As I always say, every new business needs a maternity leave (baby or not), a window of time which offers you a chance to think of a career change, potentially or a different, more flexible way of working, if you can. I changed career directions after kids going from being a TV Director to a full time blogger and vlogger.
Here, Lucy Griffiths, success coach for mothers, offers her advice on using maternity leave to inspire your career.
There’s never a right time to start your business. You think you never have enough money, enough time, enough brain-power, enough pizzazz…
But actually maternity leave is a brilliant time to set up your own business. It just takes courage.
Many women on maternity leave have a little financial cushion of support from the government. I know it’s no fortune (especially when you have to buy all that baby stuff), but it’s something to pay the bills while you get up and running, and psychologically it does make you feel as though a little money is coming in, and that you’re independent. You’re also away from the routine and the rat race… the must-buy coffee from Starbucks, lunch from M&S blah, blah, blah. It doesn’t matter if you eat last night’s leftovers for breakfast and lunch now, and those impulse lunchtime shopping splurges just don’t come up as much on mat leave.
You’re also are awake at odd times- giving you windows of time to think and dream, and imagine ‘what ifs’, change changes or ways to change your lifestyle now you have a little one. Let those dreams be your north star, helping you to overcome moments of self doubt where you might wobble and waver.
Now while I’ve been known to spend an hour reading gossip pieces on the Daily Mail app, I know that isn’t time well spent that will help me create a business dreams are made of. Use your time, and any ‘down time’ on maternity leave wisely.
You might think you’re too busy minding a little one to possibly do anything but actually babies and toddlers sleep a fair bit and you could work with them on your lap or around sacred nap times. Use time when they sleep to get cracking on making a business plan or blog around your kids.
IT’S OKAY TO DREAM…
Imagine if you could choose the hours you worked so you can achieve your goals: your forever home, a way to support your family financially without worry, holidays you’ve always wanted to go on…Write a list of your hopes down and use this as motivation to drive you forward when you question what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.
It’s not about inventing the latest gadget to rival the iPhone, it’s about doing something you love and creating something (a physical product, a service, or a blog) that lights you up, feeds your passion, fills you with pride and enables you to work around your family in a way that’s positive for you all. Doing something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning is crucial to happiness and success.
SO AND SO IS DOING IT AHEAD OF ME:
So and so also started small, and did it because she was passionate and proud of what she believed in. Yes, we all want to be the next digital mum turned Kris Kardashian momanager but actually you can be authentically you, and people will buy you, and your story. Tom’s shoes just sell espadrilles… but we all love Toms Shoes because they tell a story and we buy into their story. Just be wonderful you in all your glory (and tired, knackered bits too).
I HAVE BABY BRAIN…
My brain is a bit mushy most days… I’m utterly useless at remembering anything to be honest. I just write everything down in my iPhone notes and my Google Calendar and smile lots when I screw things up. We’re all human. It doesn’t mean that you can’t run a business- just hire the most amazing virtual assistant to disguise your forgetful moments or simply accept that you won’t be 100%, 100% of the time. No one is.
I DON’T THINK I CAN DO IT
I am the queen of thinking I can’t do it, and doing it anyway. I read Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway as I backpacked around Europe as a 21-year-old and it stayed with me. I moved to China even though I was petrified, and thought I couldn’t do it. And then I found that I loved my job, and I stayed 5 years… Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other and TAKE ACTION, and even when you’re scared to do it.
I FAIL AT EVERYTHING
I failed to get into a ‘posh school’ when I was 11, and presumed that I would fail at everything. It was only a couple of months ago that I realised that every time I failed at something like school entrance exams for example, it made me work harder, be more determined and ultimately go further. Don’t use your past failures as an excuse to stop you from making that leap now.
I CAN’T COPE…
There are moments when I think I can’t possibly cope with family life and running a business. I have a child and unwell father and am often consumed with mummy guilt but I always reflect on my motives and I let that help me get through the rougher periods.
SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD SO SHE DID
Believe that you can do it, and don’t over think it, just do it. Take action and begin your journey to being the woman, mother, and entrepreneur that you dream of. Squash negative thoughts when they arise and know that each small step will lead to bigger goals ticked.
If I can do it, you can bl**** do it!
The Mama Collective – my Facebook group for mums to support each other setting up their own business: