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Pregnancy, babies, and self-employment reality check

(9 Posts)
BobsBurglars Sat 11-Jul-15 17:58:15

DP and I are TTC #1 and so I'm looking for some real-world experiences of being self-employed while pregnant and with very young children. I know we haven't even conceived yet but I'm starting to think about what I can do now to try and minimise the impact.

DP works full-time but can and does currently help out with some of the practical elements but can't feasibly take on everything.

I like to think that during pregnancy disruption will be minimal but then I know pregnancy affects different women in different ways and the later months are likely to be tiring. How did you juggle a baby/pregnancy and a business? I'm really excited about having a baby with DP but don't want all the efforts of the last couple of years to go to waste. Also stressing about the financial impact. I've been paying NICs so will get statutory maternity pay but if I'm not working, I'm not earning.

Share your wisdom please!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 12-Jul-15 15:25:14

Hi

Based on my experience I would plan for the worse and if you feel great/the baby sleeps a lot then great!

I had a difficult pregnancy (SPD, swollen legs) so stopped most of my work 2 months before my due date.

I was hopeful of doing my 10 KIT days but in the end I just did a few. I ended up with PND so didn't really enjoy my mat leave even though I wasn't working. sad

I think I missed out on a few things due to being pregnant - ie a partner didn't put me into a proposal even though the project should have been finished in time.

What I did have, which took the stress off massively was to have a retainer contract waiting for me when I got back from mat leave. Not easy to organise though, but worth thinking about.

I didn't enjoy feeling like I was out of the loop on social media etc.

I am a marketing consultant, so my work is me. If you offer a product or service that others can deliver I would think about lining up some paid help.

Sorry this probably all sounds depressing. I am not sure how much of it was the PND too.

If I were to go for it again and that is unlikely I would say to myself "Have the 9 months off, you can get back into it once you have childcare and are ready".

It all worked out ok work wise, I started back last March and had a successful year.

DD is my 2nd baby and I had a better pregnancy with my DS but I was employed then.

The work side can be managed, I think the emotional side is difficult.

Good luck with TTC.thanks

BobsBurglars Mon 13-Jul-15 11:21:45

Thanks MrsMargo. I can't wind down everything as I have a subscription club with regular orders but I can at least put non-sub orders on hold and hopefully DP can take care of the subs. Lining up paid help is a good idea though as I'm sure he'll be pretty tired too!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 13-Jul-15 11:33:15

You'd be amazed at what people are out there looking for quirky hours, so it shouldn't be too difficult. I recently secured some SE help and had lots of great ppl come forward. Especially if you can offer school hours.

Another poster runs an online business something to do with accessories and she hired help when pregnant/on mat leave and it all worked out.

Hopefully some more (less depressing!) posters will be along too.

EssCee Thu 30-Jul-15 23:17:41

That was me!

I have an online business, which was still relatively young when I fell pregnant. I hired my first employee when I was 8 months pregnant (started the recruitment process much earlier on though, obvs), and also created a new office space to separate the business from home. It was a big step into the unknown, and I was pretty stressed about it before it fell into place. But, it worked out very well. My employee is still with me, and I am able to work mostly flexibly around my little girl, who is now nearly 4.

I'm now TTC number 2 (no joy so far, but that's another thread), and so am hoping that, all being well, that there will be further transition in the future. So, I'm now at a place where I'm building systems and processes to remove me from being the central cog, in anticipation.

I felt really well during my pregnancy - fortunately - and I kept my hand in during my maternity leave, increasing my hours over time to now where I'm full time again, albeit not working 9-5. Mine's a business that I can keep at more of an arm's length though, compared with a freelancer type situation. I think this is a key difference with my situation and MrsMargoLeadbetter's. Did a lot of quick bits of emails during naps/when DD was in sling, emailing from phone during BF sessions, etc. etc. etc. ANYTHING to fit in a bit more work!

So, in short, for me, it was entirely doable as I had help and because of my type of business. Also, I'm a worker type/ideas-y person anyway... I like to feel productive and feel like I'm moving forward... and so the business was a bit of a sanity saver at times in the midsts of babyhood!

I spent a lot of time in my pregnancy working out all the pros and cons, costs etc. of all the different approaches to managing it all. And, you know, things also change over time, e.g. childcare needs, what you need support with domestically and on the business front.

Last of all, if you have a ltd company, you can continue to take dividends during mat leave.

Suzietwo Tue 04-Aug-15 21:54:03

I've been SE while pregnant twice and have 3 children aged 1, 3 and5.

I loathe being pregnant so just throw myself into long hours at work. It exhausts me but it's not like you can do anything fun when you're pregnant! Then once the babies arrived I take a week or so (c sections) and then build up again. It's horrific tbh, and I'm forever conflicted between work and kids. bUT but but no maternity leave is a tiny price to pay for the long term benefits of seeing so much more of them their whole lives!

Selfemployedmum2be Mon 25-Apr-16 22:53:54

Really pleased I found this thread. I'm 36 weeks pregnant and just had a pang of jealousy/concern that all the lovely women in my NCT group are about to take 6-12 months off work on maternity leave, while I anticipate getting 2-4 weeks! That said, I moved my office home a few weeks ago and am lucky to be able to work at my own pace on my own time. I work hard, but knowing I can take a break to catch up on Indian Summers when some of my friends would still be getting the tube to work when they're this pregnant does make me realise how lucky I am.

Self employment comes with risks - financial instability being the main one, especially as my partner is in this with me, so neither of us has a regular salary. But I'm hugely optimistic that the lifestyle we're able to give ourselves and our baby will outweigh the financial benefits of one of us having a proper job. Luckily I've had a good pregnancy all the way through.

Badbadbunny Tue 26-Apr-16 08:08:27

You can only work for 10 days during your maternity allowance claim period, so you'll have to very carefully plans which days you're going to work. Just working an hour on one day uses up one of your 10 days, so best to make sure you do just 10 full days work, i.e. save up lots of work and then allocate a full day to do it.

crazywriter Tue 03-May-16 22:21:29

I've been SE through both pregnancies and raising children. Currently still on mat leave with DD2. It's definitely doable but takes some planning.

With my first, I had a terrible pregnancy and ended up finishing up earlier. I may be a freelance writer but I could barely sit at my desk. I took the full 9 months off and contracted work out. In the last month I used my KIT days to build my work back up in time for me to return.

This time over used my Kit days on a second job (which I've now left since I don't enjoy it). So I can just contract my work out and work on growing it when I return. Although well be leaving the country once I do return (a whole other thread).

I could see work being difficult right now. I have a grumpy madam during the day!

I'm only contracting out the basics to keep a few sites open and have been picky about who does the writing for me. My social media and all that is contracted too and I may even keep it that way for that when I return!

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