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Self-Employed? How to Prepare Your Small Business for Maternity Leave

mom on maternity leave working on laptop with baby in her lap

Getting organized and prepared for maternity leave when you’re self-employed can feel overwhelming and confusing. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind.

You finally get the fantastic news that you’re pregnant! Overwhelmed with joy, excitement, and love, you quickly realize that you’ll have to go on Maternity Leave (and you’re the owner of your own business). Yikes!

If you’re anything like me, you constantly find yourself consumed with every aspect of your business from when it opened to after it closed for the evening. But what happens now that I must go on Maternity Leave?

mom on maternity leave working on laptop with baby in her lap

One small business owners maternity leave strategy

My Grandmother gave me the best advice I didn’t want to hear. “It will continue without you, and it will be just fine.”

Don’t get me wrong, of course; I wanted that. But, after all these years of hard work, where I felt the pressure solely on my shoulders, it couldn’t be that easy that it just “continues,” could it?

I’ve owned a Spa and Salon for about twenty years and felt the pressure of client relations, marketing, and staff squarely on my shoulders.

How in the world was I going to make this work? It indeed wouldn’t survive if I weren’t there, would it? The thoughts were endlessly swirling in my mind. 

I immediately started training my manager and front receptionist to take on more responsibilities and talking with team leaders about how they could also take on more.

I created marketing content weeks and months in advance and did my best to foresee any problems or difficulties that might arise and get in front of them.

Looking back, I must have driven everyone nuts.

The best advice I could give anyone who owns their own business and is going on Maternity Leave is, “it will continue, and it will be just fine.”

My Grandmother was right. She insisted that I trust myself and the business I had created. Trust that the community will continue to support the company and that the staff will surprise you.

mom working with her baby in a green onesie on maternity leave

Learn to trust others and accept help

Being in business is already difficult enough; giving up near complete control while you are home on maternity leave and letting others help more seemed terrifying. Yet, I found that my team leaders and junior staff shined. The business continued and thrived.

As business owners, we tend to overanalyze every detail, fear and worry about the worst, and get this mentality of “if we want it done right, we have to do it ourselves.”

Read next: Four Helpful Tips on How to Transition Back to Work After Maternity Leave

I prepped my staff and clients as best as possible, and for the first time in my life, I took time off to focus on myself, my newborn, and my family.

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I was pleasantly surprised; I only ended up returning to work part-time. 

Don’t get me wrong. You will still get waves of anxiety when you hear of different problems arising, but when you look into your baby’s eyes, the stress melts away. You trust that whatever the situation is, you’ve hired incredible people to handle it.

Are there state benefits for a small business owner on maternity leave?

While the benefits can vary state-by-state, know that you might be entitled to some benefits for your maternity leave if you are self-employed.

You can start with a quick Google search of “self-employed maternity leave benefits + your state” and browse through the results you find. You can also learn about state parental leave benefits to make the best decision for your family.

Strategies for self-employed people to prepare for maternity leave

If you take away anything from this article, let it be this:

  • Pick your maternity leave dates and stick to them
  • Communicate these dates to your team and client’s as necessary
  • Designate someone “in charge” for the roles you’re stepping away from
  • Trust that you hired incredible and capable employees
  • Release control and accept that everything will (should) be okay
mom holding her baby while typing on keyboard

Final thoughts on prepping for maternity leave (as a business owner)

When you feel that you have prepped your business as best as possible for the weeks, you will be on Maternity Leave, take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and smile.

Trust in yourself that you’ve built a great business that will thrive more than you imagined, and now you’ve also built an incredible human you’re about to meet. You deserve this Maternity Leave.

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