If you’re like me, you understand that running a business can feel a lot like raising a child. There are long hours up front as you help get your “baby” on its feet, and then there’s the pride you feel as it grows. And if you have kids, you know that sometimes they can be great inspiration for your business. My son is the reason why I work so hard: so I can create a life for he and I to enjoy together.
Other entrepreneurs, like those we’ll meet below, leveraged being parents to develop viable business ideas. These business owners saw issues or holes in the market, and it some cases were inspired to launch businesses that make lives better for kids. Check out these amazing innovative businesses.
Any parent with a truck-loving child knows that they’ll turn any surface into a road. And yet entrepreneur Andy Musliner wanted his three sons (who are now grown) to have a toy road for their cars.
This desire set Andy on a 12-year path that led to him developing PlayTape, which allows kids to create instant roads anywhere. Think of it like Duct tape (without being quite so permanently sticky) with road markings.
Musliner’s inspiration, which came from his role as a parent, helped make his product a 2016 Toy of the Year Finalist.
Any parent of a newborn is understandably anxious when driving with the baby. Lizette Espinosa Veneziano’s worry was that she couldn’t see the baby while driving. She wondered why there were no baby monitors for cars. After scouring the market and coming up empty handed, she and her husband, Giuseppe, launched their own solution: the zooby Car & Home Baby Monitor, through their new company, infanttech.
But the car monitor was just the tip of the iceberg: since then, the couple launched the smarttemp, a bluetooth thermometer that lets parents track a child’s body temperature.
Hi Little One
Friends Nell Lindquist and Maggie Allen were frustrated when shopping for newborn gifts for others that they actually liked. Their target? Cute, personal, and fun items.
Since they couldn’t find what they were looking for on the market, they created it themselves in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Hi Little One offers personalized gifts for babies and kids.
Find Your Own Inspiration
Whether the inspiration you find in your own children simply gives you a reason to work hard or actually gives you a genius business idea, joining forces between your two super powers — parenting and running a business — can have fantastic results.
If you’re looking for a kid-inspired business idea, look at the world through your children’s eyes. What frustrates you? It might be a kind of toy that was built by adult brains, rather than kid brains. Or a gap in the market, like with the toy truck roads.
Connect the Dots Between Parenting and Business
Realize that you might be nurturing future entrepreneurs in your own home, and let that shape how you talk to your kids about your business. Realize that unless you communicate to them about what it is you do, they may see your business as something they compete with for your attention.
They’ll be more embracing of your enterprise if they understand it in their own terms. For example, you could explain in basic concepts about what you do to a young child (“Mommy helps people start successful businesses”) and go into more details with a teen. You could also bring them to into your home office and show them firsthand what you do. And if there’s an opportunity for them to help out, go for it. Get them involved so they feel like a part of the other thing that you love in your life.
Set Some Ground Rules
If you work from home and have kids there during office hours, establish rules to help them understand your boundaries. If you can place your office in a room with a door. Keep a jar of candy on your desk to keep them quiet when you’re on a conference call. And when your door is shut, teach them that they are not to disturb you. If possible, arrange for child care or camps to keep them busy (and keep you from worrying about them while you’re working). Try to make time for kid breaks so they don’t get their feelings hurt that you’re home and not paying attention to them.
Give 100% … One at a Time
It’s impossible to be completely present for both your kids and your business at the same time, so don’t try. Instead, devote all your attention to one or the other. If you’re in parenting mode, put your cell phone on silent and don’t give into temptation to check your email every five minutes.
Likewise, if you’re working, make sure your kids are taken care of. Enlist the help of your partner or a family member, or try to work while the kids are at school or asleep.
Parenting and entrepreneurship are both highly rewarding roles, and you’re lucky to have both. Just continue to work hard at each to see all aspects of your life blossom.