Maternity leave advice(6 Posts)
I am due with my first child in December and intend to take a very short maternity leave (2-3 months), returning to work on a part time, flexible basis. I am going to work on a 'i'll see how I go basis', but I thought I would initially start with 8 hours a week and increase as I felt I could. Appreciate that since it's my first you may all think i'm barking mad, but i'm feeling optimistic!
Anyway, my question relates to what I tell my clients. I run a freelance design business where clients tend to come to me for one-off projects and then we don't necessarily work with each other again (it's just the nature of what I specialise in). I don't really have any on-going client relationships to manage. I haven't said anything about closing the studio as yet, but i'm wondering whether I should pop these dates on my website/emails/in correspondence with potential clients or whether it would just massively put people off. I had originally intended to simply say that the studio was closed on a need-to-know basis, but i'm wondering if people think that is disingenuous?
Thank you in advance for your thoughts!
Congrats on your pregnancy!
Would be interested in what others thoughts are and their advice to you...
Reading your post (and not knowing what field you work in) I wondered if you could manage a message about having limited capacity until say Easter 2017 but then have a marketing plan in place for May onwards. It's hard to advise but going quiet and relying only on telling people on a need-to-know basis may have others drawing the wrong conclusions (such as you are shutting up shop)
Depends on how long projects go from initial contact to completion - I would worry about considering you fora project now if they often take a coupe of months
I had the same debate (marketing freelancer). In the end I only told people who approached me, so didn't have a generic out-of-office/LinkedIn status. if you think you'll be able to respond to emails, then you can always point them elsewhere and still have that contact rather than them just receiving an OOTO message. Obviously if the baby arrives and you are completely out of it/groggy you can always put an OOTO message then.
Also, in my field and maybe yours, people often approach me in x, and by the time it has all been sorted/set up it is 3 months later. You might be able to stagger into a meeting if the work is then once you are back working?
Whilst pregnant I did tell people who I was proposing to work with (and if they met me it was clear!) and I think that probably lost me clients/opps but I felt I needed to up front. Also if something meant I was suddenly out of action I wanted my 'story' to add up.
I would definitely have a plan to generate opps for when you are back. I was lucky that I returned to a retained contract which I then built stuff up around it.
You could (this was back in 2013) do 10 KIT days of client work and still receive MA, so that could also be an option to stagger your start.
Any by respond to emails I don't mean immediately. I mean of an evening/the next day. I'd get rid of your work emails from your phone, so you have a proper break.
Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm really anxious about all of this as I don't want to let anyone or my new baby down, but I also don't want to let my business die when I've worked so hard on it (it's my first baby if you like!). Enquiries are starting to ramp up now summer is ending so I'm going to work on a (hopefully) achievable strategy. What I do is quite seasonal (July and August are quiet, winter is busy) so I couldn't have worse timing!
Margot, I should be able to cope with email enquiries and I am very motivated, but appreciate that this will all be new and I don't know what I'm letting myself in for! Thanks for your advice. xx
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