Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Emma Gwillim, a business and success coach for mom entrepreneurs. Emma consults and coaches creative female entrepreneurs on how to identify what’s not working within their businesses, how to clarify their goals and visions for your future, and how to make it all actually happen. Today she shares her insight for how to prepare your business for major life adjustments. Using her personal experience of preparing for the birth of her children, Emma offers up some helpful tips for getting yourself ready for change. Thank you for sharing your wonderful tips with us, Emma! —Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump…
In the months leading up to the birth of my son, I read any book, blog or discussion forum that shared insights from other working moms on how to ‘babyproof’ a business. I still have my scribbled notes and my hopeful and idealistic ‘plan’ of how I might manage the age-old work/family juggle. Knowing what I know now, when it comes to newborns, the rules are: there aren’t any rules. Now, with the arrival of Baby Two imminent, I am reminding myself of the lessons I learned the first-time round:
Keep it simple
From taking an overdue holiday to an extended maternity break, it can feel pretty uncomfortable to feel like your business will lose momentum while you’re ‘out of office’. Prepare as much as you can in advance so things can tick over. Consider writing weekly blog posts and email newsletters that you can automate in advance.
Use Hootsuite and Buffer to line-up social media. Create templates for regular business tasks to help you out on your return with the inevitable ‘baby brain’. Focus on your business’ core product/service and think about how you can automate it. If you’re offering a one-to-one service, could it be offered as a virtual program? If you’re running a product-based business, could you hone in on your ‘hero’ line and give this your full focus pre-baby? As the song goes, make it easy on yourself.
Give yourself permission to slow down
Whether you’re a new parent, or recovering from illness, a relationship break-up or other big life transition, remember first and foremost that you’re a human being. Your body needs love and care. Give yourself time and space to heal emotionally, as well as physically. I found that family and friends made allowances for me but I was still expecting way too much of myself. For the first 6-8 weeks at least, my one and only priority was to nurture my baby and my maternal bod. Mark out time on your calendar now.
Rally cry your support squad
Have a team of cheerleaders to support you through the sleepless early weeks and beyond. Take family and friends up on their offers of support. Join mum and baby groups to get you out and about. Recruit a team of business peers and mentors who, when you’re ready, can keep you connected to your industry and network, and ask them to share their own tips and insights on how they managed ‘maternity leave’ as an entrepreneur. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Feel the rhythm
I soon began to notice that my baby and I developed a daily rhythm: he would enjoy his bouncy chair as I showered, we’d walk, we’d nap and, once the nights became less broken, I was able to use nap times as my way of ‘getting back in the game’. With energy levels low and nap times short, at first it was short and simple admin tasks but, in time, I was able to earmark ‘nap time tasks’ that very slowly (clever Mother Nature) eased my transition back into work.
Be the CEO
As an entrepreneur, it can feel very unnatural to relinquish responsibility for your other baby: your business. But learn to see yourself as the CEO, managing your organization remotely. Know your strengths and tasks that you feel are in your genius zone, or your ‘sparkle’ as I like to call it, and those tasks that deplete you/take too much time/have you pulling your hair out. Now is the time to master the art of delegation, both while you’re on maternity leave and upon your return. Time will become your most precious asset – keep it sacred for the tasks you’re passionate about and seek support for rest.
Cherish the time
There’s no doubt that the post-natal haze is a huge adjustment but it is time that is so precious and, as everyone says, goes too quickly. Babies have a way of throwing a whole new perspective on things – you will quickly adopt a new business skill set in being far more productive in far fewer hours. Learn to use time in your business effectively and, when it’s baby time, soak in the precious moments.