Taking maternity leave for my business felt like the scariest thing I was going to do – other than go through labor for my son – but I learned a few ways to make myself feel better about the decision to cut back on work when my first baby came into this world. People have lots of reasons for taking time off in their own businesses so I thought I’d share a few tips about what I’ve learned trying to prepare for my leave. These tips helped me feel more in control and at peace with the decision to be less “active” in my business for almost 3 months. We all deserve time off – we didn’t create these businesses to run our lives to the ground – so I hope these prove useful for someone else!
–PLAN AHEAD! This sounds like the most obvious tip in the world, but plan whatever you can ahead of time – blog posts, Instagram posts, Facebook posts. The miracle of social media and blogging is that posts can be written and scheduled months in advance, so take some time each week to prep your content for while you’re going to be gone. If you’ve also got a newsletter, prep that too. Whatever it is, prep it! This will help keep your business “present”, even if you’re not.
–Set expectations early with clients. Well before I ever went on leave, I took the time to speak with my clients directly and also share a blog post about how things would go while I was on leave. The response? Phenomenal I’ve truly been blessed with the most amazing clients who are super supportive and encouraging. Despite my son arriving late, they wouldn’t let me work after my leave started so that I could truly rest until he came. By speaking with them upfront and explaining I needed the downtime, when I would be back and HOW I would prepare them ahead of time, I continued to develop the trust we’ve built for so long and no one got left in a lurch. Additionally, I made sure all of my sessions were wrapped up a few weeks before I wanted to go on leave so that none of my photography clients were waiting either! Set clear expectations with your clients and I promise, things will be okay!
–AUTO RESPOND, baby! I never thought I would use the out of office function on my business email – it scares me! But when I thought about the idea of feeling like I had to respond to emails right away while I was trying to adjust to being a first time mom, that scared me more! I love the message I came up up with (with a little help from some other photographers) and I don’t feel pressured to clean out my inbox every day. Honestly, most clients will understand why you’re slower to respond – and if they don’t? They’re probably not who you want to work with anyway.
–Trust that what you’ve built will stay alive. You’ve poured your heart and soul into this business and it’s scary to think you’re going to “take a break” to focus on other things, but these breaks are absolutely necessary! Believe in the system you’ve created for aspects of your business and trust that you know what you’re doing.
–Don’t be too hard on yourself. Long leave usually means a big life change, so things might not get done the way you’d hoped as you prep the rest of your life too. Life is all about balance and being a business owner is no different. It’s okay if you didn’t get every single blog prepped you’d hoped, or finished every little detail of the projects you wanted before your leave came. Life and the business will go on! Don’t let it stress you out.
In the end, whatever you do will be fine. Your business will not die, your email will not overflow, your clients will not forget about you. Trust that you have built something wonderful and promise yourself that you will take the time to rest, relax and enjoy the leave you’re taking. You deserve it!
Got tips for taking time off as a business owner? I’d love to hear them! Send me a note
– and good luck!!
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_sidebar area=”sidebar-1″ disabled_on=”on|on|off” _builder_version=”3.17.1″]
[/et_pb_sidebar][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.17.1″ custom_padding=”0|0px|0|0px|false|false” prev_background_color=”#000000″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.17.1″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_comments _builder_version=”3.17.1″]