We are THRILLED to be welcoming a new member to the Duo team (very soon)! If you’ve been with us for a while, you may already know Courtney and her husband are expecting their first baby in April. Bring on all the cute newborn snuggles and sleepless nights.
We know we aren’t alone when we say that many entrepreneurs worry about taking extended leaves, such as a maternity leave. Like us, you might not know how to prepare for it or struggle with the idea of taking that much time away from your business. Not to mention how to ensure you still have clients and income when you come back.
We did so much research as we approached this next phase of business. We tried very hard to find examples of other business partnerships planning for a maternity leave. We came up short. So that’s why we are here today— we want to share exactly how we are planning for our maternity leave as a business partnership. In hopes that we can help some other partners out there!
First, know that we aren’t experts in this, which is exactly why we hired a business coach to help us. We knew we needed a third party opinion on these decisions and ya’ll know how we love our coach Val Marlene! So, let’s dig into how we are preparing for this maternity leave— everything from content creation, client projects and finances.
Decision 1: How Much Time Should Courtney Take Off?
Court is choosing to take three months off for her maternity leave. We haven’t worked out her transition back yet so there’s a lot of fluidity in exactly how she will come back to Duo. But it will most likely be slow!
This is one of the best things about owning your own business; you can change your schedule as needed. Abbey has a constantly changing schedule between preschool days and mom days. Family always comes first in our world.
Decision 2: How Much Should We Each Get Paid?
Because of the profit first model we have, we are always saving money in our salary savings for the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. This has helped us prepare tremendously for a maternity leave or any sort of sabatical.
Thankfully, we weren’t worried about the money in the bank. Yet, one of the biggest thing we had to figure out was how do we make this fair? This is where Val came in. Val really helped mediate this conversation, offer advice and proposed various different avenues we could take. Finances are awkward (but very necessary) to talk about, even between business besties!
Here’s what we are doing: we’re planning on making it even across the board. Court is taking three months off, and Abbey is taking one month off. Then Court’s salary during the other two months will be divided up as a bonus for Abbey at some point in the future. Now, this is definitely not the only way you can do this, but this plan felt good to both of us!
Decision 3: How Are We Going To Manage Our Workload?
Next, how are we going to handle the Duo, without one half of it! This part felt pretty easy. We simply decided to cross off a few of our typical offerings. Branding and social projects have a heavy design influence and are often led by Courtney. Therefore, we decided to hit pause. However, we did contract a designer to help with small projects and internal Duo design work. Abbey doesn’t do anything related to branding or the creative-side of the business so we needed to hire help in that department.
Instead, we’re focusing heavily on SEO during Court’s maternity leave because that’s Abbey’s area of expertise. She’s super efficient at managing Duo’s SEO services, which will be key to the health of the business. We’re also leaning heavily on our VA, which has been a learning curve for Abbey. She’s taken on more of a project management role instead of feeling like she has to do everything.
The good news— we have a team of amazing people supporting us in the next few months!
Now… it’s time to prepare!
We already have a date set for Court to start her maternity leave, which is a week prior to her due date. So now it’s time to get down to business and prep for her time off! Here are a few things we did:
- Prepared an Asana board solely for mat leave preparation
- We need to prep social (specifically Instagram) content
- Batch a total of 28 podcast episodes
- Align on any launch plans while Court is out (i.e. SEO Group Coaching creative assets)
In these last few weeks and coming months of being on maternity leave, we are certain that we will learn some new nuggets worth sharing. So keep your eyes peeled for a maternity wrap up podcast episode later this year. In the meantime, we are so excited to welcome Baby Petersen in a few more weeks! We’re so thankful for the means to support Court’s maternity leave, Val’s advice on the plan, and our contractors who will be helping Abbey. It’s no joke when they say it takes a village, and we hope this plan helps you plan for time off when you need it.
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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective, or to inquire about working with our team, head over to www.duocollective.com.
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