This has been a big year for me. In addition to launching Water & Wall Group in June, my wife and I welcomed our first child, Audrey, in January. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten much sleep the last few months, though I can change a diaper in record time and I now know who Sophie the Giraffe is (Audrey’s favorite toy).
Yet as I reflect on the craziness of starting a small business and raising a baby, I’m surprised to realize how many similarities they share. I’m a co-founder at W&W and also co-parent of Audrey (along with my more-than-understanding wife, Katie.) And at the end of the day I’m responsible for growing my business into a successful venture just as I’m responsible for raising Audrey into an intelligent, responsible, fun loving kid. And with that in mind, here are five reasons why running a PR agency is like raising a baby.
1) I had no idea what I was getting myself into – Despite the months and months of preparation put into launching Water & Wall and getting ready for the baby, there’s no way to know what it’s like until you experience it. Baby books and business consultants were helpful, but at the end of the day you need to just jump into the deep end and hang on. If you’re passionate, hardworking and surround yourself with like minded people (the foundation of any strong business/marriage), your chances of being successful should be good. And remember, every iconic business owner and parenting expert once started in the same exact place.
2) Every day is different – In previous PR roles, I had a fairly defined set of responsibilities on which I focused (pitch media, counsel clients, etc.). The same was true for my personal life pre-baby (go to the beach, obsess over LOST, never win my fantasy football league). As a new business owner and parent, though, this is not the case. Every day I’m faced with new issues and each day is different. At times it can be hectic and I never know which part of my new life will keep me up at night, but it’s exhilarating, I like the sense of unpredictability and I love going to work every morning.
3) It’s exciting – Nothing lights my day up more than coming home and watching Audrey speed crawl over to me, and I’m fortunate to now feel a similar sense of happiness as an agency owner. Business headaches and baby questions aside, life has never been more exciting and I’ve never been happier. I believe that passion will make me a better father and business professional.
4) There’s only so much I can control – We study the financial and communications industry like it’s our job, because, well… it is. We prepare for meetings to a fault and always do our best to have every possible angle covered. That’s part of the value we bring to the table and part of the reason most of our clients have been with us for so many years. But just like a parent who can’t control flu season, there are some business issues that are beyond my control. As such, it’s important I focus my attention instead on what I can control and make sure my clients and baby are as prepared as possible for the unexpected.
5) And finally, just when I thought I knew it all… I’m reminded that I don’t – Just like the college graduate who suddenly realizes they don’t know as much as they thought they did, the same is true a new parent and a new business owner. I speak with a lot of other new parents and folks in the PR industry because I value people’s opinions, I strongly believe that 3 heads are smarter than 2, and I’m never too old to learn new things. I trust my instincts and so far they’ve served me well, but I’m smart enough to know that there will always be surprises along the way, and that learning from those who’ve trodden the path I’m now following holds enormous value.
Have any other reasons why raising a baby and working in PR/running an agency is similar? If so, leave us a comment. I’d love to hear some other thoughts.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: The new Mumford & Sons album, along with the rest of Planet Earth, apparently (top debut in 2012 so far)