My maternity leave checklist

I’m so happy for you! You know, when it came time to plan for maternity leave with Daniel, I didn’t really know what I needed to do and I also thought it was just impossible as a small business owner. I remember friends asking me how long my maternity leave would be and my answer was simple, “Oh, well, I can’t take one because I can’t be away from my business.”

Dear Jordan-before-Daniel, you can take maternity leave. You’re afraid that your business will come tumbling down if you let go of the work reins, but you’ve built something that will not come tumbling down overnight. 

This is definitely a limiting belief, but don’t worry, Jordan. We’ll tackle that later on and you will take a maternity leave. He’ll be 8-months-old, but your heart will rejoice nonetheless and it will lay the foundation for taking every December completely off work. You know, except for the December in 2017 when you’re preparing for baby girl’s arrival.

Another miracle baby because the impossible is possible.

All the hearts,
Pregnant-Jordan-in-December-2017

 
 what I took care of before going on maternity leave
 

My maternity leave checklist

When it came time to prep for maternity leave this time, I didn’t want to just check off a thousand to-dos and call it good. We upped my work hours so I could catch up from being sick and also prep for maternity leave, but I still have a limited number of hours even while preparing for maternity leave… around 15 hours.

So I knew I had to figure out what my business really needed while I was away. I’ve written a few other posts on taking maternity leave, so if you haven’t read them, these are for you!

  1. Your first steps to maternity leave
  2. Your last steps to maternity leave
  3. How to decide what you need on your maternity leave checklist

Add the big rocks first and then the small rocks

If you have no clue what I mean when I say “big rocks,” go read this post and then come back. 

The big rocks for your business while you’re on maternity leave are going to look a bit different than when you’re working normal hours.

The big rocks for your maternity leave list are going to look like taking care of the basics...

Make sure your finances are handled — You will want to make sure to have things in place to pay yourself and your team while you’re gone for 3-4 months.

Make sure your people are taken care of — Record tutorials for your team and make sure your customers or clients will be taken care of and supported by your team while you’re gone.

My big rocks for maternity leave

1. Automate my Light & Airy Preset Suite

This meant one big, final launch to my email list, a membership site to educate and support new L&A Preset Suite fam members, and a system for selling the presets while I was away. I worked with Ashlyn Carter — cannot recommend her enough for all of your copywriting needs — to create an email funnel to educate, encourage, and sell my presets.

This is something we’ll tweak (if needed) when I get back, but the good news is a lot of the systems you put in place before maternity leave will make your whole business smoother and simpler in the long run!

There are a lot of products I’m dreaming of creating, but I’m praying through the next transformational product. Click here to read more about how I choose what to sell, what to give for free, and where I’m headed in 2018. Because of this, I only needed to automate one product. 

2. Create tutorials for my virtual assistant

This looked like creating tutorials for my virtual assistant so she’d know exactly what to do if something came up in the inbox that we didn’t talk about beforehand. It looked like giving her access to the L&A Preset Suite membership site so that she’d know how the presets work and be able to answer any questions from our community in the membership area.

3. Write blog posts and emails

I decided I wanted to take around 16 weeks for maternity leave: December 22 - April 10.

My business is supported by just releasing one blog post a month because of the SEO that we’ve built, but I absolutely love teaching through blogging, so I love to write one post a week.

So I set a goal to write 16 blog posts while I’m on maternity leave that would fit into the following blog categories: Lightroom Tips, Photo Tips, Blogging & Biz Tips, and Motherhood. As of today (December 18), I have 12 posts finished!

We’ve been watching baby girl since 33 weeks when she first tried to make an appearance. And when that happened? Well, I had no posts written. So this feels like the biggest win!

I have a blog-to-email system that is pretty simple, so as soon as I finish the last four posts for maternity leave, it really feels like smooth sailing in the content creation department!

4. Schedule check-ins

It’s always possible that something will come up that I just have to take care of while I’m on maternity leave. I’ve done everything I can think of in advance to truly take time off, but I’ll be scheduling a check-in with Sarah, my virtual assistant, for every 2-4 weeks on a specific day with a specific start and end time.

Then, when an “emergency” pops up, we already have a system in place for me to take care of it on a specific day and time. This means I’m not jumping on the issue as soon as it comes up.

Something I’ve learned in business is that there really aren’t too many true emergencies, but there are times when we think it’s an emergency. If it’s a true emergency, Sarah will be able to contact me and let me know it needs to be handled right away. If not, she can hold onto it until we check in with each other.

Because you know how it goes — when you’re responsible for keeping a business alive, everything is an emergency. I’m so grateful Sarah will be able to filter through what really needs to come to me on maternity leave and what can wait until April (or one of our check-ins).

Once all of these things are in place, if there’s still time, I can get started on the smaller pieces.

5. Launch my new site and change careers

I wanted a permanent home on the web to come back to and I was ready to start talking about my career change! So that meant reaching out to my designer when I first got pregnant to get on her calendar and launch a new site. Cannot say enough about Creme Brands.

I wouldn’t necessarily suggest changing careers and launching a new site the same month you’re supposed to go on maternity leave, but if you do, Creme Brands is your girl! 

My smaller rocks for maternity leave

1. Finalize the Light & Airy Instagram feed 

I won’t create a separate instagram for every product I release, but this has been so fun! When it came to the Light & Airy Preset Suite, I really wanted to give ownership back to the community.

And I also wanted to support them each day with encouragement and tips to uplevel their businesses. Captions are ready for me to review, so now it’s just about sitting down to look at all the captions from January 1 - mid April!

2. Put things in motion for tax season

I’ll be returning right before tax season is over, so I know that I’ll need to have income and expenses prepped! We’re looking at hiring someone to take over our bookkeeping and accounting in 2018, but I won’t be bringing them on until after maternity leave. That means everything needs to be ready for Isaac, my handsome and fearless husband, so taxes can be handled without it turning into a stress-fest on maternity leave.

Honestly, taxes aren’t a stressor for me anymore because Isaac handles all of it! So I didn’t think of this until we were headed into December, but if you’re taking maternity leave around tax season, this is definitely something to think about!

3. Turn on the email auto-responder

When someone emails me, the best way I can serve them is to let them know that I’m on maternity leave, but that our team will take care of them. It will also help to point to frequently requested links: Light & Airy Preset Suite, How to get started with Lightroom, How to get the light and airy look in-camera , etc. 

 
My maternity leave checklist_Pin2.jpg

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4. Let my people know that I’ll be on maternity leave

Aside from letting my team know I’m officially out of the office until April 11, I need to let my email list and my facebook group know I’ll be away, but that I still have great content for them and it’s coming soon!

Even though I made a career change, I still want to make sure my wedding clients are well taken care of. I sent them an email letting them know Sarah would be able to help them with gallery passwords and such. 

Your business essentials for maternity leave might look a little different than what I’ve shared. And that’s good! That means you know what your business needs! Every business is different — from the way income is created and distributed down to the systems that make it all happen.

You can use my list as a starting place or just as inspiration so you can start your maternity leave list right away.

I’m cheering you on, momma! What will definitely be on your maternity leave list? What are your big rocks?