100 days ago I took a chance on me and decided to launch Toronto’s Mat Leave Map. The website was something I’d thought up while on my first mat leave four years ago. Last October, I impulsively hired a web developer on Twitter in the U.K. I’m not sure I would recommend this or would suggest if you go this route to investigate them a bit more than I did. When I finally received access to the website, I let it sit as I thought it wasn’t perfect. Working in digital is a blessing and a curse sometimes. At work, we got through so many different layers of testing and ensuring that all of the products we are working on are as perfect as can be. Not being a developer myself, I knew that the site needed some work.
Why did I decide to launch it knowing that it wasn’t perfect?
In August I was one month into my second mat leave and had a sleepy newborn on my hands. I’d been thinking about the site a lot and why I was scared to do anything with it. A lot of it had to do with the pressure I put on myself for it to be perfect. Other reasons included what would happen if I failed. I didn’t have a business plan for it, but in my heart it was something that I was proud of. So, one night I just decided to go for it and to hit launch. The tipping point for me was asking myself “what would happen if I didn’t do it?”. I was tired of looking back and saying “I’d wish I’d done this or kept X blog up”.
What have I learned 100 days in?
As I got close to the 100 day mark I started thinking about the things that I’ve learned – either about myself or the site. Here are five (+1) things that have stuck with me.
- I’m proud of me. This may sound silly, but I’m proud that I’ve done this and taken chances. I’ve reached out to countless businesses and individuals to see if they wanted to be a part of the site. I get so excited when I get email responses saying yes! Cold calls are not my forte, so this is putting me out of my comfort zone for sure.
- It is really nice to have a creative outlet. I’ve missed having a place where I can be me and be creative. There are no approvals and no pressure. This has allowed me to really open up and try things. I’ve said to friends recently that my mantra this time is what is the worst thing that can happen? This has allowed me to experiment and reach out to others on collaboration opportunities.
- People are generally nice. I’ve really been blown away by the positive support that I’ve received about Toronto’s Mat Leave Map – either online or in person. In person I’m always a bit shy about talking about it, so this is something I need to work on.
- At the core I want this site to help parents. My goal for the site has not changed over the last 100 days. I really hope that it is an accessible and useable resource that helps parents in Toronto find out what to do and how to build a community as a new parent. There’s lots I want to do with the site, but with a baby on the hip I have to be patient with myself. What I want to build this to is an incremental thing – it won’t happen overnight.
- It can be easy to compare yourself to others. I don’ think it matters how old you are, but you can still get caught up in the comparison trap, especially on social. I’m working hard at not focusing on this and instead focusing on how the content I share contributes rather than competes.
Last, but not least I want to thank all of you who have supported and been a part of this journey so far. I truly appreciate all of the messages you send and the connections I’m building!