the 7 steps i took to design my maternity leave & a peek at my pregnancy photo shoot.
As I shared in my first blog post about pregnancy here, I’ve been hard at work mapping out my plans to take time off from the biz and sink into motherhood.
Now, I’d be lying if I told you this was a piece of cake to wrap my head around.
As someone who has barely taken any space from my work for nearly 5 years, I had all kinds of resistance around stepping away.
The competitive, growth-driven part of me said… If you stop now, you’re going to “fall behind.” And you won’t hit those goals you have as quickly as you want.
While the nurturing, rational side of me said… Blair, you are having a BABY. You need to give yourself time—to not only find your footing as a MOM but to let your body heal. TAKE THE SPACE.
It wasn’t until I sat down with my go-to astrologer Jennifer Racioppi and talked about these dueling voices, that I realized I was in the process of making a powerful shift from masculine, business-building mode to feminine, nesting-for-baby mode.
Instead of speeding up, I was being called to SLOW DOWN. Instead of being more outward, I was being called to turn inward. Instead of pushing, it was time to start BEING.
She reminded me that what I bring to the world is divinely designed—a writing career and more is literally mapped in my birth chart—so I don’t have to worry about missing out.
In fact, what’s happening right now—starting our family—is part of my life path. The bigger journey to becoming more me and rooting more firmly into how I want to lead and live my life. Something that’s easy to forget when we’re busy making other plans, right?
For years now, I’ve been feeling called to deepen the work I do. To make changes that allow me to serve my clients and audience in a more meaningful way.
And what I’ve landed on is that it won’t become clear what that looks like until I’m a mom, and have become a newer, more dynamic version of me.
So, instead of feeling unsettled with the uncertainty of it all, I’m excited to see how things unfold and how I will marry entrepreneurial Blair with mama Blair.
Beyond my own mindset work, a really big part of what’s allowed me to land in this healthy headspace is having a really solid plan and support system.
Taking time off wouldn’t be possible without my husband, the way we’ve approached saving $$ this year, and of course—my business manager Sofia.
I bow to women who are single moms, and women who are business owners and dive right back into work postpartum because they have to.
Now, I want to be clear that what I’m sharing here about my maternity leave plans is what works best for me. I know that everyone has different preferences and resources.
But as always—I have appreciated hearing from other women about how they’ve approached all of this so that I could find my way forward.
So, hopefully, this will be helpful to some!
Time off: I’m officially taking off all of September, October, November, and December with the exception of a few events and conversations.
What does “time off” mean?
- The podcast is on pause until January 2020
- I’m not taking on any private clients until January 2020
- I’m not running any programs or launches until January 2020
Here’s the framework I’ve put in place to allow this to happen without everything falling apart.
(1) Setting an income goal.
Once I hit the second trimester, Jamie and I reviewed our finances and determined how much money I needed to contribute for the year. This helped me map out exactly how many clients to sign on come September and when I could actually wrap up all of my projects. As I always say, clarity is the first step in accomplishing any goal, and once I had that I was golden.
(2) Saving for taxes and time off (+ setting up paid family leave).
Naturally, a good portion of the money I earned would go to paying quarterly taxes and then into a maternity leave fund. I save about 30% of what I earn for taxes and I also saved about 25% of what I earned for living expenses for the fall/winter. Jamie also set aside extra money to make sure we had more than enough. Having a partner who can take over a bit more financial responsibility during this time is oh-so-helpful and a big relief.
ALSO, here’s something awesome that my bookkeeper let me in on a few years ago: you can pay into a paid family leave plan in your state and get up to 10 weeks of pay at 55% of what you pay yourself as an employee of your own business. I took her advice and am pretty psyched to get a little extra cash every month. While I’m no expert on this at all, here are the details about New York State Paid Family Leave for businesses. Not in New York? I’m sure there is something your state can hook you up with. Just do your research!
(3) Creating a passive income stream.
The idea of not earning any money for 4 months is incredibly uncomfortable. So, I got to thinking about ways I could still make a bit of revenue without having to do much. My Copywriting 101 course had been something I’d planned to launch at some point this year but this pregnancy inspired me to get that going ASAP. It also feels so good to be able to offer my audience something they can sink their teeth into while I’m away and not taking on clients.
(4) Pausing private client work.
Speaking of clients… in order to hit my income goal for the year, I had to sign on a certain number of private clients in addition to my earnings from my business mentorship program, Your Wellness Brand AND the Copywriting 101 launch. I’m happy to report that as I write this, I’m wrapping up with my last two clients of the year, who have been absolute ANGELS to work with and made hitting those goals possible. If you’re interested in working together privately in 2020, you can apply here.
(5) Running Your Wellness Brand 2x.
One of the hardest decisions I made this year was only offering my business mentorship program, YWB twice instead of three times. I had planned to make it available in the summer, but then I realized it would wrap up just about 1 week from my due date. After speaking with mentors, it became clear that adding that extra stress to my life wouldn’t be ideal—and I’m so happy I decided to take their advice. The next group will start in January 2020; if you want to join the waitlist to learn more, apply here.
(6) Ending the 2019 Brand Yourself season early.
Another hard decision? Putting the Brand Yourself podcast on pause until 2020. To be completely honest, I had planned to keep the podcast going strong until the holidays by recording dozens of interviews before the baby came. Sofia and I were hard at work with outreach and setting up some epic conversations.
But, after a conversation with my podcast editor who asked, Blair—do you think you can really devote time to promoting these episodes via email and social while you’re tending to an infant? As I a sat with her question, I realized it might be a little too ambitious to stay on schedule promoting that every week, and I didn’t want to fail at giving my guests the promotional efforts they deserved.
Although, I love doing the show so much, giving time and space to myself and my family could not feel like the more perfect choice. Note: the pod will be back with new episodes in the first week of January!!
(7) Mapping out content for my community (YOU!).
Thanks to the amazing Sofia, I won’t be dropping the ball on being in touch with you, my subscribers, or my followers. We’ve developed a stellar plan to continue bringing you really valuable content in the private Brand Yourself Facebook group, via email, and through the brand new video training library that will be living here very soon (stay tuned!).
As a health-conscious person, I am all too aware of the fact that stress creates friction and health issues. It was so important to me to create the very best environment in my body for this little lady to grow and thrive.
So, giving myself this extra breathing room and not piling up my plate with to-do’s over the past 3 months especially has really empowered me to keep this core value front and center.
While it feels really weird to have very little on my calendar these days—and an even more blank slate in the coming months—I know this time is tender and sacred. And I’m so grateful to be in a position to create exactly what my family needs to be well and start this adventure.
If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to become a mama one day, I hope this was helpful for you! There is no playbook and your journey will be different than mine, but at the end of the day, there are very practical and universal things we can all do to set ourselves up for success.
As always, share your thoughts below. I’d love to know how this post landed for you in the comments. And here’s a little peek at the epic photos Daryl Getman took for my maternity shoot. She is just so darn good, right???
You are INCREDIBLE!! So inspiring.
I love how intentional you were with all of this. Wow.
And the photos are BEYOND! The one in the long strapless nude dress, sooo powerful.
Sending so much love,
Thanks so much, Lula!! xx
I love your blog, your message, your pics–and you! I know you will rock the mommy thing as well as you have rocked the entrepreneur thing! hugs, and more hugs, Monique
Thank you, dear Monique!! xx
Thank you for being so open about becoming a mama and focusing on your career (I’m a mama of two!). Your Copywriting 101 course has really helped me… These photos are stunning. I’m thrilled for you.
So happy the course was helpful!! I’d love to get your feedback– will be in touch. xx
Thanks so much, Morgan!!