Preparing for my first baby while running my business has brought its own unique challenges. While I am extremely grateful to be in the position to have flexibility in my schedule and control over decisions made, I feel like there aren’t a ton of resources out there for expecting moms operating under self-employment – which has left me feeling a bit like I’m in the Wild West in this new season.
As I’ve been moving through this uncharted territory, there are a few things I’ve discovered, been given advice on, or wished I started doing when family planning. While there is absolutely no one-size-fits-all, here are 5 tips as a creative solopreneur and 32 week pregnant mom-to-be for those who plan to be in a similar situation.
Prepare yourself financially
If you are planning to start a family, begin saving now. Aside from the fact that babies are expensive, as a business owner, we don’t have built-in benefits that many of our 9-5 counterparts do, which includes paid maternity leave. Determine the amount of time is appropriate for your situation and work to put yourself in a financial position where you can walk away from your business to recover mentally/physically, bond with baby, and adjust to being a new mom. Saving for a proper maternity leave, medical costs, all things baby supplies, and a solid emergency fund can in return prevent added stressors and help protect your growing family.
Focus on quality over quantity
In 2021 I overbooked and overworked myself, which created my most profitable year to date, but at the cost of burnout and a skewed work/life balance. In 2022 I focused more on protecting my time by taking on fewer projects at higher price points. In return this created more flexibly, freedom, and a stronger sense of balance. This shift proved to be extremely timely and important when I began my pregnancy journey the second half of 2022. As I all the sudden had the physical and mental challenges and stressors of growing a human, I had a little more wiggle room to take care of my mind, body, and all things preparing for baby.
Slow down if possible
While everyone’s circumstances and needs are different, one thing I am thankful I did was slow my schedule down leading up to my due date. Baby will come when baby is ready, and the last thing I want in the event of an early arrival is to be drowning in projects or kicking off new client work. Instead, depending on your situation, I would recommend closing out your schedule to new clients 2 months prior to your due date, leaving that time to finish current design commitments, work with existing clients on smaller-scale projects, and focus on internal tasks. All in all, be mindful of commitments leading up to baby’s arrival and create a buffer if possible.
Protect yourself contractually
As you onboard new clients nearing your due date, be transparent with your pregnancy and make sure they understand a pre-set plan in the event of an early labor. I included a maternity clause in my contracts for my clients to acknowledge I was pregnant and understand the terms if I went into labor while we had outstanding deliverables: which includes a 4 week leave of absence before finishing out the remainder of the project.
Find a community
Since becoming pregnant, I have been blessed to connect with other women in creative business going through the same journey both locally and digitally – which has been an important source of encouragement. Whether joining a Facebook group, local parenting classes, or reaching out directly to people via Insta and Tiktok – having sounding boards to seek advice, celebrate milestones with, and support one another holds so much power.
If you are looking for a space of encouragement and support, we’ve created an online community for creative businesses owners navigating parenthood: CreativeMamapreneur.
All in all, I truly believe there is no perfect way or right path to navigate the transition of becoming a mom with an existing business you are passionate about. But that is the beauty – you have control to make this journey look the way you want or need it to. Just remember to give yourself grace every step of the way – because growing your family while pursuing your passion is a complete inspiration.