Welcoming a new baby into life is exciting, and for those who are self-employed, it often requires a whole lot of thinking ahead. Put the baby planning and checklists aside, and you might be wondering; How do I prepare for a new baby AND while also being self-employed. What do I need to do for my business, myself, and my family to better transition into this new chapter in our life.
Here's the big bummer; As a self-employed woman, you're not entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay.
As much as I LOVE the idea of being able to take a few weeks off to focus on just me and our new little one, but I know that as a self-employed mama, that has to look a bit different for me. I figured it might be helpful to share what I plan to do, what I have done to plan ahead and hopefully it will make the process a little smoother for all expecting, self-employed mamas too.
BUT before I jump in, I want to go back a big, six years ago when I had my son Landon. It was right at the start of taking my business full-time, and at the time, my husband still worked full-time. He was born a few weeks early and had a collapsed lung which kept us in the NICU for a little while.
And I remember so clearly being in the NICU and thinking to myself how thankful I was to have a business in place that allowed me and my husband to take some time off to be at the hospital. At the time, I was still figuring out a lot of things, but managed to automate little pieces here and there and was incredibly thankful for that.
Now, we're expecting our third, I have learned so much over the last years when it comes to business, and although you never really know what will happen, I'm making sure to put a few things in place to be ready and have some time off when our little baby boy arrives.
CREATING A NEW PRODUCT AHEAD OF TIME
Now, this is honestly the first time that I have created a new preset collection, one I am so excited to share, and waiting to officially launch it until we are closer to my due date. It's been hard not sharing little pieces of it here and there (I'm terrible at keeping surprises) but waiting to go live with it will also help me fill the gaps while I'm at home resting.
I think creating something new for your business is a great way to give yourself some extra time without having an additional workload to deal with. For me, the work is done, and it's just a matter of going live with it.
PLAN SOMETHING SPECIAL
Now for those of you that have a service based business that physically requires you to be there, you can plan for special events and sessions and start filling those seats now. Remind clients it's never too early to officially book you and make sure they know that you'll be taking some time off and that X dates will be booked up quicker than usual. This works great, especially for holiday sessions. You'll feel great about it because you'll be able to look a few months ahead and see worked lined up, and have ease of mind during the in between.
SET UP AN EMAIL REMINDER
Plan to set up an auto-reply to let people know that you are taking some time off. It's a simple little reminder that will get emailed back to them, and you'll have ease of mind knowing that your inbox will be there waiting for you when you're ready.
AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE
When it comes to social media, you can look at it on a month to month basis and start automating posts. I love using apps like later.com to schedule posts ahead of time and have done this in the past for up to 4 months at a time. Posting to social media can be incredibly time consuming and taking the time to write your posts and choose your images is a great way to plan ahead and automate the little things that can quickly soak up your time.
One of the biggest, greatest assets I have as a mama and business owner is my husband. One of the best way to prepare for a new baby (regardless of this being your first or third) is being on one page with them and having clear communications with them. Knowing that I have him by my side to help, have that be with our other two kiddos, the new baby, or business tasks I know that we will handle it together like we always do. There will be plenty of times we will need a break and can step up for each other.
Living in Hawaii, far away from both our families, means we have to be able to lean on each other. Take the time to talk to your partner about your needs, and how they can help you. If you have family close by, or a good friend, figure out ways that they can be there to lend a helping hand in those early days.
DON'T JUMP BACK INTO WORK TOO FAST
Now, as a self-employed person, there's no doubt you have it running through your blood. You probably love your job and work incredibly hard at what you do. But don't rush it! Those first few weeks go by so fast, and I'm speaking from first-hand experience when I am telling you that it's ok to slow down and allow yourself enough time to soak in everything. Work will be there when you're ready. That itty bitty baby? They grow up so quickly and if there's one thing I wish I could change back when I had my son is to not jump back into the hustle as fast and instead focus on those fleeting days that fly by so quickly. Give yourself time.
THIS IS A NEW CHAPTER OF LIFE
I also think entrepreneurs that are pregnant might go through some sort of nesting/hustling stage towards the end of pregnancy. I keep reminding myself that I’ll have PLENTY of time after the baby gets here to work on new projects and ideas but at the same time so excited to venture down some new paths. So with that said, this will be a new chapter in my life. One where I'll learn to balance between working for myself, homeschooling my two older kiddos, and welcoming a new baby into our family. There will be plenty of time to adjust and find a new rhythm as a family of five.
There will be more snuggles, hugs, and kisses, and just like I have last 10 years since becoming a mother and pursuing my dreams, I'll embrace motherhood with all that comes with it and always continue dreaming big.
I hope these tips helps you if you're also on the journey of growing your family while working for yourself. Being your own boss certainly has its perks, and even in times where it feels difficult because it falls on our own shoulders to get things done, we always have the opportunity to plan ahead.