Thursday, 25 May 2017

Getting my Business ready for Baby Brown

Head to Toe Topshop ! Now 33 weeks and maternity leave is nearly here!!

Behind the scenes at Wardrobe Angel I have been getting ready to go on maternity leave for a long time. Instead of working in my business I've been working on it for months, prepping for 1st June when I go on maternity leave. If you are self-employed, pregnant and going on maternity leave I hope this list helps you get your head around temporarily leaving your business whilst still growing a baby:

  1. Clear out your office. I used to keep all my back copies of Red magazine and HFM magazine for reference. They have all been recycled. I have been through all my styling folders and recycled all the articles I haven't used, I have cleared out books, unsold clothing, pens and stationary: it's been an incredibly cathartic and freeing experience.
  2. Clean your computer. I updated my anti-virus softwear last month to protect my laptop when I'm out of office. I've also cleaned all my files (hello 'to do' lists from 2014!) and deleted unnecessary emails. 
  3. Get your books up to date. Print out all your paid out invoices and client invoices. Have you paid all your invoices? Have clients paid you? Chasing invoices is never fun however being pregnant has made me really brave - I've been on the phone to clients chasing unpaid invoices and making sure each invoice sent out has the payment term "before 1st June" written on it. 
  4. Make sure you have enough money in your business bank account for the months ahead - tax, phone, wifi and any other bills you pay out of your business account. Check, cancel and/or alter any standing orders you need to pay whilst on maternity leave. 
  5. Talk to your accountant. My accountant, Claire Howarth from Novis and Co, has been a huge source of knowledge about my business transactions when I'm away. As I'm receiving Government Maternity Allowance I can't earn any money through my business whilst on mat leave - thanks to Claire I've been really savvy about saving money this year to see me through to my return to work in 2018.
  6. Decide what you are doing about online presence. I've written a hefty amount of blogs for my website and have been stockpiling articles on the Pocket App to tweet whilst I'm 'away'. I decided to keep my Wardrobe Angel brand alive online but my out-of-office will definitely be on.
  7. Word your out-of-office. As this is my first baby I'm not sure how long I'll be on maternity leave for. My out-of-office will tell people I'll be back at work sorting wardrobes in spring 2018 - a season not a specific date.
  8. Unsubscribe. Each time I have emptied my junk folder I have unsubscribed from all of those newsletters I thought I'd read but never did and from those odd marketing lists I seem to be on. I intend to check my emails once a month and this will really lighten the load. You can use Unroll Me if your email account is compatible. 
  9. Check your contracts - when do contracts expire? Need renewing?  I paused my Mailchimp account this year which takes care of one expense but my car insurance is due in August. I've saved for this and made a note in my diary for the week it needs dealing with.
  10. Manage people's expectations. In the run up to my maternity leave I only saw local clients for 3 hr appointments. I answered new client requests saying I'd keep their details and contact them again in 2018. A new work stream has emerged for me over the past month (working as a Creative Consultant on a business re-brand) so the preliminary work has been done and they are more than happy for me to finish off the work in 2018. 

Boundary setting has been a huge part of me getting ready to go on maternity leave - working more from home (hello Wedding Guest outfit shopping for clients online!) and pausing working further afield, saying 'yes' to some opportunities and unfortunately saying 'no' to others. The mantra that has been running through my mind for the past few months has been:

Image from Preppy Obsessions

What's been really heartening is the number of new clients, existing clients and businesses who are more than happy to wait for their appointments in 2018. 

From the bottom of my heart I thank you. 

I'll still be blogging on this here website during maternity leave so check back every now and again, won't you?

Til next time ...x

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