When I was a kid, I spent the first week of winter break baking cookies. I’d open my mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook and find my favorite recipes. I made a different type of cookie every day. Back then, we didn’t go to camp in the winter, but I had created my own holiday cookie camp.
Fast forward to today: my middle school kids want to spend their winter break playing Minecraft or Candy Crush. But I vow to make at least one batch of homemade cookies with my kids. I found a recipe for the Christmas Tree Cookie online and took out the butter to soften. I bet there’s a holiday cookie camp somewhere out there, but it’s nice to have your own in-house camp.
If baking isn’t your thing, you’ll find almost as much variety in winter camps as summer camps. Jewelry making, aviation, robotics, and Spanish are just a few camps of the camps I see in my neighborhood. I hope they inspire the next generation to do what they love.
ActivityHero co-founder Shilpa Dalmia was asked by Women 2.0 how she manages to balance the demands of a family with kids and a startup company. Here’s what she had to say:
Many people ask, “How do you balance work and life with two young kids and a startup?”
My answer is, “The same way you raise three kids.” A startup is just like another child. Each child has his/her/its own demands and needs, and each gives you immense satisfaction and pleasure.
Here are some tips for parents thinking about venturing into the world of entrepreneurship:
Tip #1 – Treat your startup like another baby.
Each child is a full-time job. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself if you are ready to handle another child. You go through similar stages and emotions running a startup as you do while raising a child:
Market research, testing ideas, joining entrepreneurial communities for a startup is similar to researching what’s right for you child and joining parenting groups.
Picking out names.
Celebrating little milestones like your startup’s first soft-launch and pilot customer are like celebrating a baby’s first smile and first step.
Every day is a challenge, lots of unknowns, unpredictability.
Realizing that this is something you cannot stop being attached to. Just like you cannot stay away from your kids, you cannot stay away from working on your startup.
Tip #2 – Involve your kids in your startup.
Make them feel part of it so there is no sibling rivalry. There will be times when you can do things together as a family – designing the logo, coming up with names for your company, discussing challenges – let them help you wherever they can.
My eight year old daughter is so excited about my startup that she begged to dress up as my company mascot for Halloween last week!
Tip #3 – Your spouse plays an extremely important role.
His/her support, both mental and physical, can make a huge difference in dealing with the stress factor.
Tip #4 – Quality more important than quantity when it comes to time.
Do the things you enjoy doing the most – like cooking or driving kids around or playing board games or reading – and delegate the rest. I cannot stress the importance of delegating and not getting caught up with doing things you hate. Hire help – cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping. This is part of the startup investment you’re making.
Tip #5 – Make sure your finances are in order.
Don’t let that add to your stress. Remember, you are not the 20 year old college kid who can live in a suitcase and has nothing much to lose.
Tip #6 – Give your 100% to the task at hand.
Remember, each child is a full-time job. And in order to do justice to each, you need to give each one your complete attention. If you’re spending time with your child doing their favorite activity, don’t do anything else. Shut off your phone, do not check emails. When you’re working at home, let your kids know that this is your work time and you do not want to be disturbed.
Tip #7 – Take a vacation.
Yes, you cannot be entirely disconnected while on vacation, but make sure to take a break. It’s important for both you and your family’s sanity.
Tip #8 – Remember, your co-founder is like your spouse.
You are raising this baby together, so make sure one of you is always there to take care of this baby. It’s important to make sure that you not only have complementary skills, but also complementary timings so when you have your cellphone off or you are on your little family vacation, you know your baby is still well taken care of.
At the end of the day, it will be the respect that you have for each other and the love for your baby that will see your company through both the good times and bad.
Co-founder of Activity Hero Chandini Ammineni pitches to a crowd of investors and fellow entrepreneurs. Chandini started off her entrepreneurial career building and selling tools to Industrial Automation companies until she was convinced by Shilpa to join the ActivityHero team.
Co-founders Chandini Ammimeni, Peggy Chang, and Shilpa Dalmia enjoying an afternoon at the pool. ActivityHero was formed when Chandini joined forces with Shilpa and Peggy, each desiring a less time consuming and easier method of selecting activities for their kids.
Co-founder Shilpa Dalmia admits that one of her most challenging and satisfying roles has been raising her two kids and seeking out the best for them. She hopes that ActivityHero will help busy parents find the right after-school activities for their children.
ActivityHero Co-founder Peggy and her daughter Kaitlyn “traveled” to London while at the Gymnastics Olympic Trial Finals in San Jose, CA. Kaitlyn started training for competitive gymnastics in January and now trains 9 hours a week; but it took Peggy 3 months to get Kaitlyn enrolled in a gymnastics program because she was unsure of where to go! Peggy hopes that ActivityHero will help parents find good activity providers faster so that kids can pursue their interests right away.