05/10/13 | OOO

4 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Founder and a Mom

For parents and entrepreneurs, things change constantly. What is required of you day-to-day changes as your baby (human or web-based) grows.

By Casey Santiago (Founder & CEO, Kangu.org)

Within the space of three years, I had two children and founded Kangu.org. During the process of bringing all three into the world, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities. Lack of sleep? Check! No social life? Check! Fear of failing? Check! Labor of Love? Check! In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some lessons I have learned as I built my family and my start-up.

Take the leap. There is no right time – to have a baby or to start a company. You’ll never feel like you have enough money, enough time, or enough knowledge. You probably will not wake up one morning and say, “You know, today I feel completely ready.” Save yourself the angst and just take the leap, having the confidence that you will figure it out as you go.

The power of good enough. As much as I’d like to be a perfect mom, I am not. Learning how to best be there for my kids is a process, just like building and growing a tech start-up. Using the agile approach of building ‘fail’ into my process is a tremendous relief, as a founder and as a mom. There is no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect product. I constantly show up, I do my best, and I improve little by little.

The only thing constant is change. For parents and entrepreneurs, things change constantly. What is required of you day-to-day changes as your baby (human or web-based) grows. While this fluidity can feel unsettling, I now see it as a blessing. It helps me through rough times, whether it’s a bug with our payment gateway on our biggest day, or a week when we are all sick with the latest preschool plague.

Find your focus. Founding and leading a start-up is a chance to manifest what is most important to you. It’s the same thing with a child. In both roles, I am constantly challenging myself to hone in on the values, the messages, and the ways of being that most resonate with me. At work and at home, this focus has been my guiding light after taking the leap, and has helped me push through hard times and orient myself when things are in flux.

Am I saying you need to be a mom to be a successful entrepreneur? Of course not. But you do need something – something pushing you, something greater than you, something that brings to the surface your best self. For me, that was motherhood and the belief that other mothers deserve to have safe births and healthy babies. This Mother’s Day, I’ll be celebrating everyone – mom or not – who has taken the leap, doggedly pushed ahead and brought something beautiful into this world.

Women 2.0 readers: How are you good enough? In what ways have you failed balancing motherhood and a new company?

About the guest blogger: Casey Santiago is the founder and CEO of Kangu.org, the first crowdfunding website for safe births, which helps reduce the 250,000 women who die preventable deaths each year giving birth. She’s also a mom of two. She shares some lessons that she has learned along the way.

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