Oh, baby! Freelancing and maternity leave.

If you didn’t catch my last newsletter where I shared the news, my second child—a baby girl!—is due to arrive October 2nd.

Since self-employment doesn’t come with maternity leave, I had to create my own. Although I will miss the day-to-day at Jill Lynn Design, I’m taking time off. Three months, to be exact.

I’m the first to admit I can’t do it all—not at the same time, anyway! Here are a few absolutes:

  • Yes, I will absolutely take time off when I have this baby.
  • Yes, when I get back to business, I will absolutely be utilizing childcare.

There’s a stigma attached to work-from-home moms using childcare. My opinion? Kids don’t want a mom who isn’t fully-present, and nobody wants to hire somebody who’s half-a$$ing their job. I’m a firm believer that if you work, you need childcare. To be good at anything, we need to be focused.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be in touch. My content marketing machine is going to keep running while I’m on leave. You might not even realize I’m gone!

Here are my tips for freelancing and maternity leave: pay, clients, contingencies and more

  1. Stash money away. Since Jill Lynn Design is an S corp and I’m an employee (the only employee), I get a set paycheck every month. I knew I’d need to save 3x my monthly salary to cover life’s expenses while on leave. I also decided to save a little extra for maternity leave pay in case it takes a bit to get business back on track.
  2. Notify clients early. I started telling clients in the second trimester. I didn’t tell everybody—just those it would affect most. Then a few weeks ago, I told everyone on my newsletter list.
  3. Move forward. Sure, I was nervous to tell some clients. Yes, I’m worried that the break will affect business. But it’s necessary. And with good planning, anything is doable.
  4. Set expectations. Right now, I’m booking projects for January. When I took projects in recent months, I realized I could do the design but wouldn’t be around for the development part. I explained this to clients and brought on a partner to handle development—which leads me to…
  5. Ask for help from awesome people. I can’t leave my clients high-and-dry. If waiting until January isn’t doable, or current clients need help with maintenance, I need somebody I trust to fill my role while I’m not available. Fortunately, a long term colleague (who’s amazing!) was willing to be the go-to.
  6. Keep the pipeline running. I won’t be working on projects for three months, but I do want my pipeline to be there when I come back. That means my content marketing machine needs to keep running while I’m on leave. I’m planning it now.
  7. Leave a cushion. I’m wrapping up in early September—just to be safe. Just like I’m saving a little extra money, I’m also leaving a little extra time.
  8. Establish schedules. To make sure everything gets wrapped up, I’ve created strict project schedules that I’m sticking to! (I’m usually more laid-back about scheduling.)
  9. Arrange childcare. Yes, I have a home office. But I can’t watch kids AND work. That means I’d be 50% mom, and 50% designer—neither is good enough.

About Jill Anderson

Hi, I’m Jill, a WordPress WordPress designer/developer who partners with talented designers, copywriters, and agencies on their websites, and their client’s sites. I’m passionate about crafting beautiful and innovative WordPress websites focused on clear positioning and positive user experiences. Get my free report, Get Your Website Done: 12 Actionable Steps for Designers, and check out my Client Onboarding Toolkit, a simple 4-step digital course for converting prospects into a paying clients.

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