Mom Interviews

Aruni Gunasegaram

Founder and President of Babble Soft

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What lessons from your first company are you applying to your second?

Put things in perspective. To many people, business is a game. A high-stakes game, in many cases. Those who realize that have a much easier time with the process, I think. Of course, when you are an entrepreneur, your business and your life are very closely intertwined, but it’s always good to step back and make sure you understand that they are two separate things and that your business is just one part of your life.

Pay attention to what potential investors, employees, and customers are saying. In many cases, if it’s too hard to please them, then it’s time to move on. You can’t resolve everything.

What’s most challenging part of your working-mom juggle?

Having to think about how every decision I make could potentially affect my role as mom and/or my role as business person. When your energy and mindshare are split in many more ways with little kids around, it can be hard to spend the time needed to fully research each decision or plan of action for you children OR your business. You have to rely more on your experience and intuition and hope for the best. This is part of the reason I decided to wait to put more of my energy and time into Babble Soft until the kids were older and settled into their preschools.

What advice would you give a working mom who is trying to start her own company? What pitfalls would you tell her to avoid?

Try to find a good partner to do it with. It’s always helpful when you have someone you can call to talk through a decision. Build an offline and online network of people who can help you. The pitfalls vary with whatever business you are in so it’s hard to say. I guess it would be “don’t let your business consume you.”

You have a great general attitude -- what motivates you besides, well, creating a super-successful company?

We are still inventing the “mom as high-tech entrepreneur” role. Women have been entrepreneurs forever. They have been taking care of little kids and running store fronts and working at WalMart with little to no help from their spouse so it can be done. But those of us who are in the tech world are still paving the way because it’s still seen very much as a lifestyle that has little time for family or self time. Having your children around like they might be in a family business does not work well in the high-tech world like it would say in a restaurant business. I hope to play a small part in helping to change that and shift people’s thinking away from “It can’t be done” to “It can be done and it must be done differently.”

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