Early in my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to take a maternity leave once the baby got here. But when you run your own business, it’s scary to think of stepping away for an extended period of time. Moore Media Group was my first baby, and the thought of abandoning it for a couple of months really freaked me out.
I started thinking of what maternity leave would look like for me and what I needed to do ahead of time to prepare the business to run without me. Now as I begin to transition back to work I am incredibly thankful for this precious time, and I want to share what I did to prepare my company for my absence so that it could continue to thrive and I could turn all of my attention to my new baby without feeling stressed. Here’s what worked best for me and for Moore Media Group:
1. Wrap up big projects
Most of the work we do, like managing social media accounts for businesses, is ongoing. It doesn’t have a set end date, so it’s not something that could be finished before the baby arrived. However we also build websites and create videos for clients, and these were projects I knew we could wrap up before I left. I decided not to book any big projects that couldn’t be completed by the month before my due date.
As a business owner, it’s scary to limit the amount of work you’ll take on since it directly impacts your income, but I knew it was the best decision for me and the company. And it all worked out. Toward the end of my maternity leave, we were able to onboard two new clients who we will begin work for as soon as I get back. It would have been stressful to take them on before I left for 10 weeks, but I waited and they were still available when I was ready to go back. It doesn’t always work out this way, but the point I’m trying to make is that it’s okay to turn down business for a few months in order to have a peaceful time away.
2. Work ahead and streamline
Because a lot of the work we do is planned in advance, we’re able to streamline some of our services. For instance, when we knew I was going to be out, we planned content ahead of time for social media posts both for Moore Media Group and for our clients. Then we scheduled the posts using Hootsuite, but you could use any online scheduling platform. The same goes for blogs, e-blasts and even invoices. Having systems in place to streamline our workflow meant that I didn’t have to constantly be creating content or even approving it because much of it was created and approved ahead of time.
3. Tell your clients
Another factor that played into my successful 10-week absence is that we have the best clients in the world. I made sure to let everyone know pretty far in advance the dates I would be out of the office. They worked with us to knock out as much as we could before baby Wren arrived and were so kind and flexible during my leave. Some of them even bought gifts, made us a meal or simply sent well wishes. They were all so excited for Tyler and me and truly made me feel like I had the freedom to enjoy my time off.
4. Get you a Jesse
Honestly, everything above was important as we planned for my leave, but I don’t think I could have done it without my incredible employee and friend, Jesse. Jesse interned for Moore Media Group last spring, and I hired her as soon as her internship ended knowing she would be a phenomenal asset to our clients. In the last year, she has grown so much, and because of her commitment I knew Moore Media Group would be just fine without me for a couple of months.
Whether you’re planning for maternity leave or not, one of the most important decisions you make as a business owner is who you add to your team. Intelligent, creative, hardworking people who you actually want to spend time with are hard to come by, so if you find one, hold on to them. Thanks to Jesse, I was able to spend my maternity leave snuggling my newborn instead of obsessing over my inbox. It’s been the most beautiful season, and I will always be grateful for it, but I am ready to get back to the office at least a few days a week. Basically, if you own a business, you need to hire a Jesse. And Jesse if you’re reading this, please don’t ever leave me.