Two things my 2 year old taught me about running a start up

Two things my 2 year old taught me about running a start up

By now hopefully you’ve read my story about why I left PwC and my learnings 4 weeks after my departure.

I can honestly say that when I was a full time employee at PwC I thought that my life was a lot harder than what it might be when I move out and focus solely on Workspired.

My rationale was simple:

  • Whilst at PwC my priorities were – Family, Grow Workspired, Work at PwC
  • After PwC they reduced to – Family, Grow Workspired

How foolish was I to think that just because I didn’t have a full time job on top of everything else that life would be easier. I still haven’t quite figured out what the reason is, but the level of complexity and challenges on a day to day basis are a lot more, despite not having the responsibility of a full time job.

Maybe it’s because everything is riding on Workspired?

Maybe it’s because there is no steady pay check hitting my bank account on the 15th of every month which has a knack of settling things psychologically?

All I know is it’s a LOT harder.

Speaking of harder, the parallels are similar to toilet training which we recently embarked on with our 2+ year old daughter. The lessons I learnt (and continue to learn!) from this experience have proven to be analogous with growing a startup.

Being a dad I am duty bound to sharpen the axe on my jokes and I hope you will indulge me as I frame my learnings in the vein of potty training (I promise this is not a grotesque post – we are on LinkedIn after all).

1) When your child needs to go, she needs to go NOW

You’re just about to leave the house and you take your daughter to the bathroom. She sits there for a good 5 mins singing all the nursery rhymes under the sun and declares she has nothing in the tank to empty. Foolishly you trust her.

You hop in the car and 10 mins in you’re doing 100km/h heading down the coast to soak in the fantastic spring weather Melbourne has served up. All of a sudden you hear a sound from the back of the car. You can’t quite capture the message due to the ambient noise coming from outside but once you train your ears, it’s frighteningly clear:

Daddy, Isha needs to wee…

In moments like this I wish LinkedIn had a *facepalm* symbol. This kickstarts both front seat passengers (i.e. mum and I) attempt at constructing distractions outside the car. All of a sudden we’ve found the tallest lamp post in Melbourne, or the longest overhead bridge. “Wow’s” and “oohs” fill the car as we fly off the freeway in search of a service station to let our daughter relieve herself.

The point of this story is, the best laid plans can at times come unstuck. In today’s constantly evolving and rapidly changing world you need to be agile. Now I think agile is a bit of an overused buzzword particularly in corporate environments. For me agile means move quickly and easily – which ironically is the literal dictionary definition.

When it comes to running Workspired I have all of a sudden started receiving interest and demand from ALL over the world. Last week I was on calls with people in New York, London, Sao Paulo and even Cameroon!

I have always wanted to transition to a virtual offering and just didn’t anticipate the demand coming in this quick. My options were to either say:

  • I’ll get back to you later; or
  • Here is how we can help you NOW!

I think it goes without saying which option I picked.

2) If your child sh*ts herself, it can be cleaned up

Even if you escort your child to the bathroom every 30 mins during her waking hours, she may decide that it’s more optimal FOR HER to empty her bowels in her underwear.

For context this happened 2 days in a row which really annoyed me. I’m normally a pretty even keeled guy but upon reflection, I think the reason was she had 2 really good weeks and then all of a sudden 2 accidents in consecutive days – I was gutted.

After the 2nd accident, I was visibly upset however tried to conceal it from her. I remember when she was in her room after being showered down, I came outside to get her clothes and slapped her pants against the sofa in an attempted to release my tension in isolation.

When I stepped back into the room the tectonic plates in my head calibrated like Transformers and I started to laugh at myself.

In the greater scheme of things all that was required was to clean up some clothes and my daughter. There was zero permanent damage, and thankfully no one was visibly harmed.

And then something weird happened – I recognised that we had almost 2 really positive weeks and what great headway she had made. Yes there were a few accidents but by and large she was doing really well!

The analogies with Workspired were similar. Yes there have been mishaps –

  • I got pulled up by a journalist for discussing a commercial service with them – sorry I wasn’t aware the ABC were so strict!
  • Also my website crashed late last week as it was flooded with visitors – great problem…just not at the time!

All in all if I look back it’s been a fantastic 5 weeks with talks at a UN event, a segment on 3AW radio and an article in a magazine (click here for info) all contributing to an avalanche of global interest that crashed the site.

Perspective, perspective, perspective.

By | 2018-01-02T11:41:32+00:00 October 23rd, 2017|Career, Passion, Work|0 Comments