7 Tips for Entrepreneurial New Moms
Annabella Daily, mom of two and founder of Map My Beauty, shares what she’s learned.
It’s impossible to hear Annabella Daily’s story and not be impressed. “I’m originally from Finland and I moved to the US when I was 19 with nothing but a suitcase,” she recalls. “I had big career goals and I didn’t know anyone, so I had to build my network from scratch and work my way up.” Her ambition and hard work paid off. She consulted for YouTube, creating the playbook for their fashion and beauty vertical, before moving on to launch Hearst’s YouTube channel and spearhead Condé Nast’s digital transformation. “I was always immersed in fashion and beauty,” she says. “I noticed that modern young women weren’t going to stores for beauty advice anymore.
The beauty counter experience was no longer resonating with the customer.” At the same time, Annabella had a toddler and was pregnant with her second child. She craved a personalized beauty experience—one where she could get inspiration, product recommendations suited to her needs and application instructions that were specific to her face—but she didn’t have the time to browse through a department store and compare products from different brands. She wanted to be able to get that same experience from her phone, so she created it herself. Upload your photo to Annabella’s app, Map My Beauty, and you’ll get virtual instructions for various beauty looks—right on your own selfie—plus the ability to shop recommended products. If you think building the app is a feat, consider the fact that Annabella closed her first round of funding while seven-and-a-half months pregnant. Fresh off of launching a successful collaboration with Sephora, Annabella shares what she’s learned as a new startup founder—and a new mom.
1. Protect the time that’s important to you
In the startup world, every single call and every single meeting is extremely important. It’s all too easy to get into a pattern of working without any flexibility for yourself, but it’s important to live in a way that aligns with your values. Don't sacrifice beautiful moments with your children and miss all the firsts, because that's time you'll never get back. Create rules for yourself to protect the time important to you, whether that’s time when you need to be 100% focused on your business or 100% focused on your family. For example, bedtime with my kids is sacred to me. I start my day earlier and go home earlier, so that I can always be there in the evening, and I never schedule anything during that time.
2. Maximize your hours
Traditionally, in the business world, hard work is measured by the hours you put in. When you're a mother and entrepreneur, it's never about the number of hours you work; it's about maximizing what you do with the hours that you have. Every day, I determine the most important things we need to do for the business, as well as the most important things I need to do for my family. I prioritize those things and I don't spend time on anything that’s not necessary. Be conscious of getting a return on the investment of each hour.
3. Create a workplace that fosters personal and professional growth
I’m a huge advocate of maternity leave—I come from a country where you have a year of paid maternity leave for each of your children—but, as an early stage startup founder, it wasn’t an option. I simplified things by setting up my office two blocks from my apartment. In the early days of the company, when I had just had a baby, I was easily able to go back and forth between work and home as often as I needed to. I wanted to be able to nurse on-demand, so I would go home to nurse and then run back to the office. Sometimes I bring my kids to the office or have my team come to my apartment. When you have a workplace that allows you to meet both personal and professional goals, you don’t need to prioritize one over the other.
4. Build a great team
It’s key to have a really capable team that can fully support you and drive the business. A great team is very cohesive; they’re on the same page and have the same clear goal of making the business a success.
5. Prove people wrong
It can be challenging to raise money for your business as a woman, and even more difficult as a pregnant woman or a mother. Potential investors often doubt your ability to commit to growing a business while you’re starting a family. When I closed my early seed funding rounds for Map My Beauty, I was seven and a half months pregnant with my second child. The key was to clearly communicate my goals and intentions for growing my business—and then deliver on those goals. I had to show people that it is possible to mix business and babies. If you don't take no for an answer and you're focused on your goals, you can always make them happen.
6. Seek a supportive network
Launching a startup can be a lonely existence, and when you’re a founder and a new mother, you’re juggling two completely new things. A supportive network of other working or entrepreneurial moms is priceless. Meet up regularly to share stories and swap advice. The support of other working parents was, unexpectedly, one of my most helpful assets when I was starting Map My Beauty. I’m always blown away by how much expertise people have in their unique fields. I’ve met people in the elevator in my building and in baby music class (those music classes are better than any networking happy hour!) who have helped me with everything from making financial projections to creating content.
7. Celebrate small wins
As women, we tend to be quite tough on ourselves. When you're ambitious and want everything to happen quickly, it's important to celebrate the little moments, both in your business and personal life, and to appreciate the progress you’re making. The small wins really make all your hard work worth it.
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