Arielle Nishimirwe is the founder and CEO of Milkii, a company that creates and sell maternity lingerie. Today, Arielle is sharing what motherhood has taught her about entrepreneurship.
1. You don’t know what you are getting yourself into until it hits you. Like motherhood, regardless of all the books you read and preparations you make, entrepreneurship is a long road filled with a lot unknown variables. The good news is if you are also a parent, you have learned already about not panicking when faced with the unexpected—this attitude becomes really helpful when launching a business.
2. Follow your intuition. As a new parent, you get thousands of opinions from your family, friends or even plain strangers on your own baby. This can create a lot of confusion and I quickly learned to follow my intuition and to do what feels right for me and my baby.
Entrepreneurship is no different; you will get a million opinions about what you should be doing (or not doing!), what needs to be changed. Some people will tell you that they think you are wasting your time and others will be supportive and encouraging. When it comes down to it, you have to follow your gut and do what you feel is right for you, your family and your company is the long run.
3. Love what you do. My child taught me what unconditional love is, and he also gave me the motivation to do what I love and the drive to be a great role model for him as he grows up (they grow up so fast!). In a way, motherhood gave me what I needed to pursue my dream relentlessly.
4. Do not say no to help. If there is one thing you learn as a parent, it is to sometimes let go of your pride and welcome help. Every parent need a breather to continue being a good parent. That feeling of separation anxiety when leaving your baby with someone else for more than a minute during the first few months will eventually turn into a happy dance a year or two later when you finally get some adult time.
Likewise, in business you really need to learn how to let go as I found it was close to impossible to do everything yourself and be the expert in everything. Finding the right partners to work with and listening to feedback (whether you like it or not) is a huge part of your growth as an entrepreneur.
5. Always be prepared. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. As a new mom, once you take out your newborn with one change of clothes and he throws up on them 10 minutes later, and follows up with a poop explosion quickly after, you learn that you always have to be prepared with backup plans (options A, B, C and D). Deadlines and expectations need to be put in place when running a business, but you also have to prepare couple alternative plans just in case something unplanned happens (which is usually the case more often than not).
6. You don’t know half the things you are capable of doing. Starting a business takes a lot of courage, resilience and patience. I think had it not been for motherhood I might not be as the courage to do it.
Starting my own business has been very hard but also fulfilling. Working in a business related to motherhood is absolutely wonderful because at the end of the day, motherhood is still by far my favorite job. Milkii has been a work in progress and a passion for me to make breastfeeding a better experience for moms everywhere.
Arielle Nishimirwe is a mom from Montréal who faced challenges while breastfeeding her first child 3 years ago. She then began on a journey and started Milkii, a maternity lingerie wear that is reinventing breastfeeding.