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How to Take Maternity Leave without Putting Life on Hold

Lesson 2 of 16

Streamline Your Business


How to Take Maternity Leave without Putting Life on Hold

Lesson 2 of 16

Streamline Your Business


Lesson Info

Streamline Your Business

Alright, so let's get started. I'm Stacey and I wear lots of hats. I'm a teacher, I'm an author. I'm the Marketing Director for Louet North America but the reason I'm giving this class is that I also run my own business called FreshStitches. And when I had my daughter in that year I made 65% of my previous year's income which is pretty amazing considering I only worked a few hours a day. So I'm gonna show you how to do it too. The first step to creating like, your perfect maternity leave is streamlining your business so you're doing the tasks that are most important for your business that need to be done that are earning you an income. My assumptions for this class are that you have some control over your schedule, so we're gonna be talking mostly about people who are self employed but also people who work with progressive employers who are looking to take a maternity leave. You want something other than what we'd call the traditional maternity leave so that's a couple weeks off and t...

hen back at it full time, at least here in the US, we're gonna talk about that. You may or may not have a support system in place, my husband and I move a lot and when our daughter was born, we lived in Minneapolis Minnesota where we knew absolutely no one, we had no grandparents around, we had no siblings. My husband's sibling and parents were in another country, so I'm not going to be telling you, oh you have to have grandma come over every Saturday. Because that doesn't work for a lot of us. A lot of us are young professionals who move somewhere for a job, not living close to family ties and so you don't have to worry about having that in place. And all new parents are welcome so we're talking about maternity leave but all of the same rules apply for maternity leave, and I have some information and some quotes from adoptive parents and all of this stuff totally applies we're all people here. The most important thing we're talking about is streamlining your life after and before the baby arrives. The actual event of arrival totally doesn't matter to us. And all of these same systems are also going to apply if you're adopting let's say a seven year old. We're not talking about the actual arrival event but getting your life in order so that you can have the best time with your kid possible. So here we go this is a really great graphic from ThinkProgress. We are pretty much the absolutely only country in the world that doesn't have paid maternity leave laws. The Congo does, Chad does, pick your favorite country and they have a maternity leave policy. So that means that a mother gets a certain amount of time off after having a baby and gets paid to stay at home. Not here in the US that's where we live. But that's not a problem. So a lot of you probably watching are in the US I live there too, and so what we need to do is make a system that works for us. Given where we live, knowing that there isn't an infrastructures that's working. So it's funny when I was talking about, you know, having a baby and planning my maternity leave, someone, a Norwegian on Twitter said, uh, who needs more than the year the government gives you. Yeah right, who needs more than the year, in Norway, the government gives you? So that's not the world that I live in and probably not you too. This also the system though does apply to some other countries and I'll tell you why. All of the governmental rules usually apply to companies. So you must give your employee this amount. Some other countries like Australia, Britain, they will pay you a small steepened if you're self employed but it's, that's just a little bit of money it's not always what you were earning yourself. So if you're an entrepreneur, okay maybe your government gives you a little bit of money in these other countries but they're not giving you a solution to how to keep your business running. So this is what I call business momentum. I ran my own company FreshStitches even if the government gave me a little it of cash, I couldn't just put it on hold show up a year later and expect that my customers would still be there. So money aside, we need to develop a system that worked for us and keeps what I call business momentum. You need to keep your business running, you need to keep your customers happy because when the amount of time is up that you feel ready to get back to work, and that varies for everyone. You still need your company to be functioning and you still need to be there. Also on the flip side, for those of you who work for employers the traditional system is starting to break down. The whole idea that you would just take a certain amount of time off and then show up and you're like hey, what did I miss, let me hop into it, is really hard for employers to manage too. And so we're gonna be talking about solutions to that I have an HR director coming on who's gonna brainstorm with us for how those of you who are employed who want something a little different than the standard system can approach their employers and discuss options that would be right for you and flexible with your life. 'cause this is what it's about, it's about having your job life that you want and also the home life that you want 'cause this is such a short blip of time so even if you're in one of those other countries that has great state benefits, this is still something you wanna pay attention to because you might want something for your business that's not the clean break that we're kind of trained is the ideal. So one thing I wanna talk about, and this is a little controversial but here, linked on the bottom of your screen is what some research that I've read at the gender pay gap that we hear a lot about is largely because of motherhood. So there's small differences between what men and women earn when they come fresh out of school, but these difference widen hugely when a woman is about 45, 40, when you start to look at those rates and specifically it's because women tend to take more time off, due to having a child. In that time they're more likely to fall behind in experience also to work fewer hours. And so we wanna minimize that gap as much as possible. I don't believe that this system is inherent to just how it works. A lot of people have said well, no problem, if you wanna stay in the game just don't have kids. And I think that's complete rubbish because we can fix this we're smarter than that. So what our system is about is maximizing our pay for the next decade or two decades or whatever. We don't wanna fall into this trap where we plummet and we're just like struggling for the rest of our careers to keep up. So one side I have kind of a traditional model. Let's say you took three years off or you took a year off whatever it is, you're gonna start a bit lower when you start up again and then these steady increases, you know, cost of living raises, you're gonna get them, but they're always gonna be much lower than if you had continued keeping momentum going throughout the whole time. And so you'll see on my continued work slide there's a bump down, right, so I was working less when I had my baby, but the next years keep going up at a higher rate than if I had taken complete time off, totally checked out. So like I said I earned 65% that the first baby year only working a few hours a day. And to me what felt like getting all of the baby ness that I wanted to have. So it's about keeping momentum going, it's about staying relevant, it's about maintaining your skills and it's kind of about wage too. And really it's about having the kind of lives that we wanna have. Because, you know, 30 years down the road, we wanna have our family and our kids still, maybe not that job that we thought was really fun. We'll still have a job too. So I'm not doing this alone. Well, I thought I was. When I took my maternity leave, I couldn't find resources anywhere and so that's why I'm really passionate about teaching this class, as I've talked to people, I start to see little stories kind of all over the place of someone who did it, someone who made it work. And so I'm not just telling you my story, I'm pulling together the stories of all of these women who have made It work in completely different ways. And so I want you to go ahead and meet these women now because you'll be seeing them, and I think I only have their pictures on one slide so Stephanie Alford is a dire for SpaceCadet Yarns. She runs a company with multiple employees and it's a family friendly company so all of the women who work for her have children and she's made it work so that they have flexible schedules. Wendi Gratz, when she had her daughter was a sales rep but worked from home, so she worked for someone but had control over her schedule. And she had her daughter and her and her husband both worked from home in tag teams so that they didn't have child care for like a good number of years four or so years until she went to school. Sarah Guerrero, is the founder of Stand for Mom which is a great website that talks about these issues about family friendly work forces and getting women into the workforce. Sara Holoubek is the CEO of Luminary Labs, and she's written some amazing articles about women CEO because she's a CEO in like the real sense, not like I'm the CEO of my tiny one person company, and she has some amazing insights about what it means to take maternity leave when you're running a team of people who are relying you for the livelihood of the business. Ellen Lau is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the KIT-MD MEG Lab which is a magnetic, it's a brain thing, it's really fancy. And so she has children under the age of three, so she definitely knows what it's like to take a little bit of a break and have to work on family issues but she's also an amazing researcher and an amazing woman. So she's sharing our experiences as well. Abby Rasminsky she's a freelance writer who had her baby in another country and also has come back to the US so she has a different perspective on both sides of the coin there. Me, that's me Stacey, I do all those things but we talked about me, and Kim Werker is a freelance writer and author at and she has a son and she has adopted her son and so she is able to give us that great perspective about what it means to bring a child into your life and manage time when, honestly adoption, you don't know when you're going to bring your baby home so there's a lot of uncertainty there. And I'm so happy she was able to share her perspective with us, so we'll be seeing these women pop up throughout the entire day. So here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna talk about the outline of your maternity leave system, there's a few steps for streamlining that are really gonna help us nail it down we're gonna talk about analyzing your business, what is working, what isn't working, what's something that you really need to make sure you're doing consistently and what are things that you can just, wow, that's not really important to do. We're gonna make a game plan for all stages for you so this is where you're really going through, you're thinking about these are the things I wanna do and accomplish and these are the things I can cut aside and these are all personal decisions. Something that's gonna come up again and again is one person may think the fantasy is staying at home for three years or until their kid goes to school, and another person will be like, I wanna be home for a few months and then I wanna hit back at it. And that's completely a personal decision and there's no rights and wrongs. This is a system that works wherever you're at and whatever your personal decisions are. And then we're really lucky to have Megan who's the HR person here at Creativelive to talk to us a bit about how you would approach HR if you work for a company who's interested, who wants to work with you, but maybe they've never had that experience before of a woman who wants maybe some part time back or some flexible schedule. And so she's gonna share her experiences running a company with us.

Class Description

If the term “maternity leave” makes you nervous, you’re not alone.

The big challenge: stepping away from life for 3 months with the expectation of returning to work after maternity leave like nothing happened. Many working women already put in 12 hours a day, so how does one manage with fewer? This common practice is particularly detrimental to small business owners, who find their business slipping away during maternity leave, along with confused and disappointed customers, even when the business has returned to normal.

There’s a better way.

Instead of a traditional maternity leave, in How to Take Maternity Leave without your Putting Life on Hold, Stacey will show you how to put your business into maintenance mode for as long as you want: keeping your business functioning at a high level to keep your customers happy, but not requiring your full-time attention. It will make returning to work after maternity leave much more seamless.  

Many business owners spend time on tasks that are not essential. By eliminating these excess activities, you can distill your business into a few hours a day of powerful productivity. Keep your business going while still spending the time with your family that only comes once in a lifetime. When you’re returning to work after maternity leave, you’ll find that your newly-discovered efficiency has transformed your business. You may even decide to limit work to a few hours a day, permanently!

You’ll Learn How To:

·       Determine which tasks in your business are worth your time and attention

·       Streamline your business down to the bare essentials, creating successful systems

·       Calculate how much money you need to earn during your leave, and work the minimum number of hours to achieve it

·       Take advantage of ‘down time’ in productive ways

·       Decide when to hire out tasks, even if you’ve never considered hiring contractors before

·       Find non-standard childcare options… there’s more than full-time daycare!

·       Effortlessly shift your business back into ‘full-rev’ mode

During Stacey’s daughter’s first year, she earned 65% of what she earned the previous year, working during baby’s naps and in the evenings. She was able to do this by streamlining her business and working on only what brought in results, cutting work time down to a couple of hours a day. Her daughter entered traditional daycare when she was 20 months old, with a transition that was seamless to customers, because it appeared as if she had been working full-time all along.

Learn how you can apply Stacey’s techniques and strategies to your maternity leave plan. Even if you’re not a small business owner, you’ll find ways to assess and streamline your work, make time for this once-in-a-lifetime period,  manage childcare, rev up and get back in the game.   


Patrice Horvath

Thank you for making such an important class!!! This is a topic we all really need to talk about openly and have some guidance on! I'm 29, recently married and went freelance last year because I knew I'd want flexibility when I started a family. My business has gained momentum recently and this will course be so important to have handy during the next few years when I start a family to help me maintain my business. Thank you, very excited!