By Bonnie Kuhl, Founder of Archer & Olive
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m such a workaholic! When you own your own business, you kinda have to be. And I actually really enjoy it (like so happy vacation is over, so I can get back to work kinda enjoy it). So when I found out I was pregnant with our first child (yay!) the idea of taking time off for maternity leave seemed like such a drag. Am I going to miss working? How will my business make money? I can have a newborn, and keep up with the day to day, right? But then the first trimester tiredness hit – I couldn’t keep up with washing my hair, let alone keep my business running efficiently. I’ve never had a baby before, but I hear they pretty much turn you into a zombie for the first few weeks. It’s probably best I plan some time to rest (ha). Oh, and time to bond with the kid and all.
So great, time off is necessary, but how do I achieve this while keeping my business running? As with most things, it all comes down to planning. I know every mama’s business, personal life, and maternity leave will be different so this isn’t a one size fits all solution. Hopefully this blog gives you the tools (or at least the motivation) to plan your own successful maternity leave.
Do everything you can in advance
This was probably 90% of prepping for my maternity leave. With Archer and Olive – social media, blog posts, and designing free downloads requires the most time. Slacking on these would be devastating for my business. But the good news is, I’m able to create all of this content now and schedule it to post later. About half way through my pregnancy, I started doubling up on daily tasks (write a blog post for today, and one for maternity leave. Take an IG photo for today, and one for maternity leave). By the time baby arrives, I’ll have a nice cache of content. The social media posts, freebies, and blogs my clients have come to expect will continue running on schedule. Download this free printable to help with scheduling your maternity leave!
What about tasks that can’t be scheduled? For me, that would be shipping out orders. I’ll be hiring a part time employee to cover the shipping while I’m out. Some of you might find hiring a virtual assistant to answer emails and schedule new clients (upon your return, of course) helpful. Hiring help costs money, which brings me to my next point:
Plan ahead by saving
Even if you expect your business to run at the same capacity while you’re away, it’s a good idea to have a little extra in savings. I’m saving a bit each week to pay a part time employee. Saving is especially important if you’re in the service industry and all your income depends on your ability to produce work for your clients. In this case, come up with a savings plan that that allows you to pay yourself while you aren’t working.
Set realistic expectations/timelines with existing clients
Make sure your existing clients, are aware of your maternity leave plans. Schedule projects to finish at least a week before maternity leave is scheduled to start. This way, those inevitable last minute “Omg, this is an emergency” emails won’t cut into your maternity leave.
Ease back into it when you’re ready
Of course everyone’s business, pregnancy, and maternity leave will be different. It’s important to remember work will always be there if you need to feel normal for an hour a two. You don’t have to totally cut it out, but it’s good to have the option. You’ll have peace of mind knowing everything will be taken care of for those days you’re knee deep in diapers, or just want to spend all day cuddling baby.
For more on Bonnie and Archer & Olive, follow her on Instagram at Archer & Olive