Happy Monday! Phew- what a busy weekend we had! We’re in full baby prep mode as little guy could be coming any day now! All of the sudden I want and need to get all the things done. Ha!
We’ve been working on the finishing touches for the nursery- but let’s be honest- it’ll be a work in progress for quite a while and then it’ll be in transition as he grows. I’ve also been working really hard on making sure all of my workflows and systems are working and in place so I don’t have to work as hard as we adjust to life as a family of 4. I’ve been batch working to get everything done and scheduled, and have some super fun blog posts coming in the next few months!
If you’re a small business owner, you know how hard it can be to fully step away for any amount of time, but it’s super important to me that I am able to bond with baby, recover and rest! I’ll share later about what I’m planning on maternity leave looking like for me. To be able to have blogs scheduled, emails automated, and workflows in place allows me to ease back into work instead of trying to balance it all at once, which we all know never works out!
Here are some ways that I’m preparing my business for some time off:
1- Lists of tasks that need to be completed before my leave, and responsibilities that continue on and I’ll need to follow up on while on leave. As of right now, I’m not planning on hiring a virtual assistant or anyone to answer emails for me, so while there may be a slight delay in responses, I’ll put up an away message and know my amazing clients are prepared for it and know I’ll be getting back with them soon!
2- Set expectations. By writing about maternity leave, posting about it on social media and emailing my clients ahead of time, I’m letting clients know what to expect. I also have an away message up for new clients, and will change it up once I’m taking more time away and responses will be a little bit more delayed.
3- Reviewing my systems and workflows. You know I always preach about workflows and how they make my life SO much easier! Going over the past year and being able to pinpoint those moments of pain or stress really help with creating changes for the next year. With this, I highly encourage having GMail filters in place, having automatic responses in place for new inquiries, and to take advantage of canned responses to emails where you get lots of similar questions about.
4- I’ve reached out to some amazing Lynchburg, Virginia vendors and friends to help me keep the blog alive while I’m out. I am SO excited for this- hearing from professionals in all different aspects in the industry to help Brides and Photographers/Small Business owners alike.
5- Decide on a timeline! This is so important because it can be so easy to get used to not working and start dropping the ball on important tasks that need a timeline to get moving again. I luckily was able to take things pretty slowly the last few weeks of my pregnancy office-wise to be able to prepare. Knowing when my next weddings are and when I need to start working on things again will help make sure no balls are dropped. I do have weddings scheduled and on the books in the next couple of months, but have backup plans and am still limiting how many weddings and sessions I’m taking over the year for 2018. I’ll be easing back into working full time hours again slowly to get used to adjustments!
6- Be okay with asking for help! I know that each pregnancy, delivery and recovery is very different- as is each and every baby. With Emmie, I was able to use nap times and snuggle times to get some work done. That may or may not be the case this time- and that’s okay. I know I have people on board that can help with emails, management, and whatever else I need and I need to give myself grace and ask for help if I need it!
So, that’s my plan for this exciting- yet scary - time full of so much unknown! I’ll be sure to update after the fact with what I learned worked and didn’t work for those of you who own a business and are looking at taking some time off!
Ashley Eiban is a Wedding & Portrait Photographer based in Central Virginia. Serving the Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Richmond, and surrounding areas. Available for travel world-wide. Ashley is passionate about cultivating genuine relationships built on mutual understanding, trust and lasting friendship.
Currently booking a limited number of wedding and portrait sessions for 2018 and 2019. Contact Ashley today for additional information!