by Beth Schillaci of VillageWorks Communications, Inc.

Reflecting on my 11+ years in business for myself, I thought about when I made the leap to start the business. I thought about the highs and I thought about the lows. I also thought about the great people I have met along the way as well as how much my personal life has changed in those 11 years.

The birth of my daughter 6 years ago, Little J has been my biggest personal change. I came to the realization that there are many parallels in starting a business and raising kids. The one trait I think is most important in running a business is a great sense of humor, so with that in mind, I give you:

Top 10 Ways Starting a Business is Like Raising a Child

1. You will never be 100% ready to do either. You really need to just jump in feet first with both. Your personal finances will never be where you want them to be, the timing will never be just right, and your house will never be the right size. Like Nike says, "Just do it".

2. There will be sleepless nights. The baby side is obvious enough on this one, but as a business owner you will experience this as well. All nighters to meet a deadline or worrying about whether a check will come in before payroll is due have both kept me up at night.

3. Listen to advice from others, but follow your instincts. When I was pregnant, I received advice from everyone including people behind me in line at the grocery store. Starting a business is the same way. People are good intentioned and some have really great advice that you should follow, but no one knows your child or business as well as you. The final decision needs to come from you. Trust your instincts.

4. The overwhelming pride you will feel when you receive a complement on your work or your child's behavior. As much as you try to not take things personally in business, it's almost impossible when it is your own. Insults cut deep, but complements put you on Cloud 9. The same happens when someone complements your child. Nothing fills me with more pride than when someone says how polite and sensitive Little J is.

5. You're not alone. Melanie mentioned in her post about Building Community that when you are dealing with headaches and issues, you feel like the only person to have ever had that experience. The good news is that you are not alone, there are others and they have survived. Reach out and talk to others to see how they handled it. The final decision is yours, but knowing you're not alone is huge.

6. It's just a phase. Phases and growing pains will occur with both a business and kids. Just when you think you have something figured out and are on the course for smooth sailing, here comes a new twist. Keep in mind that it is a phase and this to shall pass.

7. It will always cost more than you think. I remember hiring my first employee. I took into account his salary, but totally forgot about the insurance, the equipment needed for him to get his work done, taxes, and more. Same goes for kids.

8. Your time is no longer your own. Yes, your schedule is more flexible, you get to choose the 80 hours a week you work ;-) Vacations are never the same, and weekends can be interrupted. This is where an ultra-supportive family and friends come into play.

9. Expect the unexpected. There is nothing like a sick child to throw a wrench into your schedule, just like there is nothing like a client emergency to do the same thing. Lord help you if both occur in the same day, because it does.

10. It's the most rewarding thing you can do. While both can cause major headaches, there truly is nothing more rewarding. I don't regret either decision because both my business and Little J have taught me things about myself and others I would never have known. Neither are easy, but neither is more rewarding.

If you have a business, have I missed any? Tell me! Leave a comment so I can add to this next time.

If you're thinking about starting a business, make sure you know what you're in for. Don't jump in blind. Good luck with the first step of your new adventure!

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Beth Schillaci is owner of VillageWorks a marketing company that specializes in digital strategies including social media planning, implementation and training. She blogs about social media at Marketing Roadhouse.

Website: VillageWorks.net | Twitter: @bethschillaci


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