To women who are self-employed, pregnancy means something else than to those who occupy full-time permanent positions.
To put it simply, it’s a bigger professional challenge.
Female freelancers who get pregnant need to limit the amount of their work, consequently taking up collaborations with fewer clients and gaining less income.
Still, it’s possible to successfully transform from a freelance professional into a mother and then back to a freelancer.
But before you embark on this journey yourself, you need to consider several issues.
- Will you tell your clients about your pregnancy or not? Should they know at all?
- How much time do you plan to take off?
- How will the pregnancy affect your schedule?
- What if unforeseen circumstances force you to limit your workload during the pregnancy?
- Will you hire childcare to resume your career?
Here are 5 tips to help you return to freelancing after maternity leave.
1. How to take time off
Many freelancing mothers never completely abandon their responsibilities.
It’s good to keep checking your email and stay involved in the niche. Make an effort to keep up with your industry. Don’t disappear from your social circles.
While on leave, you can call on your professional connections to do the extra work you can’t handle at the moment.
Referring clients to talented freelancers, you’ll be doing both parties a favor. It’s a win-win situation.
2. Informing clients
If you’re collaborating on long-term projects with several clients, stepping away for some time might affect your professional relationships.
Becoming a mother will have an impact on the time you’ll be able to devote to the projects of your clients, but you’re not required to tell them about your pregnancy.
The same should work for prospective clients. You don’t want them to think that you’ll be juggling their projects and your kids at the same time. They need to feel as if they were your number one priority.
Still, it all depends on your relation with the client and on the project itself.
For example, if you’re in the middle of a job and you know that your pregnancy might cause some interruptions, it makes sense to notify your client.
Remember that you don’t want clients to assume you won’t be coming back to work. Keeping your personal and professional lives separate is a smart move.
3. Retuning to work
The arrival of a baby affects the schedule of freelancing mothers, there’s no doubt about it.
That’s why it’s smart to develop and implement new time management habits before kids enter the picture. Once these are in place, you’ll find your transition back to freelancing life much easier.
The first thing you’re likely to do after the initial period of intensive childcare ends is to reorganize your home office to suit your new purpose.
You need this kind of ordered space in your house to feel like a professional again.
4. Delegate and ask for help
Interruptions have a great impact on productivity. And nothing is more important to a freelancer than being efficient in their work.
That’s why many freelancing mothers hire part-time or full-time childcare.
Have a look at Gumtree or Care.com for a selection of childcare options and pick those which suit you best.
Childcare helps in transitioning back to a professional life by allowing mothers to fully concentrate on their work.
Just because you’re a freelancer doesn’t mean that you need to be flexible all the time. There are moments when you need to take your career seriously and deliver quality work to your clients.
The uninterrupted time for work is priceless.
5. Accommodate kids into your freelancing lifestyle
The mental shift from mother to worker is far more demanding than most people expect.
It takes time to adjust to the new situation where you need to figure out how to manage your time in a way that benefits your career and personal goals.
Many mothers who return to freelancing jobs change their practices to accommodate the baby and time limits it poses on their output.
You might notice yourself becoming a stronger negotiator when it comes to deadlines and project time frames. You simply have no choice but to determine if a task is worth your time.
If it’s not, you’ll be able to say no with full confidence. And that will leave you enough time to push your career forward and take proper care of your baby.
The truth about transitioning from motherhood back to freelancing is that there’s no one way to do it.
Use these tips to define your priorities and take full control over your schedule.
To ensure that your transition back to the world freelancing is seamless and gentle, simply do what you feel works best for your family and for yourself.
Related: Getting Your Kids on Board: Strategies to Get Your Kids to Cooperate During Your Work Hours
About the author: Emily Burgess is an avid blogger who enjoys writing about all aspects of improving a business, be it marketing, customer service or training. Emily is currently sharing some of her ideas at Course Guru – experts in the field of online education. Personally, she’s a great fan of foreign languages.
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