Guess who’s due in October? Me. This time, I’m determined to plan maternity leave better than I did last time. When I had my son, Quinn, I learned all too quickly that I can’t do it all. Crummy planning left me dealing with running-late-projects when he was 3 days old. I want to get back to work quickly, but not that quickly! So this time, as soon as I got the good news, I started to plan ahead. And since daycare doesn’t have an opening until January, I’m taking 3 entire months off. My approach has been to:
Freelancing & Maternity Leave: Pay, Clients, Contingencies & More
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
Now, I just hope all this planning works! Only time will tell. Until then, I’m going to keep on planning.
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