Whether you’re employed or running your own business, taking a maternity leave is necessary when you’re expecting a child. It allows you to take time off for your child as well as recover from childbirth. However, maternity leave looks very different for women who are employed and those running their own businesses. When you’re employed, there isn’t a lot of thought you need to put in once the time comes for you to go on maternity leave since the time, finances and schedules are pretty much arranged for you. It’s more complicated when you’re running a business.
Nonetheless, women have been dominating the world of business for the past few decades. Research shows that women own 43% of businesses worldwide. Additionally, 30% of these women are below 40 years which means that they may have to take maternity leave at some point. A maternity leave is typically 12 weeks long which seems like a long time to be away from your business. However, if you plan well, you won’t have anything to worry about. Here are some ways you can prepare your business for maternity leave.
Start Planning As Early As Possible
Though it may seem like you have a lot of time, anything can happen forcing you to take an early maternity leave. It’s best to start preparing your business for the time off as soon as possible to be on the safer side. It’s recommended to start planning during the second trimester since it’s when you have the most energy. This also allows you to schedule as much work during the third trimester.
Inform Your Clients
The most important part of running a successful business is developing and maintaining good client relationships. This doesn’t stop just because you’re pregnant. In fact, it’s more important than ever to keep in touch with your customers to avoid losing them when you’re gone. You need to inform them about your planned time off and what you’ll be able to do before this period. This ensures that they’re not caught off guard and makes it easier to pick up any pending responsibilities once you resume work.
Take All Meetings Beforehand
You should avoid booking meetings right after your maternity leave as this can be complicated. Apart from the demands of being a new mum, you also need to catch up with all the work that piled up while you were away which can take up a lot of your time leaving very little room for meetings. If you have any meetings, especially with investors or partners, that fall after your maternity leave, you need to reschedule them to an earlier date.
Manage Your Finances
One of the biggest challenges of taking maternity leave while running a business is the loss of income. In most cases, profits directly correspond with the amount of time spent on the business. So, taking time off will have an impact on the business’s finances. It may feel uncomfortable when your business makes little to no money. However, with good financial management, you should be able to afford the time off. It’s important to prepare a budget that will get you through the period keeping in mind your newborn’s needs. How To Create A Budget And Different Budgeting Methods You Can Use
Try a Different Maternity Leave
The beauty of being your own boss is you get to make your own rules as you go. So, you shouldn’t be limited to the traditional maternity leave style if it’s not working for you. Some entrepreneurial women have worked till their due date so they would have a longer maternity leave. Others have returned to work earlier but on a part-time basis.
Maintain A Basic Online Presence
You don’t have to shut down your business completely when you go on maternity leave. Nowadays, most businesses have social media accounts where interested users can get information about their products or services. You can use these online platforms to help you respond to any queries that customers may have or even tease new products you plan to launch once you come back from your maternity leave. 5 Ways To Grow Your Business Online
It might be hard to hire someone to help you run your business, especially when you’re a freelancer or solopreneur. However, having assistance will give you peace of mind knowing that someone is handling your business for you even for just a few hours a week. If you can’t hire someone, you can ask family members or friends to assist you with certain tasks. You can also make use of technology to keep your business running. For instance, social media management systems like Hootsuite allow you to schedule and post content for the weeks that you’ll be away.
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