How to Take Maternity Leave without Putting Life on Hold

 

Lesson Info

Who to Hire and Why

So in this section, I just wanna talk a little bit about who are some people who are available to hire, and why you might want to hire them. And then in the next lesson, we're gonna get into detail about how to shop for freelancers, how to do the actual nuts and bolts of it. So all of the worksheets we did before about coming up with things you wanted to delegate, that's kind of the worksheets you wanna bring forward now because now you want to start to think about who might be able to do these things. Sometimes, I might show you something, and you might say, "Whoa, I had no idea that person existed!" (laughs) And then you'll get the idea, "Oh, I could hire a person to do that." So let's just go through the different categories of people and this is by no means an extensive list, but it's just to give you an idea of like, there are a lot of freelancers out there ready to help you. So in the financial sector, there are bookkeepers, so these are people who like back in the day, used to k...

eep books. They would enter an expense or an income into, probably nowadays, it's software to keep your records tidy. An accountant, a lot of time bookkeepers and accountants overlap a little. An accountant brings along a bit more legal experience and gives some advice. A tax preparer is someone who prepares taxes. A payroll company would be someone who helps you cut checks, issue payments. And an attorney is a sort of person who's an attorney who can give you legal advice. So for example, if you're not sure, should I be a sole proprietor or an LLC? An attorney is a kinda person you would go to for that sort of advice. So how do you know if you need one of these people? Well, so for example, we're refinancing our mortgage and the loan person, like two days ago, called me and said, "I need your year-to-date "profit and loss statement for your business." Okay, sure, that took me two minutes, right. I have a spreadsheet, my books are kept really nicely. I just summed up some columns and sent it to him. If that question would send you into an absolute frenzy, that's a sign that you might need the help of a bookkeeper. Similarly, if doing taxes for you is two weeks of receipts and like craziness, a tax preparer might really be worth your time because now especially in this time, we're thinking about, what did take you two weeks, will now that might be like four weeks if you're only working four hours a day. And is it worth the opportunity costs, so that is, what could you be doing otherwise when you're spending like four weeks doing your taxes, and is it worth you spending a little bit of money to get that task off of your hands. On the technical side, there's web developers, database developers, plugin developers, spreadsheet coders. So if you've ever been in the situation where you're just, your website's not doing what you want it to do, or you are doing the same cut and paste task over and over again in your spreadsheet, you could turn to someone who's a professional in this area, and say, "Hey, could you like spend 20 minutes "writing some formulas for me so that "my tasks are easier time and time again?" And this falls into the streamlining we've been talking about. A lot of us don't know how to streamline because we don't even have the skillset to know what to ask for. So as we're going through these things, start thinking like, "Oh, I didn't "even know I had a spreadsheet problem. "But now I think I do have a spreadsheet problem. "And maybe, I can look for someone to fix it." And for a lot of these issues, it might not be as expensive or as long-term as you think. You may hear a spreadsheet coder costs X amount per hour, but in reality, it only takes them 20 minutes to do your task, so it's always worth asking, and it's always worth beginning the investigation to see if there's a person who can follow through on something that makes your life so much easier. And remember we did those worksheets that are like what would you do with extra money? What would you do with extra help? You don't know what difference these things could really make in your business, so go ahead and just ask how much it's gonna cost. Start the investigation and see, 'cuz these things can really do so much better. I remember when I hired my web developer, and she just, I mean things that would take me forever and researching this plugin, and then she would just do it. And I'll email her some things and I'll be like, "Hey, can you fix this thing?" And I'm thinking, "Oh man, this is "gonna cost me like three hours." And she does it in like 10 minutes because she's a professional. She spends her life being most up-to-date on these specifics, and she can do it way more efficiently than I can. That's why she's the professional. So marketing, there are brand consultants. There are illustrators, graphic designers. There are ads managers, so these are people who place and run the ads, check the demographics. Copywriters, PR, so public relations people. Social media managers, these are all people who are professional at marketing. So if you're hitting your rev up stage, and you wanna grow your business bigger, and you sort of feel like maybe I should take out ads, but I don't know how to get started, then an ads manager would really be worth investigating. Or if you feel like your logo isn't quite representing what your business is, or even a photographer could fall into this category. These are a great way to ramp up your business without something that requires a ton of time on your behalf. In terms of community, there are people who are professional email answerers. So, you can train them up to answer your email if this is a task that is just burdening you. It can be really helpful to get that off of your hands. There are also people who are forum managers, who can go in, answer questions that are happening on your Facebook account, and they would send you maybe a weekly update and say, "Hey, I didn't know how to answer this question." And that's something, especially if you can't guarantee that you're checking in every day, it can be really helpful to have someone else doing. I have production help down, this can be absolutely anything that helps you get your product out of the door. If you're a photographer, then your model is a production help. If you are sewing garments, then a seamstress could be production help. A silkscreener, a dyer, a pattern drafter, a sample maker, a videographer. Whatever your product is, there are probably lots of people who could help you put your product together. So, you're gonna have to do a little more investigating into your specific industry, but usually there are some extra hands around who could help you, and this could be virtual, so for example, in the case of a videographer who's doing a lot of video editing, that could be virtual or it could be someone physically located close to you, like a model would have to be. And then of course, there's the organizational top-down level people. So business coaches, creative coaches, project managers, event coordinators, OBMs, or online business managers. These are particularly helpful either in your pre-baby preparation, when you're trying to brainstorm how should I shift or scale my business? That's a place you might need a lot of help, or in your back to your fully integrated life stage when you're thinking how do I rev my business back up? These are people you could consult for how to give your business a kickstart. And again, I want you to think about these things as an investment. Yep, they sound expensive, but you have to think about what the payoff is for your business, and so, if you can make double or triple that back, then it's an investment. It's a great opportunity to grow your business forward. And we can't forget types of personal help. This, for the first time in my life, I hired a cleaner after having a baby because our house was a mess and I just couldn't do it. Food preparation, a restaurant is a kind of food preparation. Cleaners, gardeners, home renovations. Well I, in particular, have kinda like a stumbling block about getting help in the home 'cuz, I don't know, I guess I grew up, one of those old school families where like the woman's supposed to take care of all that stuff, but I want you to think about what if you could get an hour of highly specialized work in? Right, what if you could be doing your best work for that hour? How much money could you earn in that hour? And then, maybe it's not worth making dinner, right. So, sometimes it helps to think about the financial gain if it's not helping from a stress perspective, to think about what you could get off of your plate. Think of the opportunity cost equation when getting help within your home, and this is all we talked about, the renegotiating our relationship contracts. You may be in a situation where your spouse is unable to pick up extra tasks, and that's fine. We can't all expect that everyone's able to chip in the same amount. That's another place where you say that's fine. Neither of us can do it, we can hire this out. Alright, so let's talk about what's a VA? So this is a really great person that you could look into hiring when you're in your pre-baby preparation mode. So a VA is a virtual assistant. So a virtual assistant is a person who is usually a jack of all trades. So instead of hiring an ads manager, or instead of hiring a Facebook person, or instead of hiring a graphic designer, this is a person who would assist you, virtually, so they're not next to you, in many different ways and be a second set of hands for your business. So a lot of times, they would participate in some forum things, so answering some questions, but also maybe putting together an ebook for you. So if you were doing some brainstorming about what you needed delegating, and you came up with lots of different little tasks, and you feel like you could just use one person who helped you for the long haul, then a VA might be a really great solution for you. And the advantage is that you don't have to manage lots of different people because the managing takes time too. So to get a little advice about hiring a virtual assistant, I turned to Jess Cook. So she runs a virtual assistant consulting firm, and she provides consulting to small businesses to help them figure out how they could bring a virtual assistant onboard, and how to streamline their business. So you're great at the streamlining. We've already been talking through all of the worksheets, and if you're thinking about hiring a virtual assistant, you just need a few tips, so we turned to Jess for this. I asked her for her hiring advice. So here's some advice she gave us. So for sure, she encourages you to do an interview on the phone or Skype, like you know, in person to see if you click. You may or may not care if your spreadsheet coder matches your personality, but a virtual assistant is someone that you work with on an ongoing basis, and you need to have a good working relationship. So it's really important that you feel like you're a good fit. She also recommends hiring a person on a trial basis on a project that has a finite end point. So for example, could you reformat this ebook for me, right? And that's something you can analyze it at the end, and determine whether the expectations were met at the end of this trial period. You can also get a feeling for how they take feedback, right, so if you send it back to them and say, "Oh, can you change this?" See how that working relationship goes, and then at the end of the trial period, you can determine if it did or if didn't work out, and that's fine. You're gonna expect some training time, so a virtual assistant, like I said, is a lot like a second set of hands. No one can just show up and answer your emails, right? There has to be some learning about your business, learning about how you do things in your business. So that's why I'm recommending it for either the pre-baby preparation stage, when you have a few months to train a person before they have to get going, or maybe in your new integrated life when you're ramping your business back up and you wanna dedicate your attention to doing some higher-level business things and just getting some tasks off of your chest. And Jess says, "Hiring a VA can actually help "save a lot of time and earn a lot "more money, but it's not instantaneous." So this is why the preparation is so important. You have to train the person and get them going before you'll really feel the benefits of taking all of that time back. But then you can concentrate on doing the work that earns you money and the work that you really love, so that in the end, it is a huge benefit, but expect a training period. Another thing I'd like to encourage you to think about is hiring technology, right, so earlier I showed you an example of how I got a website plugin that handled my shipping price calculation for me, and that's an example of where you can get a little bit of technology to do something on a recurring basis. There are things like Neat, which allow you to scan your receipts and it automatically does the bookkeeping. There are boards that help you organize your Pinterest boards. Things that help you grow your Instagram followers. So there's all kinds of bits of technology that you might wanna look into. And also like Facebook scheduling for planning out scheduling your Facebook posts. So look into hiring technology as well, either for a complement or a replacement to hiring someone.

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.   


 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • 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!