Writing this as we approach my first Father’s Day, I cannot recall what time was like before my son arrived. Everything changed immediately, and it continues to do so on an hourly basis. He goes from sleeping to crying to sitting to eating to, well, everything else, in a flash.
The same has to be said about launching a business. On 1 January 2020, I launched an agency. It was originally just me, but 18 months later, we’re a team of 12. Time feels sped up on all fronts – although, instead of dealing with dirty nappies and feeding schedules, it’s chasing late payments and trying to migrate our emails from one server to another (hint: it didn’t go well).
Having been in PR for over a decade, I didn’t expect it to be simple, but I only found out how much I really didn’t know until it happened. Like becoming a parent, there’s a load of learning on the job and relying on your instincts to make the right decisions.
In both worlds, I’ve quickly (and often with tears) found out the hard way that everything needs to be over-communicated. From co-ordinating bottle cleaning and sterilising duties with my wife to working with a dozen PRs working with clients in five time zones from a series of bedrooms and kitchen tables throughout the UK.
Even as professional communicators, we had to teach ourselves the best ways to work remotely, and now working both in and out of the office.
With anything new and exciting, my tendency is to throw everything at it. But that doesn’t always work. There are much better PRs than me. There are people who can get my baby to sleep much quicker than me. So, over the past year, I’ve accepted that my skills aren’t suitable for every task, and that alignment with team-mates (both in the office and at home) has become essential to success.
Trust has been a massive part of the past 18 months; getting new people to trust in me with zero history – whether it's clients, employees or my newborn – has and will be essential to our future.
I’ve learned that it’s OK to bring in the experts, whether that’s a freelance journalist or sleep consultant. These people know the right noises to make to have an impact, so trust them.
As with any relatively new relationship, we all have to work much harder to show them that we’ll do our very best. There will be tantrums, sleepless nights and plenty of stuff thrown on the floor, and sometimes you’ll question why you even try. But all of that pales into insignificance when they smile at you.
Happy Father’s Day.
Nick Braund is the founder of Words + Pixels