• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

A Pregnant Pause For The New Wave of Female Executives

Pregnant-Woman

By Heddi Cundle (Founder & CEO, myTab)

A friend recently complained that she’s not seen me for ages and expressed her disappointment that I hadn’t gone to her baby shower. I explained that I am incredibly busy with myTab.co, my startup, and how it’s a round-the-clock business.

She still didn’t understand why I’d not be interested in her new motherhood, coo’ing her with the type of attention any expecting mother… expects.

I told her that I’m simply too busy, I have my own baby and she wasn’t around to help while I was pregnant, so she can’t expect me to be around her with her pregnancy. She was floored with my answer! But, think about it this way — giving birth to a startup is a lifestyle decision, especially if your friends are not parents and don’t have startups of their own.

Creating a startup entails at least 9 months of hard work, no sleep and dealing with each trimester: the 1st phase where you don’t tell anyone what you’re working on for fear of being jinxed; the 2nd phase where you’re starting to develop coding & UI, feeling the emotions from lack of sleep start to heighten as your startup begins to shape; the 3rd and final phase where you are just fed up, ankles are swollen, craving wine, don’t like anyone including your co-founder and just want it to be over.

And then you give birth. Your baby startup pops out one day and instead of causing havoc, it just sits there, like a wet slab of gorgeous UI, yet barely a nod. Then you realize that you need to feed it! It only eats traction and it’s not surviving until it gets media attention, becomes adored by users, and comforted by engineers. But then it eats too much and spits up (aka crashes). It’s a nonstop process in the first few months and then when you think you’re slightly home-free and can relax, it suddenly sprouts up and needs new clothing (features).

Your startup is craving additional bells and whistles, demanding development and pushing you to your limits. This is now the time that you need to step up and take control again. You’re the boss, not your startup baby. But since more users are scrambling to check your crowning glory out, you do need to give them a great show so you succumb to more sleepless nights.

Then, a flurry of mini startups, which are not as pretty as yours, copycat you and try to steal your baby’s idea. This is when you get really protective and the gloves come on. You’ll fight tooth and nail to ensure your startup will always be #1, so the cycle begins once again. This continues right up until the little one graduates and the hope that your startup will now have a lovely Exit Strategy that comes with a cap and gown…or a fat wallet and a 10 year overdue vacation.

If this sounds too familiar and a simple explanation of all things motherhood, then it’s about time more women became entrepreneurs. Our bodies are designed for this kind of nurturing, multi-tasking, brain power and achievement.

The new Fortune ‘Ones to Watch’ 40 Under 40 show even more women galloping in high heels to stabilize the male/female ratio. The power teams at PhoCusWright and Startup America Partnership are just steamrolling through at a rate of knots and producing incredible results. These are women that I work with weekly on collaborations with myTab.co (yes, second plug, I know. Shameless!) are relentless and just brilliant.

I’m not saying we need to make a National “Bring your future FEO friend to work… day” but there does need to be a buddy system of encouragement for the next breed of female entrepreneurs. The ones who hear their gal pals wired about an idea and instead of partially dismissing it, maybe chip in to help. Even if it’s 5% of your workload a month, every bit counts.

Our bodies are designed to withstand more tenacity, a longer burn ratio of endurance and stronger determination. And on the big plus side of guarantees, a startup will not cause stretch marks! All the more reason to jump on board and bring the next 5 years up to speed that includes more lipstick, a different brain pattern and a heavy increase in FEO’s.

Boy bands are now history — even the men are confirming it. There’s nothing more amusing in validation than being fed up with your own gender! Which is why they have Ladies Night promotions at bars… because we know how to make a startup happen. Think about that while you sip your decaf double espresso semi skimmed (on the cusp of non fat) grande latte something, pouring over Exec Summaries at 3am…

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

Heddi CundleAbout the guest blogger: Heddi Cundle is Founder and CEO of mytab.co, an online social travel gift card where friends and family can gift, save, plan, share and book travel — all within myTab. Heddi has 18 years of PR & Marketing experience, from travel and hospitality to TV, consumer retail, technology and music. Credentials include co-launching the phenomenon London Roadhouse Flair Bartending competitions. Follow her on Twitter at @HeddiCundle.

  • http://www.phacia.com Karen Shank

    I absolutely love this analogy! I have and am living the exact scenario today. Many of my friends and past collegues have brought to my attention the same “lack of motherhood interest and coo’ing”, as you put it. I feel sometimes (ok, most of the time), the lack of support and attention that I feel and felt I needed through this first time experience they call start-up. Thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling and thinking for months!

  • Mina

    Great article Heddi! Loved it! Full of energy and motivation!