May 23, 2023

Embracing Maternity Leave: How to Prepare Your Business for Your Absence

As a successful agency owner, and soon-to-be mother of three, I know firsthand the importance of striking a balance between running a thriving business and nurturing a growing family. As I enter the final stages of my pregnancy, I am excited to share with you how I am preparing for my maternity leave, and how you can use these insights to create more freedom and flexibility in your own business, allowing you to step away when you need to without compromising.

My Maternity Leave Journey:

Seven years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I had just started Liberty Type and had little time to plan for my maternity leave (and not much understanding of what this preparation should look like). With no team in place, the business relied heavily on my involvement and I wasn’t exactly at a point to pause things or take a break. That meant answering emails from my phone (while also in labor), designing brands while attempting to breastfeed, and keeping client projects on task despite just delivering a baby. My first delivery was also tough and met with challenges around colic, becoming a first-time mom, and dealing with my own mental health. Having a business in the early stages of this made the juggling act all the more difficult.

Fast forward to my second child, and, at that point, I had assembled a small team to support me, albeit contractors. I also made advanced plans for the weeks surrounding the birth, knowing how hard the first transition had been for me. I now had systems and hard deadlines to keep client projects running on task – but our marketing was not planned or scheduled (a huge oversight on my part). Meaning, while I didn’t have client work to focus on too much (although my hands were still in a lot of the nitty-gritty), I found myself posting to social media, writing email newsletters, and attempting to market the business while also having a newborn and three-year-old.

Now, eight months pregnant with my third child, my approach is very different. Our agency has grown significantly, and I have transitioned into a full creative director role. My husband also left his career back in 2021 to focus on growing Liberty Type and supporting our family, so my help at home has increased tenfold. I have assembled a team of skilled individuals in the right roles (all of whom work in-house), and I am confident in their ability to serve clients at the highest level during my absence. We’ve meticulously planned all of Q2 and Q3 in terms of our client capacity and marketing content and have a strong grasp on Q4, allowing me to gradually increase my presence as my baby and my body permits. I don’t exactly have a hard date for coming back into the business full-time and that freedom feels fantastic. Birth, having children, it is all so unpredictable. Building systems and a business that doesn’t need me to run has been possibly my greatest challenge and achievement.

You may not be pregnant and planning for maternity leave, but there is still something to learn from this post. You should be able to take time away, you should have a business that runs without you, and you deserve the freedom that building a business can provide.

  1. Assemble a Strong Team

The key to maintaining your business’s success during your absence is having a team you can trust to deliver exceptional results. This has taken me nearly 7 years to get right and it’s required a lot of growth from me as an individual and as a leader. I’ve learned to become more persistent in my hiring search, more patient in the learning process with a new team member, hiring before I’m quite ready and things are broken, setting up the systems before we onboard to ensure a smooth transition, and investing the appropriate time and money into the right people who have grit and share our values.

I think as business owners, we often see hiring people to support us as a necessary evil. “No one can do the job as well as I can” is often echoed among female business owners I know. But shifting my mindset from frustration to gratitude has meant all the difference. “How fortunate am I that I get to hire others? How lucky am I that I am in charge of helping others grow, learn, find success, and support their families?”

Our culture, our reach, and the quality of the work we put out into the world have blown our earlier stuff out of the water since I’ve put a focus on fostering and growing a unique group of women to work at Liberty Type and advance the mission.

  1. Automate and plan ahead as much as possible

Currently, as I write this (mid-April, hello batched content!), we have planned all of Q2 and Q3 content for the business, as well as discussed our plans for the business and our plans for our client capacity. Having all of this marketing content, as well as general business goals for the remainder of the year ironed out is so freeing and will allow me to tiptoe in and gradually increase my own capacity come late summer/early fall.

I find that marketing content is often where our clients suffer most, but batching this content over a few days can allow you to think more holistically about your business and see everything from an eagle-eyed view. When you’re figuring out what to post on a daily or weekly basis, I think you often miss the greater vision. Marketing your business isn’t dependent on the success of one post anyway, it’s based on the momentum that each piece of content contributes to the bigger picture.

By the way, if you want to outsource (another great way to allow your business to run without you), you can hire our team to batch all of your content for the quarter right here.

Navigating the balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship can be challenging, but with proper planning and a strong support system, it is possible to successfully manage both. By following these tips and sharing my own maternity leave journey, I hope to inspire and empower you to create the freedom and flexibility you need to thrive in both your personal and professional lives. Remember, success is not just about running a thriving business, but also about nurturing your growing family and enjoying the precious moments that life has to offer.

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