Are you a new mom, currently or soon to be going on maternity leave, and dreaming of working from home, so that you’ll never have to return to your job when your mat leave is up?
I hear you. And I can assure you, that starting your own business and making it turn a profit is not a pipe dream, but a very real thing that you are capable of doing.
I know, because I did it, and it was the best decision I could have made for myself, my bank account, and my family. I now spend my days helping hundreds of women just like you take that scary first step into online entrepreneurship.
And you know what? You are no different than us. We are all mothers who felt that staying home with our kids was the top priority, and we needed to find a way to make money from home so we could.
Of course, there are many women who love their careers and who have no interest in leaving the workforce, baby or no baby. And to that I say, sweet! If you are happy in your job, keep doing what you’re doing, sister!
But that wasn’t me. I never felt good about working for someone else, as I knew there was a better way. And although I spent my entire teen years and twenties in the workforce, working my butt off as a corporate marketing manager it always felt…unfulfilling.
Having to get up and go into the office every day, and give away my time for a measly paycheque, while my efforts and skills were making my bosses richer and richer.
That’s not what I wanted for my life, I knew I was meant for more.
Can you relate?
When I had a baby on the way, time was of the essence because I didn’t want to have to go back to work after maternity leave, and didn’t want to have to put him in daycare.
I needed to find a way to earn an income from home.
So I made a big change, quit my job, got serious about my blog, monetized it while on maternity leave, and haven’t looked back.
I now earn a much better income from home, as a self-employed blogger, than I ever made working for someone else.
You can do it too.
If you are interested in starting a blog and running a home-based business, read on!
10 Tips For Starting Your Own Business While On Mat Leave
1. Maternity Leave Is Actually The Best Time To Start A Business
For several months you can count on your maternity payments (either as EI or your private employee benefits), which, even if they are small, they are still there.
You don’t have to think about your job at all. All you need to do is think about your baby and your home-business goals. Write those goals out now, and create an action plan to reach them. Consider your maternity leave time as one big ‘Biz Development Year’ and develop your home business idea into reality.
Use the end-of-your-maternity-leave date as your ‘deadline’ to put the fire under your butt and get to work, make money now, so you never have to return to the workforce again.
2. Get Really Serious About Your ‘Why’
Why do you want to work from home? Is it so that you can be there to see your little ones grow up, and not miss a thing? Is it so that you can support your family doing something you are proud of? Is it so that you can wear your PJs all day every day and never have to put a bra on again? Because those are all very valid reasons!
Get very specific about why it is that you want to do this, and remember these ‘Whys’ whenever it gets hard, and use them as your motivation to stay focused and keep on pushing towards your goals.
3. Your Loved Ones May Not ‘Get It’. That’s Ok
Something that I hear from many of coaching clients over and over is that they wish that their partners/family/friends would be more supportive of their business/blog. They feel frustrated that they ‘get no support’ from their loved ones, who don’t ever share their business links or Facebook pages.
To this, I say that’s ok! We all want our loved ones to support our endeavours, but that fact of the matter is, your husband, friends, and family aren’t your target market. You don’t need them to be sharing your business links. You don’t even need them to ‘get’ or take interest in what it is that you are doing.
Just stay focused on your goals and don’t waste time worrying or trying to explain your business to anyone who isn’t your ideal customer.
4. Using Maternity Benefits To Fuel Your Business
First let me preface this by saying that I am not here to tell anyone how to ‘cheat the system’ because, seriously, the system is in place to help you, if you understand how it can.
And you’ve paid into maternity benefits – whether they be EI (Employment Insurance) or your job’s private benefit plan – for as long as you have been in the workforce. Your employer has been taking this money off of your paycheque since your very first job, and the government has been happily using it.
This is your time to cash in on what you’ve been banking.
So, if you are a Canadian, receiving Maternity/Parental EI benefits, you are entitled to up to 55% of your wages, for about 52 weeks. So let’s say that for 1 year, you will be receiving $300 per week.
Now, when you are on Maternity/Parental EI (at least where I live in BC), you are allowed to have self-employed income, but for every dollar you earn, you must claim it on your bi-weekly reports, and then they deduct your benefits $1 for $1.
So, if your blog earned $100 this week, instead of receiving $300 from EI that week, you would receive $200.
5. Invest In Your Business Now To Max Your Benefit Earnings
In the last tip, we covered EI Maternity/Parental deductions from your business earnings. But this hot tip adds on to that, and it’s important!
EI Maternity/Parental determines what to deduct from your payment, based on what your earnings are after your business expenses.
Meaning, you can claim all of your business expenses against your income and, depending on how much you spent, you may receive your full EI payment. The more you spend on business related things, the more of your EI benefits you get to keep.
So this is a really good time to invest in all of the things you need to run your business, such as purchase your web hosting, your email service provider, Pinterest scheduling tool etc., as you can claim all of it against your income. (You can read all about my recommended tools to run and grow your blog here.)
6. Making The Time For Your Business
Did you notice that I wrote ‘making’ the time and not ‘finding’ the time? That’s because when you are starting a home business – an endeavour that is very time-consuming in itself – all while trying to manage the trapeze act of motherhood, time is not always readily visible. But it is there. You just need to be a bit clever.
Time isn’t something that you ‘find,’ it’s something that you ‘make.’
No one is going to deny that as a mom with a new baby, you have your hands full, and your ‘free time’ is extremely limited. I feel you 100%.
So it is up to you to make the time to devote to your blog/business. When does Mini You nap? When Mini You is napping, are you watching Maury and eating Cheetos or are you hustling on your laptop, writing blog posts, tweaking your sales pages and reaching out to potential clients?
In my experience, I was able to develop and launch my business while my baby slept and nursed in my lap during the day, with my computer on one side, baby on the other. Then, while up during the many wake-ups and feedings throughout the night, I was on double duty, hustling on my cell phone managing all of my social media marketing.
You can do it, mama. But you aren’t going to ‘find’ the time, and no one is going to give you the time. You have to make it happen!
7. Automate Your Social Media As Much As Possible
Save yourself a ton of hassle, and put some systems in place now that will make your life easier. I use this handy app to automate my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so that my accounts are constantly posting content, without me actually having to do anything, or spend any time on social media at all. This sends so much traffic and new customers to my websites that I simply cannot recommend automation enough!
8. Facebook Groups For The Win
In the last tip, I said that I spend no time on social media, but that is with the exception of Facebook Groups. I do spend time engaging in several groups, and recommend you do too!
Join some Facebook groups that relate to your business, your niche, and where your ideal customers hang out. Spend time engaging in the groups each day, answering questions and promoting your business wherever you can. It’s a great way to grow your business and build relationships.
9. Go Easy On Yourself
There is so much to learn when starting a blog and a business, it is easy to get overwhelmed, which can lead to feeling discouraged or even have you feeling like you should give up. Don’t! Don’t! Don’t give up!
Remember tip #2? Scroll back up and re-read it!
No one said this would be a cake walk, but I assure you that you CAN do this, and every little bit you learn puts you that much closer to reaching your goals.
Do a little bit of work on your blog/business every day, learn a new skill that will help you grow, stay focused and stay positive. Pretty soon you will have all the cake!
10. Have An Attitude Of Gratitude
Seeing sales come in is an instant serotonin-boost, and great motivation to keep you on track and moving forward.
But don’t make money be the only thing that makes you feel successful in your business. Be thankful for all of the little milestones that you achieve, every little thing is important.
Is blog traffic up this month? Did someone share your sales page? 20 new Instagram followers? Hooray! Verbally thank the powers that be that things are coming along for you. The more positivity you put out, the more positivity comes back to you.
And always remember that, seriously, you got this!
Chelsea is a blogger and Blog Strategist who helps online entrepreneurs develop their blogs and social followings into profitable businesses via free guides and resources. For more tips on blog and business development, visit Chelsea at HerPaperRoute.com and Instagram @HerPaperRoute.