It was 12 years ago when the first New Parent Resource Guide was printed. I had a toddler and newborn at home…and it was busy!!!
This was the time of phone calls and faxes…not emails and texts. I would stay up late at night, faxing information to local businesses about what I was doing. I knew the fax would be sitting in the tray, waiting for them in the morning when they arrived at the office, not disrupting anyone at home. Yes, this was before home offices became the norm. I would make follow-up phone calls while my children took their 20 minute naps in the afternoon…or while they were entertained for a few minutes with their toys. Wow, what a shift as we jump ahead 12 years to the age of home offices and the great many techie items that make business easy, from anywhere, like: ipads, iphones, tablets, computers etc.
But let me back up, because this story is about how I went from becoming a new parent, to starting my own business and how you can too.
STEP 1 – find a need that YOU care about! It didn’t start out as a business, it started out as a need for information. Fourteen years ago, when my oldest daughter was born, I arrived home from the hospital to realize that I knew nothing about parenting! I thought I did, but I had so many questions and fears – breastfeeding did not come easily and I couldn’t believe how tired I was. I am sure people tried to tell me before the baby was born, but I must not have listened and I felt very unprepared to be a mother.
After searching through all the pamphlets and fliers you used to get from the hospital, I could not find the right phone number to call for help with feeding my new baby. I finally found the La Leche League and talked to someone that helped me through this extremely frustrating time.
After this experience and a few other times looking for information and not finding it, I decided to contact the hospitals to see if they would be interested in distributing a small flier of contact numbers that I would put together. I had no idea what they would say or how I would pay for these, but I just knew that I didn’t want any other parents going through the same thing I did. I wanted parents to find information and get help quickly.
STEP 2 – find good support and someone that will always encourage you to keep going! So, let me back up again to how I found the courage to contact the hospitals about this list I would provide them. It was one of my persistent sisters that would pop in every few days to see how I was progressing. She had just started her own business and was (and still is) super successful. She would give me that kick in the butt that I needed to get moving on my idea.
STEP 3 – don’t listen to the negative feedback! I had a lot of negative feedback, suprisingly from friends and family, that thought I could never make money at it and that if it was such a great idea, it had to have been done before. I guess they had never heard of the word “innovation”. Anything can be done better!
STEP 4 – get help! I contacted the local small business centre and they helped me get started. My advisor still jokes to this day how funny it was that I came into his office with baby and toddler in arms….having to leave briefly through the meeting to breastfeed! He was my biggest supporter in the early days and was always there making me plan for bigger and better.
STEP 5 – plan to succeed. One of my biggest mistakes was that I didn’t plan on this being a big business right from the beginning. I didn’t get a professional logo, corporate colours or stunning website, until a couple of years into the business. I read The E-Myth and Good to Great (fabulous books) and started to change my mindset. If I was going to make this a business, I needed to think like it was a big business from that day forward.
STEP 6 – have a supportive spouse. I wouldn’t still be doing what I do…raising our kids, working from home, if it wasn’t for Pete, my incredible husband. At a time when we needed money the most, I decided to stay at home with our kids and see where this business would take us. It was not an easy time and I had to put a lot of focus on the business in those early years. Late nights working meant that Pete would have to help out in the evenings and early mornings if need be…or even come home for lunch so I could run out to a quick meeting. I know I couldn’t have done it without him.
There are lots of lessons I have learned in the last 12 years. I made a lot of mistakes and I did a lot of things right. I would love to share more with you later. I just hope this quick list will help you get started on building the life you desire.
Remember, if you work hard enough and want something bad enough…YOU can do it. Don’t give up and don’t lose sight of your dreams.