No, I’m not talking about celebrity moms like Jessica Alba who decide to found new ventures like The Honest Company. Though I suppose that is a small part of it. Far more profound than graduating from university, getting married or buying our first home, becoming a parent has had the most far-reaching impact on not only my day-to-day life, but also on my outlook on life.
And yes, it has also had a dramatic effect on my career as a freelance writer, professional blogger, and online entrepreneur. I believe I’ve commented on this in the past, talking about how growing and nurturing an online business is akin to growing and nurturing a newborn baby.
In fact, when you look at some of the parenting quotes that get thrown around on the Internet, you can see how practically the same mindset and perspective can just as easily apply to making money online.
Blossoming Into a Big Bang
Take Mayim Bialik for example.
If you’re around the same age as me, then you probably know her best for playing the title character in the 1990s TV sitcom “Blossom.” If you’re a little younger than me, then maybe you know her as Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon Cooper’s love interest in “The Big Bang Theory.” She also happens to hold a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Outside of TV, she is a mom.
“I came to parenting the way most of us do — knowing nothing and trying to learn everything.”
Even though I’d been writing on the Internet since 1999, I didn’t really take blogging seriously as a professional endeavor until 2006. That was the year that I met John, actually, and that’s how I came to devour everything about Internet marketing, WordPress, AdSense, search engine optimization, and all the rest of it. I knew nothing, really, and I was trying to learn everything.
I Have the High Ground!
Learning is good. You never want to stop learning. But learning is not doing. If you want to make any forward progress, you need to put that learning into action. Stop waiting to line up all your ducks in a row, because the conditions will never be perfect.
As the Shia Labeouf meme instructs, you have to just do it. That’s how I approached blogging and freelance writing. And that’s also how I approached fatherhood. I’d never changed a diaper or bathed a baby prior to my own daughter. So, I just plunged in there and did it. I learned a lot, but I found that all the best parenting advice kept contradicting itself.
And this is where an Ewan McGregor quote feels especially appropriate.
“The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.”
Some “experts” told me that the baby’s crib should be completely devoid of any objects whatsoever, because they all pose as a suffocation hazard. Other “experts” said that the crib should be a warm and inviting place, so it makes sense to have a comfort blanket or stuffed animal. Some “experts” told me that co-sleeping helps to solidify the bond between parent and child. Other “experts” say that co-sleeping is a recipe for disaster. Who’s right?
Everyone has a different set of “rules” for parenting, but what might work great for one family could be positively horrendous for another. Making money online is much the same. That’s why John said in one of his videos that you shouldn’t gauge your potential for success or your ideal path with that of someone else. There are no rules. There is no certainty. You’ve just go to do what works.
Growing Up Is Hard to Do
Here is one final lesson we can take from the world of parenting and apply to the world of making money online. Well, two final lessons, actually.
There’s only one of you. There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. You’ve got to figure out how much you want to do, and how you’re going to do it. Sometimes this means calling in help. Sometimes this means accepting that good enough is good enough. You don’t have to do this alone.
Second, just as your ultimate objective for your child is for them to grow up and to be independent, happy, and successful in their own right, your ultimate objective for your business could be much the same. You’re there in the early stages to grow and nurture it, celebrating in milestones along the way. But at some point, can you really step away? Can you get to the point where you can remove yourself from the business entirely? So that the business can run itself?