Shortly after my son was born, I decided it was time to move from being employed to an entrepreneurial role and, at the same time, switch 100% to a marketing role.
So marketing and motherhood unfolded pretty much at the same time for me. And looking back at the past 4+ years and what I learned during this time, I realize I’ve experienced the same aha moments and drawn similar conclusions in both roles.
Surprising as it might seem, I came to believe that for me, motherhood and marketing have quite a few things in common. They are both challenging and tiring at times, but they are both very dynamic journeys, defined by change and unknowns and filled with joy (at least on most days).
Here is what I’ve learned — would love to hear your take on this:)
#1 Separate emotions from facts
If you are a marketer — or a startup cofounder, owner— it might be very easy to fall in love with your idea. You might feel like you already know everything there is to know about your target audience, their needs, and the right messaging. You can easily put in a lot of effort to implement your ideas but not necessarily achieve what you hoped to.
I think that when your emotions are in control, you lose sight of the bigger picture, and you can sabotage yourself. I remember that back when we were writing the content of our agency website for the first time, it was very much about what we’d like to read: “does this sound smart enough?”. Whereas now, our process looks very different: we talk to our potential clients, try to understand their needs, and address those in our content.
What you like or feel might work must be backed by facts. Intuition works, but I think you must validate your hypothesis through testing and client interviews.
On the other hand, I’ve learned to separate my own emotions from my son’s.
His feelings and experiences are valid, and they don’t say anything about me as a mother. When I realized this on a deeper level, I could take a healthy step back and see my son for who he really is: a small person trying to handle big emotions. That was when I stopped feeling like a bad parent when my son misbehaved or had a public tantrum. I still get caught up in his emotions sometimes and take it personally, but I feel I’ve made a lot of progress nevertheless.
For me, this is a big lesson, recognizing when my emotions are in control and how that influences my thinking and decisions.
And then make sure I check in with both my clients and my child: what are they actually trying to achieve? I now try to listen more instead of thinking I know best.
#2 It is not about you, but what the other person needs
If you only make it about yourself, about projecting a certain image, you risk making things that look good but don’t work for the other person.
Both in marketing and motherhood, understanding the other person’s needs is key to a healthy relationship.
In my case, my need for validation takes control every now and then, urging me to think and decide what others around me need. But I’m still learning to accept that I don’t have to have all the answers — and that this is totally fine 🙂 Talking to your clients, working with them, and finding a solution together is a much better experience that includes them and shows them they are heard.
#3 Don’t be a perfectionist and prioritize
I still am a perfectionist, and for many years, I thought that my personal value comes from my results. And the more I could do — on my own — the more my value would increase.
The truth is that there are thousands of things one can do in both marketing and parenting. And trying to do them all is the best recipe for burnout and depression. So over time, I started prioritizing, thinking in terms of what will generate the most impact and help me reach my goals.
There are so many ideas I would love to implement at STOICA and be involved in every aspect of the agency, from strategy, sales to working with clients directly.
As a mom, it would have been amazing to manage to spend enough time with my son and at the same time have a social life, go to the gym, have me time, you get the gist :).
But time is limited, and so are our energy resources. What worked for me is acknowledging that happiness comes from different sources, and at the end of the day, I am a valuable person regardless of how much I achieved.
These two concepts helped me make peace with the fact that I will not work long hours to the detriment of family time. Marketing alone doesn’t define me, and that family time is equally important for me. I need to find a balance between the two, and I’d rather have a bit of this and that than missing out too much on time spent with my close ones.
#4 Ask for help when you feel stuck
As you might have figured out until now, my perfectionism often stops me from asking for help. It simply doesn’t come easy to me, but this is no excuse. So I am sometimes forcing myself to do it actively.
As a marketer, I joined various platforms such as Growth Mentor, I try to connect with other marketers and learn from them, I’ve started working with freelancers and collaborators.
As a mom…well, being a mother is more than a full-time job. And while my parents, for example, benefited from extended help from their families, it seems that today parents are expected to do it all alone. And God forbid for them to take some me-time.
I would like us to speak more about how difficult parenting is sometimes and encourage new parents to ask for more help.
#5 Own your mistakes
Last but not least, a vital principle that I try to follow is owning my mistakes and apologizing when I am wrong.
Losing your temper with your child is inevitable, it will happen. But the important thing is to fix it. So I’ve learned to acknowledge my mistakes and apologize to my son whenever I react with anger or just not the way I would want to.
As a marketer, of course, you’ll make mistakes. What I’m learning is to treat them as failed experiments, look at what went wrong and what I could do better next time instead of beating myself up.
As long as you are committed and passionate about your work, you will work out a solution. Blaming others or yourself, refusing to own our mistakes- these all might seem an easier way out. But they are not the way to becoming the best version of ourselves.
The end goal
These are the most significant learnings for me so far. I’m sure many others will follow and help me get to where I want to go. As a mom, my goal is to focus on understanding myself better and living my most authentic life. If I can offer my son the experience of a calm, balanced, and at peace mother, I’m sure he’ll have the tools to make a fulfilling life for himself.
As a marketer, I hope that STOICA grows to become the top-of-mind digital agency for B2B tech companies in Romania. I am working towards finding the best ways to help startups and tech companies to scale through growth-driven digital marketing. My goal is to understand their journey and needs and contribute to their development through custom strategies.
Originally published on Medium.com