Navigating business and family

Our founder and CEO shares her way of managing how to run a new business while also being a first-time mum.

It’s late March 2024. A few weeks earlier I finally received all my products from the factory and all the packaging. I’m looking at the many boxes, 9 months pregnant. What a crazy time to launch sales?! Baby due anytime and I am setting up logistics related to warehouse and shipping, while mentally and physically preparing for my first birth, which can begin at any moment. What a crazy time to launch sales.

Or is it?

Maybe it’s just how my journey is supposed to be? It’s not that I planned it this way. Truly thought I would launch Hala’s first collection a year earlier, but our determination and dedication to quality and perfect fit pushed the launch back. And here we are: two very different babies arriving more or less at the exact same time.

Even if this is how my unique path is supposed to be, it still leaves space for questions such as: How do you run a business with a newborn in your arms? And how do you find the time to take care of your baby (as a first-time mum!), when you’ve only just launched your business after three years of company and product development, and you don’t have a co-founder that can take over for a few months?

The full-time maternity leave is simply not possible, but with a few reminders to myself – and a supportive and helpful husband – it is manageable (for me).

Finding balance is key. So is accepting the pace. 

In case it might be helpful for others, I thought I’d share my ways of navigating these months of early parenthood and solo-running a new business:

Hardcore prioritisation of tasks. Becoming a mother has taught me very quickly what really needs to be done now-now, and what can wait a day or a week or a month. My mantra these days is: focus, focus, focus. Better do one or two things really well, than spread yourself out too thin. Once done, then on to the next thing, but don’t try to do it all at once. This is a really useful skill in pretty much any aspect of life, but in particular also when running a business.

Very flexible working hours. This has been a core company value since day 1, as I believe it is the way forward, not just in relation to having children and a family to take care of, but in general. Having a remote team in different time zones also necessitates this to a certain extent, but more so, I find it important for my team and myself to be able to plan our working hours within a schedule that fits our respective lives outside of work or alongside other work. In my experience, this enables a higher degree of motivation, dedication and commitment to the work at hand.

Accept that things take longer and set realistic goals. Having children teaches us many things, among them: to slow down and have patience. I truly see this as a blessing in a very fast-paced society. It may not seem ideal for a young start-up, but in all honesty, I believe it has its benefits. Among them: Efficient working hours, effective prioritisation, not rushing decisions, and letting yourself be human in an environment that constantly pushes for the next big thing that should have been done yesterday. 

Set your own pace. Don’t compare yourself to others. Only compare yourself to you and where you were last week, month, or year. Okay, easier said than done, and might also seem so simple and obvious that it need not be said. In my experience, however, it’s important to articulate, as we generally have a huge tendency to always compare ourselves to others. This is your cue to stop. There will always be more work that can be done, that you see others are doing, and that you feel – or the world around you tells you – should have been done yesterday. You will get there at your time, if you’re meant to. Trust the process. Having a baby certainly slows the pace (for me at least!), but this is my unique journey, and when things take longer, it’s because I’m spending time with my baby and that is time I will never get back and never regret spending.

Hire support as needed. Okay, it’s not all happy-go-lucky, just slow down fully and don’t worry at all about your business. There are indeed some need-to-get-done tasks that are simply beyond the scope of what is possible to do, and for these tasks, hiring support is crucial to keep the business running. A way to prepare for this is to have a well-defined onboarding process in place in order to get people well on board quickly and effectively when needed.

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