(Yes, you guys, I’m pregnant with my first baby!)
In one month and a half, my life will dramatically change: I’ll be on “maternity hiatus”, and I’ll stop working full time for at least a few months (or maybe longer, I really don’t want to make plans ahead* since I don’t know what my life as a mom will be like).
I don’t know about your country, but in Italy freelancing women are entitled to a maternity allowance without having to stop working. That’s good news, of course, because it means you can organise your business activities as it best suits you. But, on the other hand, it also means that you are in charge for all the important decisions related to those “critical” months… and that you won’t be able to simply tell your customers: “I must do this by law, it’s not up on me”!
So, how long should I stop working? When and how should I tell my customers? Will I lose their trust? These are some of the questions that will certainly pop up in your mind in this situation. Here is what I’m doing to prepare myself and my clients to that moment:
- I’ve scheduled a 4-month hiatus on my calendar. One month before its beginning, I’ll write an e-mail to all my customers to inform them about it and tell them how I plan to handle their projects (e.g. depending on the kind of client, stating my last delivery dates, accepting to work for them even during my hiatus in case of emergencies, giving them the name of a trusted collegue, etc.)
- I’ve started contacting a few fellow collegues to discuss this, asking for their availability to:
- help me out in the months before and after my break, in case I need some extra help or I can’t complete a project if my baby decides to come into the world earlier than expected, is sick, etc.
- replace me in case my direct clients need a translation during my break
- I’m making sure my customers will miss me! At the moment, I’m working very hard to remind them that I’m a trustworthy professional, taking loving care of all their projects and trying not to bother them with any personal difficulty due to the fact that I’m super-tired, overwhelmed by endless medical visits and exams, and so on. I’m also planning to stay in contact with them during the hiatus period, maybe with a few e-mails in which I’ll ask them if everything is okay, if they need a word of advice on something, etc.
Got any suggestion about this topic? I’d love to hear from you!
* Believe this or not! 🙂