3 Lessons I Learned from Working with My Mom at a Tech Startup
This is a guest post by Amanda L. Barbara, vice president of Pubslush.
Mother knows best when it comes to eating your veggies and cleaning your room, but does the old adage ring true when you’re all grown up and working at a tech startup?
For me and my mom, the answer is yes.
When she started Pubslush, she had limited funds to hire staff. I came on board to help with marketing and sales, and I eventually moved into the role of vice president as we grew the company together. Our clients are authors, and between the two of us, we can relate to everyone from the old-school, pen-and-paper types to those tapping away on their iPads.
We’ve always made an effective team, and people respond to our yin-and-yang dynamic. I bring the new generation’s perspective and approach, and she adds to that her wisdom and years of experience. Together, our energy and knowledge earn immediate respect.
And my mother’s traits have benefited me, too. Here are three lessons I’ve learned from working with Mom:
When I first started, I would panic when anything went wrong. My mom has taught me to breathe, take a moment, and figure out how to solve the problem. Because of her, I can manage anything from a small issue to a full-blown crisis.
I walk fast, speak fast, and shower fast; in life, I just move fast. Mom, on the other hand, has a sense of serenity and calm that many people strive to find. When I make presentations, she’s served as a great reminder to slow down so people really understand who we are and what we do. I have become an engaging speaker because of her, and just seeing her face in the audience keeps me calm.
Work hard, but have fun.
In the most serious moments, she reminds me to smile and laugh because together, we can take on the world. We’re constantly working; we go to bed at night talking about the day’s work and wake up in the morning thinking of new ideas. Through it all, we are always laughing, and that’s what makes our work such a joy. We have a partnership in our company and in life.
Of course, we have hiccups in our relationship, just like any mother-and-daughter team — or any employee and boss. One of our rules is that we never argue in front of our team, and we never discuss personal problems in the office. Work and the success of our business are so important to us that no disagreement is worth destroying our productivity or creating a negative environment for our employees.
There have been times when we’ve had to work around the generation gap. When we started, she didn’t know as much about social media. (I had to teach her what a hashtag was.) Now, she’s a “pinning” machine.
Sometimes I still fight her on the old ways of doing business, but once I see her wisdom, experience, and calm demeanor in action, I know why they say mother is always right.
Amanda L. Barbara is the vice president of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform for books. A philanthropist at heart, she serves on the board of directors for the Pubslush Foundation, which supports children’s literacy initiatives worldwide, and is a founder and director of The Barbara Family Foundation, an organization committed to assisting charities and children in need.