a baby and a startup

Desmond, co-founder of online marketing agency DGTLbase, provides 4 tips for a successful combination of entrepreneurship and family life.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. At DGTLbase, our co-founder Emma Morrison celebrates this herself for the first time as a mother. And there is definitely something to celebrate. Seven months before Emma gave birth to her healthy son George, her second ‘baby’ was born: the online marketing agency DGTLbase.

The company, which we founded on January 1, 2021 with 3 partners, has grown into a big little kid: our team now has 16 employees. race DGTLbase, and 2 e-commerce platforms in addition, is not nothing. Especially not in combination with taking care of a very small baby. We are therefore very proud of Emma: for us, she is a huge inspiration for women and anyone who wants to do business.

Do you run a family and a startup?

When you think of a ‘startup’, you quickly think of a handful of thieves who do not have a very clear separation between their work and private life. For childless workaholics. The stereotypical image can prevent potential future founders from starting a startup and prevent talents from getting a job with a startup. Because it seems very overwhelming to run a business and start a family at the same time.

A shame, because it can actually be done! For us, two important conditions are attached to this.

First and foremost, it is important to create a corporate culture where everyone enjoys family-friendly working conditions. For example, consider flexible working hours.

In addition, we place great emphasis on diversity and inclusiveness. In practice, companies that fully commit to this appear more innovative and productive and have extra satisfied customers and employees. Important if you need flexibility to keep all the balls in the air.

Co-founder Desmond: “Emma rocker! She has proven that it can go well together to have a baby and start a startup.”

Work as it suits you and your life

At DGTLbase, we love our close team, we support each other and give each other space where necessary. Would we call our team a family like many hip agencies do? Not necessarily. We are realistic and critical of the relationship between employee and employer. Everyone has a private life, even a real family.

We believe it is important that employees are always given the space to be who they want to be – in a way that best suits their privacy. Within our company, our people as individuals come first.

This also applies to us as employers. For Emma, ​​this personal interpretation meant that after George’s birth, she could soon work in the office a few hours a week. She lives within walking distance, which made breastfeeding possible longer than expected. George is already a real SEO specialist on his way from his sling! In the absence of a nanny, he even attended a job interview with a new team member. We are therefore considering using him during our sales talks, due to his charm and beautiful curls.

growing together

With the arrival of George, our core value of ‘growing together’ has taken on another dimension: We find it important that the growth of DGTLbase also benefits our team and their personal development.

It also seems to work well the other way around. The journey of discovery Emma made last year has had a positive effect on our business. The experiences and insights Emma has gained by combining the work of DGTLbase with caring for George are lessons we would like to take from her to continue to grow our business.

Co-founder Karim: “Emma’s experiences from the past year as co-founder and mother are lessons we use to further develop DGTLbase.”

4 Important Success Factors

We have discovered four striking parallels between Emma’s role in our growth online marketing bureau and her role as a mother. These are three success factors that can help you as an entrepreneur build a successful business and help you as a new parent.

Tip 1: Have a good team of people around you

A newborn baby grows fast, just like a startup. Whether it’s taking care of your baby or working for your business, make sure you have the right people in the right place. People who understand what you are doing know where you want to grow and who can take over from you if needed. The practical help from people in your immediate environment, private and business, is worth its weight in gold and will help you further.

Tip 2: Dare to let go

Nothing is harder than giving up control. Whether it’s the babysitter or a team member taking over the work from you. It is often primarily about trust. Be clear in what you want and what is important to you, but leave room for the other person to fill it in their own way. Dare to let go gives you space and time to pick up other things and your team gets the chance to step outside their comfort zone, learn new things and boost their confidence.

Tip 3: Focus on the bigger picture

It is easy to get lost in the details, especially when your attention is required on multiple fronts. To keep the growth goals of DGTLbase sharp, we started working with OKRs: Goals and Key Results. This allows us to focus on the big picture – which will help us move forward and achieve success. It makes it easier to separate the important things from the less important things.

Tip 4: Accept and stay flexible

Of course, there will always be situations where things do not go as you expected. Young children are sometimes suddenly sick and are only too happy to share their viruses with you. Or like George until recently, they will not sleep whenever you want. With broken nights and very little energy as a result.

To grow up is to learn and embrace

Just as your toddler does not always do what you want, things can also be different in your company than you thought or wanted. Then it’s just one thing: Accept the new situation, adjust your plans and learn from the changes. For example, we now know better which type of customer suits us (and which type does not). These, sometimes unexpected, lessons form the basis of 2022. With this foundation, we dare to set a growth ambition of 60% for 2022 and who knows, for even more DGTL babies.

Starting a business with a stroller in one hand and a pitch tire in the other is a real challenge, no one will deny it. Combining the two requires a good deal of flexibility and a solid forward-looking vision. The more people embrace this flexibility, the more people will realize that they do not have to choose between starting a business and having a baby.

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