The title of this post is a little misleading... From my experience in the past running my company and having two kids during this time, there's really no "maternity leave" as such where you drop off the map for several weeks or months, but with expecting my next baby in 3 weeks I can give you some pointers on how to ease the pressure in preparation for your new arrival.
How My First Two Went...
Just to give you a little background of my experience, before I share my Top 10 Tips...
I've had my children at various stages of my business so with each one, it's been different. Variations primarily include number of clients and team members, for instance when I had my first child my client base was small, I ran my Virtual Assistant Business on my own, my son was born at home so I was able to carry on completely as normal and most of my clients had no idea I had a baby - it was that seamless.
The next child was born 15 months later, during that time I had increased my client base, and had team members which certainly helped, but it was a similar scenario, I had arranged a home birth, but last minute was told I had to go to hospital, however 4 hours after having my daughter I checked myself out (against the will of every doctor), took my baby home and was back tending to emails the same day.
It really was okay, I was a little tired but took it easy for a bit while I settled into my routine. The beauty of having an internet business is that there's no heavy lifting, commuting or set hours you have to be there ;-)
Fast forward to today - my son is 6, my daughter is 5 and my next baby is due any time now. My business is much larger in scale than ever, but surprisingly, I think this will be the smoothest transition because of it.
So what can you do to prepare your business for your baby? Well, here are my Top Tips!
#1 - Block out your calendarAs soon as you find out your due date block out 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after (at least). Babies are unpredictable when it comes to when they'll arrive and you don't want to be going into labour worrying about your 5pm client consultation the same day that's going to need rescheduling.
#2 - Close off projectsAs soon as I know I'm pregnant I have a cut off date for intaking new projects, this generally depends on the project, but I would say don't start something like a website build less than 3 months before your due date. What you're looking to do is go over all your current projects and make a plan of action on closing them around 2 weeks (or sooner) before your due date.
#3 - Notify clients
I don't stop working after the baby is born, I carry on knowing I've laid a good foundation for keeping things as light as possible, but if you would like to take some time off, make sure you give your clients plenty of notice to make other arrangements, and give them a date as to when you're going to be back to help manage their expectations, or give yourself time to get some help on board for handling tasks and enquiries while you're off.
#4 - Notify subscribers
#5 - Autoresponder
#6 - Working While Feeding
#7 - Automatic Swing
#8 - Find a new routine
#9 - Make Adjustments
Think about what needs to happen, and what's best for the business, you and your clients. Is it time to take on a bit of extra support in the business, or could you do with getting a cleaner once a week to come in and take some domestic responsibilities off your hands? Whatever you think will work for you, don't be afraid to try it out.
Obviously, trying to stick to the pre-baby work schedule probably won't work, so be flexible and make some adjustments, for example, do you need to adjust your calendar for starting appointments again, when are the best times to schedule those around your baby, and what hours should you now be blocking out?
#10 - Anticipate and Prepare
Embracing change is the best way to ease into your new life with your little one - it can be done, it doesn't have to be difficult, just stay organised, accept help where you can and try not to stress about how things used to be in comparison to now. You can do this!