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Motherhood: the unlikely competitive advantage in business

If you are a mother, do you ever feel like you are at a disadvantage in starting up a business because you are trying to balance your work with family life? Many times I’ve had that same feeling. Sometimes I’ve wondered if it might have been easier to start a business when I was in my 20s and had all that time to myself. But now I’ve been running my business for a while, I’ve realised that I actually launched at the perfect time. More importantly, I’ve realised that my dual role as business owner and a mother gives me a unique competitive advantage that many startups just don’t have. Here’s why:

Quality creative time: If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know how important I think it is to have some small amounts of quality quiet time for your business. This is when you’ll be at your most creative, and when you will come up with solutions and ideas that will make your business stand out. Of course, anyone starting a business has the opportunity to give themselves creative time – short periods of quiet time when they can work really hard at thinking through ideas. But does everyone use that time well?

In economics, there is a very simple principle. People place a higher value on things that are scarce.  So if creative time is freely available, then people don’t necessarily value it or make good use of it. But what if you are a mother and you only get an hour a day of free time? Are you going to value that time highly? Are you going to use that time well? I’m going to take a bet that you will.

Highly efficient working: There is a beautiful viral video that appeared on Facebook recently, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you can view it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB3xM93rXbY Here’s one quote from it: “Responsibilities and requirements are really quite extensive”. Can you relate to this? Of course you can. As mothers, we often have to do five different things at once, and do each of them well. Even if you haven’t realised it, you’ve become a master at working efficiently. And efficient working is what is going to allow you to become really effective in your business. In a startup, you often have to wear many hats, and you have to juggle a lot of balls in the air. Well, a mother has more experience in that than anyone else I know.

A first-class problem solving mindset: You don’t get a manual when you become a mother. No one tells you what to do and there are no easy solutions when you come across challenges. Giving up isn’t an option, and “no” is never a satisfactory answer (unless you are dealing with a toddler of course!). As a mother, you need to be persistent in large quantities, and you need to have a super-advanced problem solving mindset. So can you see how easily those qualities can work for you in a startup business? If you come across a challenge, then you know that challenge is NEVER beyond your abilities and you can ALWAYS find a solution. For example, even if you don’t know how to create a website without any money, you’ll figure it out. Because when you couldn’t get your child sleeping at 2am, what did you do? You figured it out!

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