I’ve made several announcements, so most of you know by now: I’m expecting baby number two! It’s an exciting and joyous time as a mother, but a stressful and kind of fearful time as a business owner. Handling maternity leave when you’re self-employed, I’ve found, can be a tough task, but it’s definitely doable.
As I sit here typing at my computer, I’ve reached the final weeks of my pregnancy. As most, if not all, of you Mompreneurs know, pregnancy causes certain..hormonal imbalances; I’ve definitely found myself a bit more emotional! Especially with the fear of leaving my business baby, CCP, to take care of my newest little one. This fear stems from the dread of losing clients to other photographers, stress of not having that income from photo sessions for a few weeks, and, of course, facing “starting over” after my leave ends.
However, as any good Mompreneur would do, I’ve researched the heck out of this subject and learned the number one task to complete before maternity leave is P L A N N I N G! As if I haven’t stressed this topic enough when it comes running a business, it’s also just as important (probably more so) when take a brief leave. Nine months seems like a lot of time to plan ahead, but it’s imperative to start planning right away. I learned quickly that it’s hard enough to fit my one million tasks between motherhood and entrepreneurship in one day. Adding pregnancy on top of that makes things a bit trickier!
There are so many things to be done to prepare for leave alongside the nesting, organizing, continuing my business, taking care of my toddler and husband, and all the other menial tasks in between. But, I’ve managed to narrow it to the top three most crucial steps to pre-planning.
- I had to determine a preferable amount of time I wanted and needed to take off.
Ideally, I would want to jump back in with both feet and hit the ground running. Realistically, I’ve given birth once before and know exactly how impossible that would be. I know that I need to take enough time to heal and help my new baby girl adjust, but I also know that I can get a bit antsy in my downtime. Regardless, I must allow myself to appreciate the downtime and also ease myself back into the flow of work.
2. While planning, I had to determine what I could do ahead of time.
Photo sessions, editing, etc., are obviously things I have to do as they come, however, there’s still plenty for me to do ahead of time. With the help of my virtual assistant, I laid out a plan and began executing it right away. Things like budgeting, scheduling posts for social media platforms, writing blogs such as this one, and other similar projects can be taken on ahead of time. I wanted to tackle some of these tasks with enough planning that I wouldn’t find myself scrambling for content and worrying whether or not I have a way to keep my clients interested and up-to-date.
3. Of course, I had to determine a way to inform my clients of my little “time bomb.”
Once the clock started ticking, I knew I needed to eventually let my clients know, too. I decided why not use a semi-professional announcement, not unlike an announcement you’d send to family. I know I’ll be returning in the summer, June if not any sooner. The only thing I’ll have to decide is whether or not to set-up automated email and voicemail responses for inquiries and potential clients.
When I think about my impending maternity leave, I focus on the positive aspects and outcomes. I’ve planned ahead enough to prepare for the slowing down. I’ve filled my client gaps with my Styled Stock Photography and opening my CCP Styled Stock Shop. In six months time, I’m confident all of my planning will have only proven beneficial: my business will still be running, I will ensure that my clients feel supported and can pick back up working with me with little to no inconvenience to them, and my business and I will only keep moving forward.
I’m a little teary-eyed to take a step back from CCP, but more than overjoyed to welcome my precious, second daughter into the world. I look forward to writing my post-partum Mompreneur blog and ramping business back up by pre-booking for the summer (don’t hesitate to reach out ;)). Most of all, I’m can’t wait to ease back into the flow of work and learning to re-balance my home and work lives. Although the scales will be tipped in my children’s favor (two of them, one of me, yikes!), I’m confident that CCP and my girls will happily co-exist.
Until next time,
Here’s a few other blogs you might find helpful and interesting:
- Mompreneur, Part One
- Mompreneur, Part Two—Using Your Mom Strengths to Run a Business
- Frame Your Brand—Using Your Styled Stock Photos
- A Letter to My Fellow Business Owners – Journey to Business Photography
Email me for more information or an independent consultation at:
© Crystal Hollman, Crystal Clear Photography 2017. All rights reserved.
Maternity Photos credit to VW Photography