Have you wondered about the roots of your entrepreneurial spirit or how your childhood affected your career path? Take a minute, think about the backbone of your life, your center of gravity, the person you turn to to celebrate every success or grieve over each failure. It’s possible that you would not be the entrepreneur you are today if it wasn’t for her. Yes, her, your mom.
Whether she wanted it or not, liked it or not, she trained you in so many ways to have an entrepreneurial spirit. Her lessons on managing pocket money taught you how to bootstrap. Her tireless listening to your jealous rants taught you how to handle competition. Her tough and unbreakable rules about study and TV time trained you in time management, and while playing with you and faking a win or a loss, she introduced you to failure and helped you to accept it.
As Mother’s Day draws near (Saturday, March 21 in MENA), we at Wamda decided to pay tribute to the mothers behind some of our favorite entrepreneurs. We asked a handful of them to talk about habits and lessons their moms instilled in them, that could have fueled their entrepreneurial drive.
We also asked them to imagine their mom as an entrepreneur, and speculate about what she would be creating.
Elie Habib, co-founder of Anghami.com
“My mom taught me never to stop before I am satisfied with what I do. [Tweet this] Growing up, watching her work and cook from the wee hours of the day with a smile on her face made me realize that you should always love what you do so you can excel at it even if it is actually a lot.”
“Throughout my life, she had blind faith in me achieving my goals - maybe all mothers are supposed to be that way, but she really believed it, and repeated that to me till I believe she must be right!”
If my mom was an entrepreneur: “All moms are entrepreneurs by nature: They start by creating a “product” with a partner. Bootstrap to give it traction. Sacrifice all their time to focus on doing this one thing right. Focus on being creative and resourceful to sustain growth. Build features in the “product” such as smartness, manners and so on.”
“They nevertheless pursue a total hands-on approach to make it grow, then learn to delegate the product to a growing team of teachers in schools and universities.”
“This product might take up to 21 years to mature, much more than any VC fund. And even though the product exits to a different company with a husband/ wife as chairman, the original founder’s persistence remains unparalleled way beyond the exit.”
“Many Lebanese moms pivot: first they want their product to go to med school, then [they] settle with the organic growth it gets and help it remain sustainable.”
Abed Agha, founder of Vinelab
“I think most Lebanese mothers have grown up themselves during wars and challenging economic times."
"My mom couldn't help but try to [articulate] what could go wrong when I decided to move forward with launching my startup. And while a lot might think this would stand in their way, it somehow provided a reality check when all I could think of was a positive picture of the future.”
“Yet the moment I decided I wanted to move forward with my risky venture, all I get from her was positive vibes and prayers to succeed, [Tweet this] and sometimes that's all I need to hear to move forward.”
“The major lesson I got from her is her sixth sense. My mother has an ability to use emotions to read people and predict future behaviors, even when my manly objective brains refuse these predictions. That has given me tremendous insights about how we function as humans among each other. Mothers have a sixth sense that never goes wrong.”
If my mom was an entrepreneur: “My mother lives in Saudi and is already doing little business projects out of her home and is never shy of ideas that make her productive and provide income within the very limited resources she could make full use of.”
Yasmine el Mehairy, cofounder of Supermama.com
“My mom used a mixed approach of being both very strict regarding manners and grades, but also very flexible in terms of encouraging us to be ourselves, even if that is different from what society is expecting.”
“This taught us to take risks while being ready to take the blame and dealing with things going wrong [Tweet this] which in essence is what entrepreneurship is all about; take a calculated risk, and know how to deal with different situations around it.”
If my mom was an entrepreneur: “I imagine her in the education industry. With her background as a professor of medicine, I see her experience in teaching as a core asset which can be core in many businesses.”
Jihad Kawas, founder of Saily.co
“My mother is the best investor. She goes all-in every time, and never asks for a return on investments.” [Tweet this]
“She always believed in my decisions, always taught me how to convince her why what I'm doing is worth it. She funded me when I told her I needed to skip high school for a month to go to Silicon Valley and learn from the big guys (and here I am sending this email from SV while closing my seed round) and she is ready to do it again.”
“Whatever I am, whatever I become, is what she made.”
We hear and read over and over again that you should treat your startup as if it is your own “baby.” We also hear stories about entrepreneurs prioritizing sending that last email over grabbing that priceless moment with their kids. Your mom would have never done that. She prioritized you over everything else in the world including her own self.
So where are you taking your mom out this weekend?