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Success hacks: What a housewife can teach an entrepreneur

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Husbands, families, economists, and governments are finally realizing the worth of a ‘housewife’. In 1995, Prof Diane Elson of Essex University termed the world of a woman at home as the ‘Economy of care’. Subsequent research has proven the work of housewives as the hidden backbone of an economy.

They not only provide emotional warmth to the family, are pros at crisis management, can move mountains of laundry and serve a party spread despite an exhausting day. Masters of multi-tasking, housewives can teach priceless lessons in entrepreneurship too. Here are our top six:

Out of the box? Absolutely: The out-of-the-box thinking is a skill that has been repeated so often, it has become clichéd. But it will never go out of fashion.

Remember how your mother could fashion a cape for you out of her blue scarf when you were small? And don’t you admire the way a sad-looking soup is spruced up with croutons and freshly-ground pepper by the lady of the house?

Housewives know the many uses of baking soda in cleaning the house, and they keep learning new ways of adding healthy food to the family’s diet. For entrepreneurs, this thinking out-of-the-box skill and being on one’s toes always can be quite useful.

Love what you do: In entrepreneurship, there will be good days, and there will be not-so-good days. Just like it is for a housewife. She ends up burning or spoiling the dinner sometimes. At times she’s running late for her morning chores.

It’s not always possible for her to resolve her teenage son’s angst. And sometimes she does want to take the day off. But she still loves what she does and won’t change it for the world. Do you love what you do to that extent?

Time is money: A housewife knows the value of planning and executing everything on time like few people do. It’s not only about thinking the following day’s menu a day before, or covering the details of a birthday party a month in advance.

For her, it is also about not taking calls when she’s fixing breakfast on a weekday, and utilizing the half-hour ‘break’ to water the plants. Working hard and meeting deadlines are essential for every entrepreneur.

Stay on the learning curve: Ever noticed how women of the house learn to quickly ace bread-making, hacks for keeping the house odor-free, or quick-fix meals for the hungry?

For entrepreneurs too, there is no end to learning-on-the-job; the quicker you learn the lesson, the sooner you can move on.

Adapt, evolve: Housewives have moved to new cities and flown off to foreign shores just because of their husband’s jobs. They adapt to new places, new cultures, make friends, learn new dishes, celebrate festivals, and set-up homes in new houses as if it’s the easiest thing to do.

In today’s corporate world that reminds one of Darwin’s law of natural selection- adapting and evolving is crucial.

Managing data: She remembers everyone’s birthday and never misses anniversaries, knows her husband’s cousin’s wife is pregnant, and her son’s best friend’s mother is unwell. All this while also keeping a tab on the cookies that are vanishing faster than they should!

Her mental alarm rings off just in time for a dental appointment and she is almost always on time for a parent-teacher’s meeting. If she didn’t drop a hint about her husband’s promise of a dinner date this weekend, it doesn’t mean she’s forgotten all about it. Database management in style? Very much.

Dear entrepreneurs, no wonder, you have got a lot to learn from the efficient housewives. 

Edition: December 2016

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