So, earlier this week, Emylee talked about what it was like to prepare for maternity leave. Boy, am I thankful for every waking minute of work she squeezed in before sweet Penelope graced this earth. It made my job a hell of a lot easier. As one might imagine, with Emylee gone I had grand plans to go into business overdrive, get #allthethings done, do all the research for the year ahead and take some much needed R&R while she was sneaking in snuggle time.
But holy moly was it a wake up call. As much as Emylee was ready to walk out to door, I was not prepared to manage the ENTIRE business by myself. The whole month of January felt like a giant scramble-fest behind the scenes to offload as much as possible so I could free myself up to actually work on anything other than the day-to-day stuff.
Tip #1: Plan NO Major Launches
As much as we put the launches on autopilot, we launched, not 1, not 2, but 3 things in the midst of Emylee’s first couple of weeks away. Our new program, The Follow Through Method, quickly became a fan favorite and we had students kicking goals in the butt in no time. Two days before Penelope was born we launched our podcast, The Strategy Hour, which quickly climbed the charts to the Top #15 Business Podcasts in iTunes! And our website, which has been in the works since October, slowly started dripping out throughout the month of January.
This added a lot of unnecessary chaos behind the scenes that could have easily been avoided if we stuck to what was already in our “normal” everyday. All that said, I wouldn’t change a thing. Things went fantastically, we just tend to do things the hard way.
Tip #2: Live in a Plastic Bubble
So, probably not practical, but if I could have avoided injury pre-maternity leave, it would have made the process 100 million times smoother. In November, I was in a 5 car collision where I suffered a concussion, whiplash, PCL injuries to both knees, and soft tissue damage to both shoulders and neck (among other things). Following the accident I have been in physical therapy and vestibular therapy 5x a week. According to recent impact testing, my memory and reaction time are in the 5th percentile for women my age. Which, you can imagine, is a huge blow. I live in constant pain, and I haven’t had a day without a headache or migraine since the accident.
But this isn’t about me.
Just do yourself a favor and stay as healthy as possible before, during and after your partner’s leave. You will need all the energy you can muster.
Tip #3: Train Your Team Before It’s URGENT
As you can imagine, we prepared as much as possible, but, given the circumstances, we weren’t just one (wo)man down. We had both (or should I say ALL) our full time people out for the vast majority of January.
This made it glaringly obvious where our team was super empowered to take charge, and where we had fallen flat in giving them the tools they needed to keep the ball rolling.
Now, in the midst of moving full steam ahead, we are doing our best to continue to document our processes. In the last couple of weeks I have made training videos, hired two new part time contractors and documented our naming conventions and filing systems.
If you can, take the time to train your team before it’s URGENT – they will be able to serve you so much better when you truly do need their support.
I’d love to tell you that this has been the best experience ever, and that I learned so much about myself. But really, it was hard. Really freaking hard. But we made the best of a tough situation. And we were still profitable. I was reminded that my friends are really as good as it gets. And I am so thankful for the lifestyle that this business allows me to have. Frankly, I am not sure I’d be able to work at all if it weren’t for the flexibility that this affords.
Best of luck on your personal journey. And if you want help, need a shoulder to cry on, or just have a question, don’t be afraid to speak up. We have women from all over the world willing to support you in your journey!