The Internet Home Business Magazine for Moms & Dads

My Two Year Old Taught Me Everything I Know About Being an Entrepreneur


Susan PaytonThis guest post was written by Susan Payton of Egg Marketing & PR.

Don’t let the tantrums and finicky appetite fool you. My son Max is really Yoda in disguise. He has taught me many valuable lessons about being an entrepreneur, and I want to share them with you.

Don’t be afraid to mix paint.

Being a closet neat freak, I always cringe when Max dips his paintbrush in green and then blue. He’ll make an ugly mess! No one will like the picture! But I believe in creativity above all, so I bite my lip and sit on my hands and let him work his magic.

And you know what? His picture is beautiful because he wasn’t afraid to mix paint. Carrying this into being an entrepreneur, sometimes I am faced with things that are unconventional, that defy what I already know in my comfort zone. I take a deep breath and forge ahead, and I am always, always, always glad I took the risk.

When it’s “night night” time, close your eyes and go to sleep.

I love my business. I even dream about it. I’ve dreamed up some pretty good ideas while catching ZZZs before Max trounces in at 6 am. But I realize I spend the better part of my week working on Egg Marketing, so at night, I just have to table all my work-related thoughts until the next day. That way, I don’t wake up feeling like I’ve been working all night!

We all hear about separating work and family life, but let’s be honest. It’s really, really hard. Especially if you don’t mind working! But I’ve learned that in order to be 100% effective at my business, I have to step away from it sometimes.

Why work when you can play?

As work at home parents, I’m sure you can relate to running into your office to finish “one little thing” while your child is playing. When Max started playing with his bath animals and telling them they were in the “office” I knew I had to stop doing that. He’ll toddle in here and ask “what doing?” That’s my cue to close up shop and focus on something more fun, be it splashing in the pool or drawing a very rudimentary Dora for the 10th time today.

Being afraid (of bugs) never did anyone any good.

Max is afraid of bugs. And lizards. And fireworks. And facepaint (don’t ask, because I don’t know). We tell him over and over, “there’s nothing to be afraid of.” Do I believe it as an entrepreneur? Am I really fearless when it comes to bringing in enough money or taking risks that could grow my business? I’m trying to practice what I preach to him, though it’s tough at times.

It’s easy to make friends.

I’m an introvert at heart. I would have rather worn a diaper than gone to my first networking event, but I did, and I survived (network, not wear a diaper). And I found out that just like when you’re two, it’s pretty easy to make friends. People at networking events are friendly and approachable (and probably nervous like you). I’ve even made a few play dates as a result. They just involve coffee and business cards rather than sand and shovels.

Never let a little cold (or other obstacle) get you down.

Max gets sick a lot. I mean A LOT. Which means I do too, but that’s another story. The thing is, he keeps going and going like the Energizer Bunny when he’s sick. I guess it’s not until later that he will actually rest in bed when he’s ill. We make up excuses about why we can’t do things. We’re sick. The car is in the shop. We don’t have the money. But really the only thing holding us back from making our businesses grow is ourselves. Don’t see the obstacles as mountains but as anthills. Just step over them and keep going.

Being a parent and an entrepreneur isn’t as hard as it seems. We make it simple because that’s what adults do. But really, it’s child’s play. A two year old could do it.

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    On July 24th, 2007 at 7:05 pm, Elizabeth Potts Weinstein said:

    I love it! Yes, I constantly am learning my my 2-year old daughter. Kids have a simplicity, appreciation of beauty, and a joy for the little things that we can all learn from. They also say what they think and do what they want — which we self-sacrificing moms could do a little more of. :)


    On July 24th, 2007 at 8:05 pm, cooliojones said:

    I like how you made the bridge between networking and being a kid. Business cards and coffee versus sand and shovels! I’m an introvert too, but often if you are the first one to say something, or say what everyone else is thinking, you can shatter — no — destroy the ice and people will love you for it!

    On July 24th, 2007 at 10:29 pm, Sabrina's Money Matters said:

    My favorite quote is, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your mind off your goals.” Syndey Smith, nothing can scare you if you have your eyes on the prize!

    On July 24th, 2007 at 11:14 pm, Shine said:

    I really like your post. And, keep noding my head when you mention the afriad of bug / risk thing - both, for me… Be like a child!

    On July 25th, 2007 at 12:26 am, derek said:

    I’m very much an introvert myself and can stand in a room of people and not talk to a single person.

    To be honest, I’m hoping to attend BlogHer this coming weekend and the idea of attending my first blogging conference has me scared to death. I’m going to try my best to leave my shyness at home and just get out there and network with people.

    On July 25th, 2007 at 7:45 am, Laura said:

    Sometimes the first lessons that we learn are the best ones. I can say “amen” to a lot of these. I especially like “when it’s “night night time …” (Sleep is so important!) AND “It’s easy to make friends.”

    On July 25th, 2007 at 11:05 am, JoLynn Braley said:

    The two points that really stood out for me in your post were:

    “His picture is beautiful because he wasn’t afraid to mix paint”, and “We tell him over and over, “there’s nothing to be afraid of.””

    Kids have so little fear, in fact we are born fearless and have to learn how to be afraid. Imagine what we could accomplish if we didn’t have any fears holding us back?!

    On July 25th, 2007 at 9:06 pm, Jenny said:

    o.O I wish my kid would teach me how to be one. But that is awesome. Great post.

    On July 25th, 2007 at 10:25 pm, Keely Patton said:

    What a great post! It’s funny how we can be with kids all day long and still not learn from them. It certainly takes an effort on our part to be mindful of all the lessons.

    At one point, I got really tired of hearing my son say, “Mom, you’re no fun.” I realized he was right. I was taking my life and myself (even my play) waaaay too seriously. I decided to adopt my kids as my FUN COACHES. With my 1 year old, I’m a hit if I make a fart sound. With my 4 year old, burping and fart sounds get roars of laughter. With my 11 year old, I actually have to fart to get him rolling.

    But the point is, I let them teach me what is fun for them, and I have to let go of my own inhibitions. I’m not the kind of gal who farts freely. In fact, I don’t even like the word “fart”. But the truth is, fart sounds ARE funny. I learned that from my kids.

    On July 30th, 2007 at 7:32 am, Susan Payton said:

    I LOVE the feedback when I guest blog here! It’s always nice to know you’re not alone in feeling less than perfect as a parent/work at home parent.

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