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Any pregnant freelancers? When did you tell your clients?

(12 Posts)
Teeste Wed 03-Dec-14 11:15:23

I work freelance from home. I'm 12 weeks today so maternity leave is a long way off, but I was just wondering if anyone else was in the same boat, or have any experience of telling clients. I don't want them to treat me differently or withold larger projects (or indeed any work at all) from me. Equally, I feel some kind of responsibility to let them know in a decent amount of time so they can prepare too. I don't want to get to 39 weeks and be all - see ya in a year! Any advice?

BTW - this is the only time since going freelance I've wished I was employed - it'd make things a lot easier!

Griftymoo Wed 03-Dec-14 11:20:55

I've been wondering the same thing. I'm 23 weeks and haven't told most people I work with. A regular client of mine knows because I meet them face to face but I was thinking about telling everyone else when I'm seven months so minimise the risk of not getting work. But would be interested to hear what others think too.

bouncinbean Wed 03-Dec-14 11:23:35

I'm also freelance but on site - my intention was to just tell them when it became physically obvious but in the end they guessed because I looked so green and my usual tea consumption had to switch to decaf - was at about 10 weeks unfortunately.
If they don't physically see you I would leave it till any planning type discussions about the coming year. If those don't happen as a matter of course I would probably be looking to bring it up after the second scan which is about half way through - plenty of time for planning but you haven't gone in too early and risked your income being cut off too early.

bouncinbean Wed 03-Dec-14 11:24:51

Oh and I'm in an industry where contracts are typically 2-6 months, would leave it later if the contracts are not as long...

Teeste Wed 03-Dec-14 11:37:47

Personally, my jobs range from anything from a couple of hours to a couple of months. I usually give them about 2-4 weeks' notice if I'm going on holiday, but this is a slightly bigger deal! Mind you, maybe a month before I go is actually fair - what do you think?

bouncinbean Wed 03-Dec-14 13:50:57

I guess that's quite short jobs so you don't want to tell them too early...
Sounds like it might be quite a different industry to mine - but things I would be considering is how much competition you have, are your customers giving you repeat business regularly, what is likely to happen while you're not available, how price sensitive the market is and what's the value of goodwill.
In mine it would pay to keep up really good relations, and give plenty of warning of both finish date and restart date, which meant I was fortunate to be kept in mind for contracts that came up as my DD turned 1 and I was ready to return to work. If its a bit more cut-throat and you are effectively going to have to build up work again from the 'bottom' anyway when you go back then 1 month seems ok.

Teeste Wed 03-Dec-14 14:06:16

I work with agencies/studios in Europe, so I don't tend to meet my clients personally, although I have built up some good personal relationships via email over the last 3 years. I was thinking of sending them the odd update when on mat leave, like once every couple of months or so, just so they'd remember about me.

My main clients give me tons of repeat work, they seem to like me, I really like them! It'd be a shame to have to start over, although I do have a strategy for that too. I don't really see why they couldn't just put me back on the books when I go back, but whether I'd get the jobs or not depends largely on which project managers are still there and how well they know me.

This is quite a toughie! I'm liking Grifty's 7 month idea more and more.

WorkingBling Wed 03-Dec-14 17:31:57

I think it depends massively on the clients and the type of work, but for any clients with whom you have long term relationships I would not recommend waiting until 7 months. That's very late and implies to the client that you don't trust them. For clients that are more ad hoc, perhaps waiting longer is fine.

Depending on the client, I told between 12 and 20 weeks. It needed to be early enough that they could start planning and we could figure out the best way to handover long term projects.

Also, as a self employed consultant, I am amazed at how many of you are planning to take a year. I expect to be working more or less throughout on some level, and at full capacity within about four months. I simply couldn't afford not to. How are you managing that?

prettywhiteguitar Wed 03-Dec-14 17:41:19

I told my clients I was arranging maternity cover, that I will be supervising. Is there any way of you employing someone ?

Cobo Wed 03-Dec-14 17:44:56

I waited until around 7 months or even later because I didn't want to lose work, but the nature of my freelance work is very short term jobs, so that makes a difference - I probably would have announced it earlier if I had a longterm project on.

Teeste Wed 03-Dec-14 18:49:10

WorkingBling interesting point about the trust. I don't do any very long term projects (never anything over 2 months), we don't have planning meetings etc., my work is all short term service provision. The relationship I have is with agencies (acting as brokers), rather than direct clients, so they'll just give the work to someone else until (hopefully) I get back.

I wouldn't say I'm 100% planning on having a year off, but this is my first and I have no idea how I'll react or what will happen life-wise. My mum reckons I'll go mental 'just' being a mum and need something outside of it, so go back to work earlier - I have no idea yet! We're lucky enough to be able to survive on DH's wage if we need to. Every time I've looked at childminding fees it seems they'd eat into the vast majority of anything I'd earn, so what's the point? It'd be different if I was the main breadwinner.

Griftymoo Thu 04-Dec-14 07:50:26

My projects never normally last longer than two weeks so I don't think I'd be landing anyone in it by waiting until seven months, because they can simply give the project to another freelancer if I can't take the work. I have the same issue as teeste, in that most of my earnings would go on childcare, and my work is too sporadic to commit to a childcare arrangement as I could be out of pocket if I didn't get enough work. My plan is to take on the odd bit of work that I can do around naps/during the evening and see how it goes. I guess everyone's freelance situation is different, and when to tell clients/how long to take on maternity depends on the length of projects you take on, and earning potential.

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