As an entrepreneur with a new baby, your are up for a rewarding experience. The process will challenge you to stretch yourself once more. One of the blurred lines between business and home life is balancing responsibilities.
Part of that is keeping your family, and especially your children, safe. A new parent may not have a clue about how to safely walk the tightrope of business and life.
Being an entrepreneur with an online presence may leave you wondering “how do I tell my clients about my new baby”. You may even wonder if you should tell them at all.
Here’s how to tell clients about your new baby (and why you should)
I remember being so optimistic about being able to keep my baby home with me because I can operate my business from anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great privilege and reward.
Where my anticipation fell short was with not knowing how I would have to temporarily forfeit some of the little things I took for granted.
One of those things was being able to work whenever, wherever and however I wanted.
With a new little person, it’s different. There are changes whether the baby stays home, has a sitter or goes to daycare. Plans will not always go seamlessly, which means your schedule won’t either.
While I was pregnant, I was working hard on client projects in between long naps. I worked until the day I went into labor. One assignment was due a day or so after “chubs” was born. That left me with the dilemma of either requesting a deadline extension or letting the assignment go.
The problem was, I had not planned on telling my clients about my new baby…EVER.
For one thing, I wanted to maintain a private personal life. My child had nothing to do with the services I provided.
Secondly, I felt it could turn out to be a situation similar to my former corporate world experiences. During those days— at some companies, a woman who got pregnant was treated as if she had a contagious disease. She was shunned, isolated and judged.
I felt my virtual clients would judge me from a distance and assume I could no longer handle the work. In my mind, they would think I couldn’t be a mompreneur, mastering the art of running a successful business and nurturing a fine baby.
I’m here to tell you that I can, I did and I do— and so can you!
The first step is to be realistic with yourself. You may need some time to get a clear idea of how your schedule can and should go.
Take these steps to map out your availability before having a conversation with clients about your new baby:
Step 1: Make a list of all of the responsibilities you already have. Think about what you have on your plate with business and your personal life.
Step 2: Add your new parental responsibilities to your list. You will not truly know until you are in the thick of it. Being a stay at home mompreneur is totally different from what I imagined. Expect each day to be new and different.
While making this list think about :
- Diaper changes.
- Bath time.
- Sleep schedules (for you and baby).
- Doctor visits.
- One-on-one time.
Step 3: Find out if you will have help. Start by discussing your schedule with your spouse or partner. Next, reach out to your parents, siblings or trustworthy people in your life to see how they can help you. Even stopping by to let you rest or work for a few hours makes a world of difference.
Step 4: With a calendar/planner in hand, begin making a new schedule of what you can accomplish. Remember to add in personal time for your sanity’s sake.
Step 5: Place clients and services on the calendar where you see fit, and then prepare to contact your clients.
How to tell your clients
Be straight up with clients about what is going on in your life. We all go through different stages and phases. It is an unavoidable process that influences how we work.
Let them know where you are and what changes you will have with you schedule, availability and what you offer. Use the the list and your schedule from above to share your new availability.
If you wish to keep them as clients, communicate that. You may need more time, or a change in the time of day, to meet your deadlines going forward. Say that too. If you want to step down or take a break for maternity leave, tell your that clients too.
For clients you plan to keep, assure them you will maintain the same satisfactory quality of work. Be clear about how you plan to make that happen.
You can relay this information by phone call, text or email. I would recommend sending it in writing, even if you make that phone call. That way you have receipts (a paper trail) if a problem comes up later.
Maternity Letter Template
Here’s a draft email template to tell business clients about your new baby:
It’s been a pleasure working with your for (insert #) months/years. We’ve accomplished (x,y and z).
I wanted to be the first to inform you of upcoming life changes. I am expecting an addition to my family in the next (insert #) months.
My desire is to continue helping you reach your business goals by (insert some of the things you do for them).
To do so, I will need (to adjust my schedule/ to change my availability/ to add more time to my deadlines/ to take a few days, weeks or months for maternity leave).
I appreciate your consideration and I’m excited about our future business as we take on new opportunities together.”
When to tell your clients you expect to have a new baby
You do not have to share the baby news as soon as you leave the doctor’s office. Enjoy your moment within your circle. Just do not wait until you are in a crisis or about to miss a deadline to say something.
When you find yourself making noticeable adjustments in your life, it’s time to have a chat with your clients. Your to-do list will grow longer as you prepare your nursery, sanitize your home and plan a gender reveal and baby shower.
During pregnancy and the newborn stages, your sleep pattern will change. At the start of these new tasks and experiences for your new little one, prepare your clients.
If you are working on a big project with deadline months away, be transparent about where you are with your pregnancy. Work as hard as you can while you can, and prepare your client for a backup plan if they need it.
What to expect from clients
Stay positive about how breaking the pregnancy news will go. Not everyone may want to stay on board, but not everyone will easily walk away.
Being a business owner with a baby is common these days. So are resources to help you continue to thrive as a parent entrepreneur.
Loyal clients will stick with you because they value what you add to their business. Clients who have been where you are will support you because they understand the family dynamic.
Then there are the clients who were destined to be unstable. They will walk away, because they were not for you. These people no longer fit the profile of your ideal business client.
Be grateful, embrace your new chapter and make room for bigger and better to come.
Except the parenthood-entrepreneurship combo as the gift it is
The setup allows you to be there for precious moments you would miss giving hours to corporate America. You also grow while learning more about your new self, scheduling and taking care of baby and business.
Clients and companies who understand that will stick around through the milestones of your growing family.
Need more help with your business/life balance? Leave a question in the comments or contact me.