How to Decide What You Need on Your Maternity Leave Checklist
Hey, hey maternity leave! The thing that I once thought was impossible is happening with our precious baby girl. And we’re actually calling it “family leave” since Daniel won’t be going to preschool while I’m on maternity leave.
This maternity leave is for him, too. I want to have lots of heart-to-hearts with my little one with big feelings and big questions. When I was about 2 months pregnant, I was explaining to him that everyone would hold the baby when the baby was born.
Daddy would hold the baby, I would hold the baby, he would hold the baby, and the list goes on and one. His eyes lit up and he said, “Oh! The baby will come out and ride in the backseat of the grey car with Daniel!” I picked my jaw up off the floor and marveled at my little two year old. He’s so excited to meet his baby sister.
When I was getting ready for maternity leave, I had no idea where to start. I’m the best at making lists, but what really needed to go on the list?
How to Decide What You Need on Your Maternity Leave Checklist
Before you ever start your maternity leave checklist, you’re going to need to knuckle down and get clear on what works for you and your business and what doesn’t.
I don’t want to run my business by doing all of the things and chasing and chasing and chasing. I want to run toward my God-given dreams and guard my heart against chasing someone else’s dreams.
Right now that looks like choosing what I’m going to say “yes” to intentionally. I thought this would feel so binding and so limiting, but it’s actually been freeing.
If I get an email from someone with a business opportunity and it doesn’t fit into my vision for the year, I can turn down the opportunity without any regrets.
It’s only a good opportunity if it fits the vision. Otherwise it’s a distracting idea.
So I’m sharing with you what I said yes to and what I said no to before I created my maternity leave checklist...
1. Saying yes to writing 1 blog post a week
I used to write 5 blog posts a week because that’s what everyone was doing. So when Daniel was born, I kept at it. I learned so many powerful lessons through that season of Daniel’s life and I don’t make choices based on what someone says about how I should spend my time.
Not unless they are also speaking freedom. When we read blog posts, listen to podcasts — or anything — we are allowing our minds to be shaped. If someone is telling you something that you have to do, ask yourself if that’s actually something you need in your business and life or if you just feel pressure when you hear the words.
If you just feel pressure, step away and evaluate. You don’t want to get caught in a lie that you have to do X to run a successful business and end up running you and your business into the ground trying to keep up with “have-tos.”
So now I blog once a week so I can serve my audience well. There are times when I’ll blog something personal in addition to my main piece of content, but those are extra posts.
How do you know how many times a week you should be blogging? Well, that’s quite a good question. I would look at your blog analytics, how well social media and SEO are performing for your blog, and how your email list fits in with your blog strategy.
I don’t really need to blog once a week anymore, but it’s something I love to do! And shhhhh!! This is a secret, but remember how I’m all about those formulas and experiments? Well, I am doing a bit of an experiment with SEO and blogging right now. And when I get back from maternity leave, I’ll also be looking at the best blogging strategy for turning a cold subscriber into a happy-keeps-coming-back-for-more customer after only ready one blog post.
Considering the industry conversion rate for a cold subscriber is 1-3%, we’ve got some work to do.
2. Saying yes to emailing my JB Insiders (my email list) 1 time a week.
It took me way too long to figure out an email workflow that supports my business. By “support,” I don’t mean sales. I mean an email strategy that works with the life I want to have surrounding my business.
I want to make sure what I’m offering to my list is valuable and I also want to make sure I’m not adding hours of work to my plate each week. So my blog posts and emails work together.
Every single person on your email list does not have to be emailed every week. If they’ve said they are interested in every topic, then make sure they are in every segment and then they will hear from you each week. But my posts on motherhood? I’ll only be sending those posts to my email insiders who specifically want to hear about motherhood (unless it would somehow benefit the whole group).
Before maternity leave, find a system and workflow that fits the life you want to have around your business. Otherwise, you work non-stop and you’re not totally sure what you’re working toward. That makes it really hard to accomplish your God-given dreams. So don’t give into chasing someone else’s “have tos.” You get to choose what’s good for you.
3. Saying no to launching a course
I love the idea of launching a course! If you’ve known me for a while, you know this was something I wanted to do way back in 2015! First, I decided to wait until after Daniel was born because I didn’t want to launch something and then have a baby.
And then, as I sat down to pray through my 2016 goals, I heard the Lord tell me that was my year to pour out. He directed me to not try to make a single dollar from my audience. I could book weddings, but sell nothing as far as education went
So I gave away everything I was going to sell.
I was scared at the beginning of the year because I didn’t know how I was going to ever have anything to sell since I was giving away everything I knew.
But there was a powerful lesson the Lord wanted to teach me: He has an abundance of creativity and knowledge He wants to pour out on His people… and that includes me. So I don’t have to worry about where the next creative idea is going to come from. He’ll give it to me in time.
As hard as it was to surrender going into 2016, my heart was on fire that entire year and I truly fell in love with teaching creative entrepreneurs.
And that — the Lord showing me how to pour out whether I was selling something or not — is what brought me to this point.
The point where I stepped away from a booming wedding career. I don’t say that to boast in anyone but Jesus. He did something totally unexpected in telling me not to sell anything educational for a year. And He did something totally unexpected in telling me to step away from weddings.
But there’s power wherever He leads. And friend, I’m pumped for whatever is going to happen next. With Him, the best is always yet to come!
4. Saying no to posting to Instagram every day
There was a point when I realized the best thing I could do for my people is create long-form content that would encourage and equip them in their lives and businesses. And by “long-form,” I really mean “longer than Instagram.” Ha!
Because of the way Instagram is laid out, content only circulates for a few days and it can be challenging to sort through helpful content even if you try hashtagging all of your “mini blogs” as my friend Ashlyn Carter calls them.
Instead what works best for me and what actually seems to be helpful to my Instagram people is to include a few tips from a blog post (in case they don’t have time to tap over and read) and let them know there’s more content on the blog if they want it. It helps keep my insta content a bit shorter.
Okay, who am I kidding? I’m the most long-winded person on Instagram! Haha! It’s something I’m working on but once I get to writing, it’s hard to stop!
And while you’re on maternity leave? Well, you definitely don’t have to be posting every day. Give yourself some freedom, momma. You do not have to keep up with everything or else “fall behind.” That’s not a thing for you.
The only way to fall behind is to fall behind yourself.
To forget which way is up and which way is down. To lose sight of your God-given dreams and start chasing. It's a lie that slowing down on Instagram means falling behind in business, motherhood, or life.
5. Saying no to managing a facebook group
There’s this term that comes up a lot as you start developing a team and reading books on the subject: micromanaging.
It’s like the curse word of running a team. Because if you choose to do it, you’re setting up obstacles for your team. So here’s what you do: you set things up, you get it all rolling, and you take your hands off that part of your business.
Well, at some point in November, I realized that I was micromanaging my facebook group. Sure, the gals (there are a few gents, but it’s mostly ladies in there) aren’t part of my team, but a lot of them are part of the Light & Airy Preset Suite fam and I love helping them.
But the best way for me to help them is to actually teach my Virtual Assistant how to edit with the presets so she can provide one-on-one customer support. Then, I can check in with her to see if there are recurring questions and I can create a tutorial that will support everyone who has purchased the preset suite!
This was such a hard decision at the time, but I’ve already seen so much good from it. Plus, my people inside the facebook group help each other out. They are the sweetest, most encouraging and helpful group I’ve seen.
Seriously, I’ll take 10,000 more just like them.
If you’re in the JB facebook group, I heart ya.
You and me both! Pin this image so you can come back to this post anytime.
Name your board "Light & Airy Photo Tips" so we can find your faves!
6. Saying yes to recording tutorials
You’ll need the support of a virtual assistant if you really want to take time off for maternity leave and you’ll want to record tutorials in advance.
For me, that looked like recording every possible tutorial I could think of for the Light & Airy presets. I thought through possible hiccups and recorded tutorials that would support her in taking care of the issue so that I don’t have to come back into the office: what she should do if someone can’t access the membership area, if someone has a question about how to download, if someone needs help finding the bonuses (if the snag them in time), etc.
Are you getting ready to take maternity leave or just planning ahead? What will definitely be on your maternity list when it’s time?