The number of stay-at-home dads in the U.S. has surged to roughly 2 million, a 90 percent increase since 1989, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Although stay-at-home dads are becoming a new norm, there are still stigmas associated. Because of the antiquated belief that men are the family breadwinners, many see stay-at-home fatherhood as a loss of income, lack of desire to work and shortage of domestic knowledge.
What people tend to forget, though, is the innovative ground these stay-at-home dads have broken. Domestic dads tend to inherently have key characteristics that make them successful—appreciating experiences, ignoring stigmas and going above and beyond to name a few. When applied to other areas—such as entrepreneurship and running a business—these same skills and characteristics can translate into high levels of success.
So, entrepreneurs should take a page out of the stay-at-home dad handbook and apply these six invaluable lessons for growing a budding business:
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1. Be Authentic
In a world where authenticity is scarce, commit to being the genuine version of yourself—and your business. Don’t let anything or anyone alter your goals, passions or values. In the realm of stay-at-home dads, hidden agendas aren’t welcome. Don’t make them acceptable in entrepreneurship either.
A great way to stay authentic is by designating an accountability partner to keep your priorities in check. This can be someone within your business or even an objective friend. Stay-at-home dads often have partners with which they share goals and accomplishments, so take note and establish similar collaborators.
2. Appreciate Each Experience
Every first (and second, and third) should be savored. You’ll be thankful later that you took in all the moments that got you to where you are today. It may be cliché, but every experience will be a lesson learned. Just like mastering how to discipline your children or which route to take to school, welcoming each adventure will help you succeed in the end.
Make sure to recognize the accomplishments and even the learning experiences of team members—no matter how insignificant the events may seem. Sharing these with your team can help you establish best practices and evolve as a business, keeping the entire team engaged in the company’s success.
Similarly, stay-at-home dads have learned to encourage their child’s growth by applauding their accomplishments and pointing out situations in which they can learn.
3. Be Devoted
It’s hard to make something grow when you aren’t dedicated to seeing it flourish. Your project should be your passion and vice versa. If you feel like it’s losing that spark, take the time to rekindle your excitement. It’s easy to see how the chaos of everyday life could burn out a dad, but the second his kid says “please” or gets that first “A,” it makes everything worth it.
When you’re the boss, it’s easy to come in late or take some extra vacation days, but it’s important to set definite standards for yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to be at the office 24/7, though. Stay devoted—but not drained—by laying out a plan for your time off and sticking to it. Dads also need to establish specific ways to stay enthusiastic. This could be joining a parenting group or allotting valuable time for themselves.
4. Be an Early Adopter
Aren’t sure about the newest trend? If you think it could work for you, try it out early. No harm, no foul if you decide to drop it later on. If it does work out, it could give you the edge you need to succeed. Moms have typically been the stay-at-home parent in past years, but some families have now adopted this new family structure in their homes. It may be unconventional, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work for some.
Trying out new software and technology could help your team become more productive. And doing this early could mean that your efforts are streamlined before anyone else’s. Dads are early adopters in more ways than one. From revolutionary social practices to parenting methods, these guys take on the unexplored like experts.
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5. Ignore Stigmas
Some of the most successful people had to overcome stigmas before ascending to accomplishment (think Bill Gates, Walt Disney and Jackie Robinson). Ignore stigmas that are holding you back from pursuing your dream. As stay-at-home dads have learned, disregarding criticisms can be worth it in the end.
In the business world, failure is frowned upon. But just because you failed once doesn’t mean you’re going to fail again. Don’t let what other people think stop you from trying again and again. Dads are can be looked at as the family buffoons—the Homer Simpsons and Phil Dunphys of the world. But stay-at-home dads everywhere prove they don’t have to succumb to this stigma.
6. Go Above and Beyond
It may not include baking brownies for your child’s soccer team, but there are many things you can do to take your success to the next level. Many people are average, but few excel. The winners in business are those who take the time to go that extra mile—your employees, partners and customers will appreciate the extra attention and dedication.
Going above and beyond could mean ensuring your customer experience is phenomenal or keeping your employees extra happy with a unique company culture. Small touches like handwritten notes and personal phone calls to customers and employees go a long way to create long-lasting relationships and loyalty.
From entertaining crafts to special outings, dads are always thinking of new ways to help their kids have fun, which in turn makes their jobs a little easier.
Even if you’re not taking on full-time stay-at-home dad duties àla famous TV fathers Joel Graham or Cameron Tucker, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply these practices to embrace your role and become effective in whatever you do. These men are doing incredible things and so can you.