I wasn’t always a small business owner; I made the decision to work for myself when I was 7 months pregnant. At the time, I had been working as the Communications Manager at a company where the culture was really not conducive to having a family.
While there had been a handful of incidents that had soured me against the company during my time there, the final straw happened during my 7th month of pregnancy.
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There had been an ice storm here in Philadelphia and, being super pregnant, asked for permission to work from home that day, which they promptly denied.
Turning Lack of Family-Friendly Work Policies into a New Business
I was furious, but instead of taking the day to sit on my couch and binge watch something on Netflix, I decided to use my day off to build a website on Wix for freelance writing services.
1. Setting Up a Business Website
I am not a web designer, but a friend of mine had recently told me how much she loved Wix and I figured I would give it a try. It was extremely user-friendly and had a great variety of free options for me to use when it came to templates and images.
I made a pretty simple four page site to start off—it had a homepage, an about page that featured my bio, a services page and a contact page with a built-in form. I didn’t finish the site that day, but I spent time working on it every day thereafter and by the end of that week, I felt confident enough to send it around to friends to help me spread the word.
2. Branding the Business
I bought my custom domain name on GoDaddy and then asked a graphic designer friend to create a custom logo for me. Within a month, I had ordered business cards on Moo.com and it started to seem pretty official that I was going to launch a business!
3. Finding the First Clients
I passed out business cards—very pregnant—at networking events and by the time I went out on maternity leave I already had 3 clients committed to working with me.
4. Balancing Work During Maternity Leave
I was blessed with a very happy baby who loved to sleep and I started working on projects for clients when she was just 6 weeks old. I’d find time to write while she was napping and would continue writing while pumping before I went to bed.
5. Quitting My Job to Build My Business
By the end of my leave, I decided not to return to my 9-5 job and continued to build my business. It was by far the best decision I ever made! It gave me the freedom and flexibility I needed to schedule my life as a new mom and also allowed me to continue doing what I love most, which is writing.
Benefits of Starting A Business During Maternity Leave
I had my daughter on April 9th and was officially done with my leave by July 4th. I worked a very part-time schedule through the end of that calendar year, which gave me the opportunity to spend serious quality time with my daughter during the first 8 months of her life. That next year, which was my first full year in business, I matched my annual full-time salary and was only working about 30 hours per week.
My daughter is now 2.5 and I love that I can still be such a hands-on mom while running my own business. There are certainly challenges that come along with this lifestyle but I think the benefits far outweigh any of the drawbacks.
My name is Hilary Young and I am the owner of Hilary Young Creatives