Prior to becoming a SAHD (stay at home dad) I worked in a very cool Irish tech start-up for the previous five years and loved every minute of it.
I now have my own start-up business which allows any person with a child in their life to create a very special 100% personalised board book. My business is called Booky Wooky. As a result, I’ve plenty of experience of start-up life so I decided to list a few key lessons I’ve learned along the way which surprisingly I find helpful in my current role as a full-time SAHD.
Lesson #1 – start-ups are just like being a stay at home dad, neither are a ‘9-5’ role.
Since becoming a SAHD, I’ve learned this fairly fast! Of course I knew it theoretically, but only when you are 100% committed to looking after your children full time do you fully get it.
With a start-up, you’ll often find yourself sitting with your laptop in front of you trying to get something done long after your workday has finished. In fact, the only break you’re likely to take is to have your food and spend some quality time with your kids. Once they’re in bed, the laptop is glued to you again until it’s lights out time.
With being a stay at home dad, picture the above except swap the laptop for one baby strapped to your chest and the other toddler literally stuck to your leg shouting at you to "Do the robot again Daddy, again!"
Either that or she’s crawling all over my shoulders grabbing me by the neck and trying to remove my Adam's apple via a very primitive form of surgery! After that, trust me, you’re too tired to go online and your lights will go out while you're still on the couch with the TV on and the gob open. Gotta say, I absolutely love it though.
Lesson #2 – Do your research.
If you were a researcher for a radio or TV show and you didn’t do your researching properly, they’d fire your lazy ass.
In Business Development, you need to do your homework on any industry you are targeting as a potential business. You want sales and they’re not going to just fall into your lap. So when you engage, you need to know about your potentials and you need to have done your research.
But when you become a stay at home dad, failure to research certain information – for example, finding out info on kids' food, potential allergies, education, activities, having fun with crafts and games to play, etc. – is a major injustice to your children’s development, fun and growth and you don’t want to be that parent. Treat the research as you would in a paid job.
Lesson #3 Scheduling:
In work, it’s so important. When you work in a startup, it’s more so. When you work remotely from your home (albeit in an office converted room), it’s doubly important.
You schedule your day – arrange meetings / reply to unanswered emails / make calls for new business / send follow up emails / request PO (purchase order) for new sales / prepare invoices / chase payments / training calls / demo calls / promote events / confirm renewals / update social channels etc. Your day is structured. You feel the benefit from it. You feel satisfied. You feel good.
On a personal level, scheduling has always been my Achilles Heel (and the Stented Missus will vouch for that). That said since becoming a stay at home dad, I’ve improved my game 10 fold. Am I the finished article with it? No, but I’ve pulled my socks up big time.
Scheduling gives you a clear structure as to what your day looks like. Then, that allows you to pack/prepare correctly for whatever you have planned. You will also have a better day with your nippers. Like work, you will feel the benefit. You’ll have satisfaction. You will feel great.
Lesson #4 Internet dangers (for kids):
"This feckin' internet thingy won’t work, what’s wrong with it? Sure it’ll never catch on." said my Dad to me a few years back.
To be fair to Dad, he has gotten so much better with the online world. It’s just not a natural fit for him. In my opinion it’s a generation thing. It’s what you have been brought up with, what you are (or in his case, are not) used to.
I’m also amazed at the amount of people in my age bracket that just don’t know how to navigate their phones and the web efficiently. Bar Facebook and WhatsApp, they struggle.
It’s 2019 and it’s in your interest to grow your understanding in apps and the online world in general. How the hell are you supposed to understand what your children are doing online (or will be doing when they get older)? It’s so important because they will run rings around you if they get a whiff that you haven’t a clue what they are on about.
Depending on their age, they might be very stupid and naive online (at some point). It’s so important that we as parents know and understand the different platforms they are using, know at the very least the basics of navigating from A to B on whatever platform they are on.
Sadly, online bullying is massive. However, if you arm yourself with the knowledge, hopefully, you’ll smell if there’s something negative happening and be able to act on it.
Don’t be one of those who say "Ah that thing, sure I know nothing about that". Learn because it’s so important.
Lesson #5 Likability:
In sales/biz dev, likeability cannot be underestimated. It is crucial. Building and developing relationships (whether on a personal or business level) goes a long way in generating new business.
Basically likeability is great for sales – "You don’t just back the horse, you back the jockey".
The same likeability is great when it comes to being a stay at home dad. It’s great for getting to know other parents when dropping your kids off at school/Montessori. It builds friendships and grows a reputation.
Likeability is great for getting on well with teachers/instructors/ GP’s /dentists/sports coaches etc who deal with your children. It helps you get to know these very important people, it builds trust and trust is what opens doors. That door could be for a playdate and coffee or for a business deal.
Where trust is what opens doors, it’s likeability that knocked on the door in the first place.
So there you have it. Do you recognise any of the above from your own life? Are there any lessons from your work that help you be a parent? Let me know! Share the wealth.