Usually, when you think about getting ready for baby’s arrival, you think about setting up a nursery, washing and folding tiny clothes, making sure you have the gear you need, and figuring out your mat-leave paperwork. But when you have your own business, there’s a whole other level of planning involved. Here’s advice from a mom-boss on how to get your business ready for baby too.
If you are an entrepreneur, you already have a baby. Your business is your baby. As a business owner, you have so many things to manage, juggle, coordinate, market, pay for, bill for, and the list goes on. Better yet, when you are a solo-preneur, the weight of these tasks all fall on you!
Before baby, you can work all hours of the day…
Then you get pregnant. You can still run your company the best way you can, despite the sleepiness and occasional nausea. But for the most part, it’s still business as usual. You still only must worry about you and your partner.
Now enter baby. Your title of entrepreneur has now been changed to mamapreneur. Yes, you now have two highly demanding roles to balance – business owner and mother. (oh yeah and juggler…)
I can tell you from experience. I operated my marketing/PR/video production business for 8 years, before having children. I worked crazy hours, had a ton of clients and got lots of sleep.
Now that I have two busy boys, my business and my life has evolved (or dissolved – well the sleep part anyway). Once baby comes, you need to be ready for it. You need to put the necessary things and steps in place so that you can still manage your business. Your focus, your responsibilities, your finances – they all shift. I’ve been through the growing pains, (no pun intended) and now I am sharing my insight on how to prep for parenthood as an entrepreneur.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s the absolute truth. The first, and most important thing you need to figure out is who will be your support system. What does that support system look like? When you have your own business, paid maternity leave is not an option. So, how can you take care of your child while at the same time make money to support your family?
Can you rely on family to help you? Is your partner able to take paternity leave? Do you need to hire help to assist you? Do you need a nanny or an administrative assistant to fill in the gaps to help you manage your business and your baby?
I was super lucky that my husband was able to take paternity leave for four months during the birth of my eldest son. With that help, I was able to still run my business because my husband could take care of my baby in between feedings. After my husband returned to work, we hired my sister-in-law to take care of our baby while I focused my efforts on working. I also hired an assistant at that time to help me with aspects of my business.
With the birth of my second son, I decided that a nanny was the way to go. It was worth every penny. Not only was my baby cared for, but my household was clean and organized.
If you want to be an effective entrepreneur you need to be organized – and when you are expecting you really need to get your ducks in a row, before that baby comes. In the same way that you would prepare a nursery, I highly recommend doing an office audit. That means making sure that you throw out unwanted papers, reorganize folders, file taxes, rearrange – you get what I am saying. Make sure that you are on top of any immediate and future tasks. You will be too tired and busy when you baby comes and will likely fall behind. If you can’t manage the task of organization, outsource. Hire an assistant, bookkeeper – whoever it is who can get you on track.
LET YOUR CLIENTS KNOW
I could not hide my first pregnancy – there was no way around it. I was huge. I had to let me clients know, that I was pregnant. I was terrified. But I reassured each client that there would be no disruption of service with the arrival of my little one. I tried my very best to stick to my words. In fact, I remember that my phone rang about 6 hours after my emergency C-section and the president of a very large financial institution (and my client) asked if I was up and running yet. I told him to give me a few days. It worked out fine. If you let your clients know, more than likely they will be understanding. You can also let them know that they may be dealing with another member of your team at times (that is fine too).
WORKING OFF HOURS
Babies wake up at weird times like 4AM the morning. Funny enough, I was most effective at that time. I did a lot of my emails at that time. I will give you a word of warning. Some clients do not like receiving emails at 4 in the morning. I would recommend composing the emails but sending them at a decent time like 9AM instead. It’s OK to work off hours, this will be your new schedule for a while.
You need to realize that you will no longer have the stamina that you had prior to having baby. Yes, adrenaline does kick in when you need it to but, over the long haul – tiredness usually will get the better of you. It’s OK that you do slow down a little bit. You can spread your workload over a few days rather than a few hours. If you do have urgent deadlines, you may have to rely on your support system to step in.
I’m now into year 15 of being an entrepreneur, I have two beautiful boys – yes, there have been bumps in the road, but since becoming a mom, my definition of success has changed.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.