What an Entrepreneur Does Between Gigs
I’m currently interviewing serial entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs on what they do between one startup to the next. If this is you, message me and I’d love to chat! But here, I thought I would share my own entrepreneur tweener experience.
I spent the last 2 years with IDEO to help launch a new product – IDEO U. A startup within the company I have crushed on so yeah, it’s pretty good stuff.
Loved my work, LOVED the team, but together with my husband we made the choice to move from San Francisco to Montréal for a couple years, to allow my husband to focus on his startup’s newest studio, in the visual effects industry. I will get to work as a freelancer part-time with IDEO from Montréal, which is a dream.
But what will I do with all my pent-up starter-upper energy?
Whether co-founding an educational technology company, starting a nonprofit, launching new products with the California Department of Education, or most recently, incubating a startup within IDEO, I’m a doer through and through.
So I decided to use this new chapter to focus on four personal startups.
The Offspring Startup
Of course, this is the most rewarding, and challenging, startup yet.
Seasoned parents will knowingly roll their eyes, but this is all new to me. I look at my 14-month old son and I’m excited about the little fledgling and all the new phases he will introduce to my husband and me.
And while there is no promise of a big buyout, in the end, it still reaps the startup joys of capital infusion and sleepless nights incubating a baby through the growth phase and beyond.
As someone that has always worked, and enjoyed working lots of hours, focusing on slowing down and being a mom… well, it’s been a change of pace, to say the least.
In parenting, some of my entrepreneurial tendencies have stuck. Like optimizing a stroller walk to the park with a phone check-in at work, and a side jaunt to the local grocery store to pick up dinner.
But instead of focusing on the next phase, the next client, the next…I spend my time with the baby trying to be present. And it’s as close to zen meditation my busy brain can handle.
I keep my phone put away, except to take the ridiculously cute photos of the darling baby for Instagram prosperity. I got an Apple Watch so that any important texts/calls would be on my wrist. But otherwise, I purposefully miss all the emails, push notifications, and other noise that can wait until nap time or when the baby is down for the night.
I still have a lot to learn about for the Child Rearing Startup, but I have years ahead of me to MVP and pivot parenting approaches as we see this little human come into his own.
The Book Startup
So the baby is the best. I love him with more than I could have ever imagined and it’s so fulfilling. And well, I feel no guilt that my Type A personality needs to be working on starting other projects as well. This timing is perfect to get around to writing the book I have been talking about for so long.
So I’ve been spending my nights researching and interviewing (West Coast folks are still working when the baby is asleep East Coast time) innovators to help gather insights for the book. Side note, many of these people are parents and have insights on the aforementioned startup as well. It’s all good.
I also get to listen to amazing podcasts to inspire me, while the baby is napping and I am preparing his next meal. I suddenly have a more open mind to soak things in and be reflective on the direction the book could take.
And because I spend much of my day singing songs and chasing a toddler, I have the pent-up mental energy to spend more time writing in the evenings, over wine.
The Language Immersion Startup
I am beyond thrilled that my baby will be learning French while we are in Montréal.
In an effort to really embrace our new home and ensure that my son isn’t talking back without me knowing about it, I am also trying to learn French.
Let me be the first to say that I have yet to understand why people say that knowing Spanish will help me. Yes, I see similarities in the vocabulary and grammar. And I understand that they are both in the Romance language family, but good grief it isn’t “easy” for me.
I guess I can thank my mid-west parents and south Texas upbringing for helping shape my natural ear for awkward accents. But I figured out Spanish, and in time, I will figure out French – damnit.
The persistent starter-upper that I am, I know I will EVENTUALLY get through this new phase. In the meantime, I will be working on, “je ne parle pas français.”
The Marathon, Startup Reboot
The final mini-startup I have focused on is starting to train for the full Montréal marathon in the fall. I haven’t run a marathon in a few years, and this one will be my 10th and maybe last. I’m not sure how many more miles my knees can take, no matter how much I love running.
While I don’t have the luxury of training every day, I have committed to doing the long runs every weekend. Barring any injuries, I’m excited to have a goal to work toward, and knowing that I won’t have to figure out how to train in the winter months as the race will be done by the time Montréal folks, or me at least, plan to go inside for hibernation.
But the long runs are another place for me to listen to Pimsler’s French Audible or any podcasts I’ve been saving. It’s my time, but it’s also the time that I get to catch up on things related to all the other good things I have going on.
The way I see it, an entrepreneur has an itchy restlessness that keeps them from being still too long. I’m trying to allow for SOME stillness, but embrace who I am fully and give myself the time to focus on my passion projects. My current startups…until the next official startup.
NOTE: I originally published this article on LinkedIn. You can read it LinkedIn here.