I started my business Sugar Studios in 2011 on Etsy. It began to grow very quickly, so much in fact that I was able to help save enough money for a down payment on our new house!
Fast forward to 2016 and I was married, a new homeowner and pregnant with our first child.
Our son Ryan was born in March 2016 and I decided to close up shop and shut down my website and blog because I wanted to rebrand.
I figured my readers will be there waiting when I get back.
Well, in March of 2017 I returned to work after a long maternity leave and spent time redoing my branding and my website. I came back to… crickets.
In the past I had no problem booking work, there was always a new referral or someone who found me through my blog, Facebook or Etsy. My business was almost dead and I didn’t know why.
I soon realized that taking a year long break and shutting down my website was a HUGE mistake.
Google basically saw my website and all my years of hard work writing blog posts as irrelevant. Anyone who had stopped by my site looking for branding or a blog design had probably assumed I was out of business (even though my hold page message explained I would be back soon).
The world I came back to while I was off seemed to have completely evolved. Entrepreneurs were younger and more capable of creating their own logos and websites using templates.
It was a tough road back and I felt like I was starting all over again.
The silver lining was that I found new ways to market my business using social media. I had down time to find new interesting opportunities for more work. I also had time to write meaningful blog posts and create new content for my site.
I had to have faith that my business would regain the success I once had.
So with our next child, you can bet I will NOT be closing down my business.
Here’s some tips on how to handle your business when on maternity leave (or any kind of leave):
Schedule blog posts ahead of time
Schedule as many social media posts as you can ahead of time
Make yourself available to answer emails and respond to comments (on a limited basis)
Take on less projects for a short period of time
Make your current clients aware that you might be a little slow to respond but that you will be available
Setup an email auto reply and explain when a response can be expected
If possible, hire a VA (virtual assistant) to handle leads, marketing, etc.
Be careful not to overbook
Get your business finances in order (turn off any automatic billing you don’t need)
What do you think of this article? Do you have any questions for me? Ask me in the comments box below!
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True story: In 2016 I closed my business for 1 year after having our son and it was the BIGGEST mistake I've ever made. I totally get how overwhelming it can be to build an online business while raising a family... um, 3am work nights fueled by a pot of coffee - been there!
Which is why I've dedicated Sugar Studios + this blog to helping entrepreneurs like YOU build the business you've been dreaming of.