Starting a business can feel a lot like having a baby and raising a child. There are long hours as your "baby" gets his days and night mixed up, and then there's the immense joy you experience as your child hits milestones for crawling, walking and talking. (You can wait for them to talk and then their first real word is "No".) And if you are really looking for ways to make parenting or being a kid easier, that can sometimes inspire a great business idea. My son JoJo is the reason why I wake up each morning on my mission to end small business failure. And I make sure he knows that mommy works hard so we can play hard. can create a life for he and I to enjoy together.
Other business owners, like the one's in this story, leverage being parents to develop viable business ideas. These business owners saw opportunities in the market, and it some cases launched businesses are products they invented for kids. These innovative entrepreneurs have some cool kid-centric 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.
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.
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.
Look For Inspiration
Whether the inspiration you find in your own children simply gives you a reason to work hard or actually gives you an amazing business idea, joining leveraging your two super powers -- parenting and business owner-- can have fantastic results.
If you're looking for a kid-inspired business idea, look at the world as a child. What frustrates you from the four-foot view? Do you notice toys that were built by adult brains, rather than kid brains. Or a gap in the market place, like with the toy truck roads.
Teach Your Kids About Your 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. You want to team them entrepreneurial thinking techniques, like to recognize an opportunity. Realize that they might think its cool, if you take the time to explain your business. Also unless you communicate to them about what you do, they may see your business as something they compete with for your attention.
They'll embrace your business if they understand it in kid terms. For example, When my son was in kindergarten, I would explain my business, by saying, ("Mommy writes articles and gives speeches to help people start successful businesses") and would go into more details with an older child. You could also bring them to into your home office and show them firsthand what you do. And if there's an opportunity to include them, go for it. My son has guest starred in a few YouTube videos over the years. One of the best benefits of getting you kids involved, is so they feel like a part of the other thing that you love in your life.
Set Work Rules at Home
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.
Focus On Being Present
It's impossible to be completely present for both your kids and your business at the same time, so don't try. Instead, focus on being present. No cellphone at the dinner table. Do the best you can to focus all your attention on work or on your kids. If you're in parenting mode, enjoy talking to your kids don't give into temptation to check your email or start texting.
Likewise, if you're working, make sure your kids are not interrupting. Enlist the help of your partner, mother or a nanny to keep your kids occupied, or try to work while the kids are at school or asleep.
Being a Parent and running a business are both about the journey, and you're lucky to be able to do both. Just continue to work hard and your kids will notice and might want to grow up and be like you some day.
This article was originally published as How to Be A Successful Parent Business Owner on www.succeedasyourownboss.com.