This is not strictly a marketing blog post so please forgive me, but it is about an issue that I am currently tackling and I’m sure I’m not alone – as a business owner, how do I manage my business and have a baby?
So being really honest here – I have been quite stressed about this. My main issues have been: will I be able to take time off from my business? If I do, will I have a business to go back to? How do I manage my workload / client expectations? What am I entitled to (if anything) in the absence of maternity leave?
These are the questions that have been whirring around my mind in the middle of the night which haven’t been helped by the genuine lack of information out there. There seems to be quite a lot of knowledge and support for women in full-time employment, but for those of us who run our own businesses, there is a shockingly lack of information.
I find this really short-sighted, especially in the world we live in when there is around a 25% increase in women starting their own businesses (sadly as a reaction to needing more flexibility, work/life balance and bad maternity leave experiences – but this is a whole other blog post!).
I mentioned my woes to the very wonderful Caroline Flanagan who is an expert on this and author of Baby Proof Your Career – The Secret To Balancing Work And Family So You Can Enjoy It All.
I am lucky enough to be working with Caroline on getting myself and my business ready to take a short amount of time off when baby is here and, you know, not feeling guilty about it!
The biggest learning, I have taken away so far is to re-frame what is happening and ensuring that what I can control, pre-empt and plan, I do, and the things I can’t, I stop worrying about.
Here are a few tips that I have implemented to appease the control freak in me – I hope they can help you too:
Install a positive mindset
This is something that Caroline has really helped me with. Things are good! I’m having a baby. I have a wonderful business. I needed to shift my natural state from worry and anxiety to positivity, proactiveness and purpose. I did this by really looking at the great things and focussing on them above everything else and having done that, I feel great!
Do as much planning as you can
There are things I can do to get ready and once I implement these things, I feel a lot better and a lot more in control. This includes – planning with my clients the strategy for when I’m off, preparing as much work as possible pre-baby, sorting my invoices out and making sure I get paid on time from my clients (again a whole other blog post!) so I can plan my financial structure and outgoings for when I’m off.
Get some help in the interim
I currently work with the lovely Abi who runs the social media on some of my clients’ accounts. Abi is going to be ‘on call’ when I’m off to be the go-to if my clients need and this has made me feel SO much better! The thought of downing tools and being unreachable as a brand for my clients is not happening – there should always be someone at the end of an email or phone if there are any issues and queries so knowing Abi will be there has made things a lot better. It is definitely worth just handing the reigns to someone when you’re planning to be off just for your own peace of mind and especially in a business like mine when I have to be reactory, having someone there is imperative.
Know you’re not alone!
Since putting the bat signal out there, I have spoken to so many other women who are in a similar situation to me and have similar worries. Speaking to them and for us all to know we’re not on our own really does help. .
So, for the next three months or so, myself and my positive mindset will be getting as much in place as possible ready to take my few weeks off with the baby and it feels good. I am super excited I get to spend some proper time with them but I’m also feeling confident that my business will be in a good shape to go back to which I’m also really excited about – after all, that was my first baby!