When I took my first maternity leave as a business owner, I did everything wrong.
I had no idea what to expect as a first time mother and I basically shut down my business for almost a year. This was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made with my business.
Now that I’m preggo with baby number two, I have a new plan in place for this maternity leave.
Going through a major life change while owning a business isn’t easy. Usually there’s no one to take over for you, and your business can’t just be put on hold.
If you’re planning to take a maternity leave or any planned long-term absence from your business, here are some necessary steps you’ll want to take.
1. What to Tell Your Clients
It’s your choice how, if or when you choose to tell your clients you will be taking a maternity leave. Each client is different and some clients may react well to your news, while some may panic. If you have an ongoing project with a client, you’ll want to address some important points:
How long you plan to be unavailable
How they can reach you
Who will be taking over for you, if anyone
When you plan to return to work
Any essential information your client might need if you are unavailable (such as account logins/passwords)
2. Plan Social Media Posts in Advance
One of the biggest mistakes I made when closing my business for my first maternity leave was disappearing from social media. I figured if I wasn’t taking on new clients, there was no point in trying to be active on social media – so wrong!
You can plan your social media posts ahead of time using an app like Planoly. With Planoly you can schedule days, weeks or even months worth of Instagram and Facebook posts ahead of time.
Sign up for Planoly
3. Have a Plan, But Expect Be Flexible
When having a baby, there are a lot of unknowns. You won’t know how your body is going to feel post-delivery, how much sleep you’ll be getting, if your recovery will be longer than planned, if you struggle with nursing, postpartum depression, or maybe your baby will have colic and cry all the time. I had to deal a lot of these things and unfortunately I had no idea how hard it would all be while trying to run a business.
If you’re planning to keep working, give yourself a break and don’t put too much pressure on yourself by committing to deadlines with clients.
Taking off some time is ideal, but don’t set an exact date for when you HAVE to return to work. You may find it works better to ease back into your business.
My New Plan
This time around I’ll be taking a short break from work and then easing back into projects slowly as we adjust to our new life.
I have no idea what it’s really going to be like taking care of a newborn and a toddler while running a business. All I can do is learn from my past experience and stay connected to my business.
Tell me some of your questions or concerns with taking a maternity leave from your own business in the comments below!
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.