your life much easier too.
- Me time is important time
Taking care of your kids can be an all-consuming activity. They can demand every waking second of your time, especially when they are younger. You learn pretty fast that this can lead to burnout. No matter how much you love someone, no matter how much you want to be there for them, you can’t be at their beck and call 24 hours a day. You need personal time to reset, to gather yourself, to just relax! So you come up with strategies. How about sending them over to their friend’s house for a few hours? Or give them to the grandparents for the day?Owning your own business can be an all-consuming activity. Your business can demand every waking second of your time, especially when you are just starting out. Sound familiar? Like a child, your business can require almost constant supervision. Taking some time for yourself, no matter what demands are being made on you, is incredibly important. If you are constantly working yourself to the breaking point, your customers and clients will suffer. Every day, try to schedule a little personal time. It can be exercise, reading a book, or catching an episode of something on Netflix. Do something to help you destress and you will be healthier both in body and mind.
- Practice Makes Perfect
Here is a little secret that the vast majority of children don’t realize until they are teenagers… We aren’t perfect. Little children can look up to their parents as always knowing what to do, always having the answer. We wish. Especially when we become new parents, we often have absolutely no idea what we are doing. We’ve read all of the books, asked for advice from friends and our own parents. But the reality is that hands-on experience is the best teacher. We will make parenting mistakes, we will learn from them and move on.It is the same when you start your own business. No matter how many books you have read or the expert advice you’ve absorbed, starting your own business is an overwhelming experience. You will make mistakes, especially when you are first starting out. What is important is that you learn from them and move onto the next thing. With lots and lots of practice, you will become a better entrepreneur.
- It’s OK to ask for help
We spend a lot of time telling our children that it’s OK to ask for help when they need it. Whether that means asking a teacher to explain a concept in math class again to asking a sibling to help them reach an item that is out of reach. This is even a piece of advice that I still find myself telling my son who is now in high school.The same can be said for anyone starting or growing their business.
While it can seem like a good idea to try to do everything yourself (to save money). In the long run, you can end up spending way too much time trying to learn how to build your own website, set up your email marketing and social media marketing, and writing all of your own content. It’s time to step back and ask yourself, “what is my time worth?”, “is this the best use of my time,” or “could I hire someone else who is experienced to complete this project?” Having an experienced virtual assistant on your team can not only save you time but a lot of money too! Remember, it’s OK to ask for help.