Are you on maternity leave and want to start a side business? If YES, here is a 10-step guide on how to start and run a business while pregnant. The fact that you are starting your business while you are pregnant is a wonderful thing, especially because you are ahead of other entrepreneurs who are waiting until they have their baby before they realize they don’t want to work for someone else anymore.
More and more women are now making names for themselves in business and in positions of power in general, but even with these advancements that women have made in the working world, there are still numerous hurdles to clear and challenges to face.
Many women say that things are getting better, that they truly feel like equals with their male counterparts, that is, until they get pregnant. Handling a pregnancy and a new business venture are two already difficult things on their own, so getting to deal with both at once may have you feeling scared or discouraged.
Howbeit, instead of feeling pressured to pick one or the other, it may help to know that motherhood and entrepreneurship are things you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. Women have come a long way and have done a lot to prove that they are a powerful and beneficial force as leaders and innovators in the workplace.
Indeed you may feel like you have a lot to prove to yourself and others if you are a pregnant entrepreneur, or are at least planning on starting a family soon. Keeping your wits about you, planning ahead and knowing your limits can help immensely, and these tips can help keep you on the track to success.
10 Detailed Steps to Starting a Business While Pregnant
Starting a business while pregnant can be a challenge, it doesn’t mean that a business can’t run at all. In fact, the opposite is true. Starting a business while pregnant is almost the same as starting a business when you are not pregnant, only now you require more planning.
As you embrace motherhood, you will discover new insights that can shape how you run your company. Nonetheless, here are steps to consider;
Look at Your Budget
While getting excited about the endless possibilities that starting a business can bring you, don’t forget to start at the beginning. The very first thing you need to do is take an honest look at your budget. Looking at your budget while pregnant is very necessary because you will need to have a clear understanding of where your money goes.
Starting a business is going to cost you money, and it is going to come from your savings and/or what you are currently doing to generate income. Since you are pregnant you also need to budget for your baby. So, basically, you are figuring out how many dollars you have to get your business started and still live comfortably.
Have a Plan
Writing down a plan of action means you will be more likely to actually do the work. Planning takes the guesswork out of growing a business and it helps to break down processes so you can meet your goals and not feel overwhelmed. Getting a business plan in place is essential to your success when you are trying to get started on your dreams. Here are some things to consider:
- What research do you need to do before making a commitment?
- Are there any skills you need to learn that would be helpful in the growth in your business?
- Are there any online courses you can take to shorten the learning curve?
Note that being pregnant and starting a business is not an easy task, but remember, you don’t necessarily have to go it alone. Even though you should definitely push the growth of your business as much as you can during pregnancy, you should also take a look at what you can assign to other people. Things to consider when contemplating help in your business:
- Are you connected to any likeminded individuals that you could partner with?
- What tasks and/or responsibilities can you outsource?
- What kind of help will you put in place for when your baby arrives?
Inform Everyone Concerned
Your clients will not drop you when you tell them the news. Right or wrong, hearing that their go-to-girl is pregnant may not be the best news your clients have heard all day. But that does not mean they’re going to leave you. Note that the best thing you can do after you break the news is to keep up your game and when the time comes, present a detailed plan on how you will be handling your maternity leave.
Tips to Help You Run a Business with Pregnancy
Running a business while having a baby can present some strain, especially for first-time mothers. Here are top 10 tips to help you run your business effectively in this trying period.
Know How to Balance Life and Work
Note that balancing your business with your pregnancy can be tough work, but it is absolutely achievable. The most important aspect of accomplishing multiple tasks at once is time management. Time management requires that you be organized and focused, and that you know when your optimal productive periods are.
Understanding how to properly harness your productivity while pregnant may be a bit tricky, but if you are in tune with your body’s needs and give it the care and relaxation required during pregnancy, then your brain and your drive should remain in good shape.
You can do this by keeping a detailed list, set reminders, and always remember to rest when you need to. It is normal to feel tired or worn out, but as a pregnant entrepreneur you may also feel especially fatigued, nauseous and any other number of typical pregnancy side effects.
If you know when to take breaks and when to get stuff done, then you should be able to handle your workload while also making sure to care for yourself and your baby-on-the-way.
Don’t Focus on Your Pregnancy When Dealing with Clients or Employees
Throughout your pregnancies, ensure that you let your employees and clients know that you are completely focused on their business. This might entail keeping your morning sickness, exhaustion, and intense cravings out of every small talk.
If you do make a mistake, don’t blame it on your pregnancy. Your client doesn’t need to know you were late to the conference call because you were throwing up — for the third time this morning. This goes for your employees, too.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Support System for Help
If you are starting a family, then everything about your life will change. You will have to juggle plenty of new responsibilities, but remember that you have others with you. If you have a partner, know that their life will be changing just as much as yours and that a lot of responsibility will be equally delegated between the two of you.
In addition, if you are an entrepreneur and business owner, then you likely have partners, associates and employees who will be able to help keep the company going along with you. Knowing that you are not alone can be a great comfort and a huge relief.
Look After Your Diet
First, you need to make sure that you stay hydrated because water helps keep you alert. So if you need to stay alert, drink water at regular intervals. Secondly, always carry a snack like a fruit, a biscuit – anything healthy will do. Thirdly, don’t starve yourself. You need to sustain whatever energy you have and this will allow you to conquer the day.
Also try to avoid salty foods because salt causes water retention – something that you don’t want, as pregnancy may cause your body to swell and retaining water amplifies it. If you just gave birth, consult your doctor before engaging in physical exercise.
Keep on Planning
As a prospective parent, you will be planning ahead to make sure that your home and your schedule will accommodate the baby, and as an entrepreneur it helps to do some preliminary planning so that you can get things done ahead of time in preparation for the hectic months to come.
Making sure that each realm of your life can accommodate and acclimatize to the other is very imperative. A baby can affect how much time you devote to your work, and embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavour will take a chunk out of your personal and family life as well.
Also consider all possible scenarios and plan for them as extensively as possible. Doing as much work now will indeed benefit you in the long run. If you have more completed before the baby arrives, the less you may have to worry about once the time actually comes and the more you will be able to settle into your new lifestyle.
Outline your Maternity Leave Game Plan
If you are worried about how your business will survive in the weeks or months after you give birth, face those fears head on. Note that it is never too early to start organising your maternity plan — just open up a fresh document and start outlining what needs to be done.
Add to it a little each day. Even if you have no idea who will do all this work you are outlining, getting clear on what needs to be done will help you understand the right person over the next few months. It’ll also reveal if there are any projects you need to surrender.
Keep Your Schedule Flexible
Note that babies and business hardly ever work according to a prearranged schedule, at least not one that is so meticulously calculated. Indeed things are going to happen and it helps to not be so easily thrown off if something comes up. Your baby-to-be will not likely go to sleep and wake up according to your work schedule, and as an entrepreneur you will be facing hurdles as they come, not often knowing what will happen next.
Therefore, to best acclimate the plans you have in place from the previous tip, it is imperative to realize that you need to keep an open mind when it comes to scheduling while being aware of growing too lax. You will have to weigh options during and after your pregnancy. So in order to best accommodate yourself, it helps to be open minded and flexible while remaining focused and determined no matter what.
Plan to Start Phasing Out During Your Ninth Month
Note that even if your baby doesn’t come early, you will not be bringing your best game to the table during the final month of your pregnancy. Wrap up all your big deadlines early in your ninth month. If you have someone covering for you, have them work alongside you during your final month (yes, you will have to pay for some overlap).
Own Your Pregnancy
There may be an elephant in the room when you walk into a meeting with a very pregnant belly. Whether you are meeting with employees and associates or investors and partners, it helps to be assertive and confident in your business operations while pregnant.
Always remember to work your pregnancy into your pitch, instantly turn the situation into a positive point before people begin to wonder or ask questions. Note that by being upfront about it, it makes it very clear to others that you are aware of how being pregnant, and subsequently becoming a mom, can alter your professional life and how you already plan to deal with it and integrate these new life changes with your burgeoning business’ changes, too.
Your Second Trimester is Your Best Friend
It is advisable to get as much done as humanly possible during your second trimester, because it is the best you are going to feel for awhile. Remember to leave some space to channel that energy into your home too.
Plan dates with your older children. Get the nursery ready to go. Have someone take maternity pictures of you while your belly is still “cute.” If you are on the brink of a season change, do all the clothing swap-outs now. Taking care of these details now is giving yourself a gift for your third — and fourth — trimesters.
Being a mom is a full-time commitment and so is your business. Other things (like keeping up with social engagements or working out) will slide for a while. Over the next year, it may seem like your pregnant friends with jobs have it far easier. However, always remember the day you became your own boss, and as your own boss, if you need to take an hour-long nap every day, you should absolutely do it.