If you stumbled upon this from Pinterest or Google, you should know this isn’t your typical “mompreneur in 2022 advice” blog post. This is a personal one for me so if you don’t follow me already, you might not have any interest. I had my baby almost 9 months ago and it has been a JOURNEY, so while I’ve owned my own business since 2017, I’m not exactly in a position to tell you how to be the best mompreneur you can be. Instead, I wanted to share what life has really been like, from pregnancy to maternity leave, to (hopefully) help you prepare if this is a journey you plan to take soon!
I’m also going to share where “The Kara Report” is going – so if you are interested, make sure to read until the end.
Before I Got Pregnant
I have to be honest with you all, even before I found out I was pregnant my business felt a little (a lot) messy (for the first time ever).
Rewind to the beginning of 2021 – The Kara Report was two years in the making after COVID derailed my destination wedding planning business. I was ready to go all in and just invested a huge chunk of change to have a brand new website and brand custom-built for me. I was so excited!
& then it launched and inquiries came barrelling in. I was incredibly grateful and everything was looking so good… multiple 5 figure sales months and clients who loved me and referred me happily. The DREAM.
and then I got COVID and was very sick for like a month. Honestly, it was such a whirlwind that for how many balls I know I dropped, I’m sure there are a dozen more. I don’t mean in a cute “oh I lost your email” kind of way, I mean in like a “sorry this is a few MONTHS late” kind of way.
As an enneagram 3, this absolutely broke me. I’m used to being high achieving. I love meeting deadlines and overdelivering. I remember thinking, I booked too much work and I will never make this mistake again….
The First Trimester
After COVID, I was starting to see the light at the end of the incredibly long tunnel. And then, I started getting sick again. You probably already know this, but morning sickness is definitely NOT exclusive to the morning. I was so ill all day, every day. I feel like I still had brain fog from being sick before, so although I kept taking on more work, I was falling behind (quickly) on actually being able to execute. This is where my first piece of advice for new mompreneurs in 2022 comes in – don’t do that.
Quick Business Tips for your First Trimester
If you are in your first trimester and don’t have a business yet: My advice would be to take this time to really think about what you want a life with your baby to look like. It’s much harder to “pivot” after than it is to build intentionally in the first place. There are a LOT of people online that want to help you build a business. Do your due diligence, pick a plan that aligns with you, and work the plan. CHOOSE ONE PLAN, and stick with it. Don’t try to do a little bit of everything – you won’t have time.
If you already have a business: I know many will say “just pause client work” or something like that, but I know it’s not always financially possible. I relied on my business income to pay my rent so “just stop booking clients” didn’t feel like an option to me. My advice is to (as much as possible) simplify, simplify, simplify. Hire a VA if you can afford it (do this NOW so you aren’t training someone once you’re desperate). Instead, I would try to pivot into offering “one-off” services instead of monthly services, if at all possible. One of the reasons I feel like I fell so far behind was that I couldn’t catch up and then the next month there was just more to do!
The first trimester is definitely a “do what I say not as I do” because trust me, I learned the hard way.
The Second Trimester
Personally, it was about halfway through my second trimester before I started to feel better haha. Don’t assume (like me) that feeling under the weather magically goes away after 12 weeks! For me, it was a solid 18-20 weeks. I remember seeing in my pregnancy app at 16 weeks showing “your morning sicknss should be over now” and for me, it absolutely was NOT. It was worse working at the computer too. And after the morning sickness was gone, I was still tired from growing a human all day!
If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice, it would be to stop assuming things would go “back to normal”. I kept trying to push through client work (which I usually love to do!), thinking that eventually, if I just kept grinding, I wouldn’t feel like I was drowning in work all the time. But my energy has really JUST started to return to what it was pre-pregnancy (and like I said, I’m 9 months post-partum already!). I’m one of those people who LOVE to work so this has been one of the biggest adjustments for me.
Start preparing for maternity leave in the second trimester.
It’s hard to give advice because honestly, I feel like I would have done so many things differently if I had known what I know now. I still feel so guilty thinking about times I missed deadlines or forgot to respond to emails completely (the amount of times I found a buried email from MONTHS ago is horrifying… and I can only imagine there are many more). Not to mention, my personal life outside of my business needed a little attention to prepare for my new arrival. In the span of three months, I fixed up my house, sold it, and started the home search hoping to find the perfect space for the newest love of my life.
So here’s what I would focus on if I could do it again, knowing what I know now:
- Cut your to-do list in half immediately. I know you think it all needs to get done, but it won’t anyway so you might as well be intentional about it.
- Get VERY clear on what services you’ll be offering after your maternity leave. In a dream world, you won’t have to work after you have your baby. In Canada, we are offered up to 18 months of maternity, but for most entrepreneurs I know, that’s just not realistic as most of us don’t qualify for traditional EI benefits (keep reading for more advice about this…)
- Once my services are finalized, I would double down on systems and processes to make sure that I could stay organized when my brain started to turn to mush in the third trimester.
- I would get help and train someone NOW. In my second trimester, I was so worried about not having enough money and trying to save every penny. Eventually, I did hire a VA that I absolutely loved (after I had my baby…) but I’m kicking myself for not trusting myself to make the investment sooner.
Unpopular Opinion: DON’T start working on the nursery yet. Trust me, once you start, you’ll be consumed. It’s better to hold off and set yourself up for success now and do the fun stuff later. Also, designing your nursery is one of those things that will take as much time as you give it (whether that’s five months or two weeks).
My favorite resources for preparing for life as a mompreneur in 2022
Elizabeth McCravy’s Breakthrough Brand Podcast: Episodes on Pregnancy & Prepping for Maternity Leave. When you are pregnant, you are busy. I enjoyed having her tips in an easy-to-consume podcast format.
ClickUp: I have really leaned into Clickup in the last few months/year. I wish I had started implementing it a lot sooner to stay organized. I’m still not perfect at it. Whether you are currently a small business or a budding mompreneur, the sooner you can invest your time into building automation and even just project management systems to stay organized the better. Let’s be honest – not everything can be automated. But, although you might be a pro at keeping your to-do list in your head right now like I thought I was, that will change quickly! Balls WERE dropped.
If you use ClickUp, I started a “Personal Life” project immediately. It was used frequently during my second and third trimesters.
Ovia App: Not for mompreneurs exclusively, but this was my favourite app throughout pregnancy.
Fave TV Show: The Mindy Project – Okay maybe not a resource – I don’t know why, it was just giving me life during my hot mess stage and I appreciated Mindy Kaling so freaking much.
Third Trimester: Preparing for Maternity Leave as a Mompreneur in 2022
Here’s a short list of what I did that I think was important during the third trimester personally:
- Sign Up for Prenatal Classes
- Pack the Hospital Bag (+Diaper Bag). Personally, when I was in labor, I forgot about everything I packed. I was busy! So don’t stress about this too much. Also – just an FYI between us – if you are planning on getting an epidural and so you aren’t worried about the pain – just know you might not be able to get an epidural until you are far enough along and contractions are painful before then. I’m not saying it’s as bad as childbirth, but I was blissfully unaware I couldn’t just walk in and order an epidural. I wish I had known (I think!).
- Stock the Nursery. You need diapers and wipes but honestly – it doesn’t have to look like your Pinterest board. Chances are your baby will be sleeping in your room for the first bit anyway. Because of my house drama, I never got to set up my nursery the way I wanted because I ended up renting instead of buying something (so no painting or hanging things) but honestly, I’m so sleep-deprived when I stumble into that tiny angels’ room that I forget all about it.
- Get some baby stuff, but honestly, save your money (you’ll need it later!). Almost everything can be purchased and delivered the next day on Amazon. try to get hand-me-downs from someone whose baby is 6-12 months older than you. From my experience, people buy SO much stuff and babies grow so fast so a lot of it is barely used. My best friend lent me a TON of stuff from her baby, and I’m giving it right after I’m done so she can have it for her next baby!
- Book yourself some newborn photos!
Preparing your business in the third trimester:
I mentioned earlier you should hire someone and fine-tune your systems and processes. In your third trimester, ideally, you want to finish up any “one-time” projects you have going for you. You don’t want to take on anything new in case the baby comes early.
If you have ongoing clients, you need to start letting them know now what your plans are for maternity leave. Give yourself permission to keep it flexible. There are advantages to telling your clients earlier (they will likely be more understanding). For me, I surprised everyone by telling them a few weeks before my due date.
I did this for a couple of reasons: first, I knew I had worked hard to make sure they really wouldn’t be affected. Second, to be honest, I really didn’t know what the plan was until the last minute. Overall, I have no regrets about waiting to tell people. BUT, I do think you should give your clients more notice if they will be affected!
Spoiler Alert: It was All Worth It
Running a smart business has never been more important to me. If you’ve ever needed a little motivation to raise your prices, trust me you are about to. As women in business, it can be hard to put value on your time. UNTIL you get pulled away from time with your little. All of a sudden, it’s easy for me to say no. No, I won’t take projects that pay me $3/hour. Yes, I will be more careful budgeting the time investment.
Where The Kara Report is Going Now…
If you know me, you know I usually have a 1 year, 3 year, 5 year, 10 year plan. I love to plan. One of the problems with being a planner is it takes time. I could happily sit in a room with spreadsheets and vision boards all day and do absolutely no work. But in the last 1.5 years, I haven’t had much time to plan because if I’m being honest, I’ve been in complete survival mode. In fact, I started this blog post 6 months before I’m actually publishing it because it’s been blank. Like… WHERE AM I GOING NOW?
And while I am reserving the right to change my mind, here’s what I want you to know:
- Building my team is going to be a priority this year. I feel like one of the things the marketing industry is really lacking in people who actually do the work. We live in a world of “I can teach you” and I’m really passionate about taking things OFF your plate instead. But I know in order to grow, I can no longer be the only one doing the work. On top of that, I’m very interested in finding people who are BETTER than me.
- I’m not going to chase the latest online course trends. Chasing online course trends has kept me stuck for the last two years. First, it was “comprehensive” courses/group programs for thousands of dollars. Then, it was a $27 offer with a $97 upsell. Then, it was ascending program suites (ie. starter, medium advanced). Now, I’m seeing memberships for $7 being the latest thing. And here’s what I know for sure: they ALL work. If I had picked one and stuck to it, I would probably be a kajillionaire by now.
- Right now, I have one online course available, and it’s on sale for $47. It’ll teach you everything you need to know about blogging for SEO (in as little time as possible). I’m committed to bringing you as much value as possible, in a format that requires as little investment – of your time and money – as possible. Because at the end of the day, I need to remember that the goal here at The Kara Report is to make women more money. If I build more courses in the future, that needs to be at the center.
- In the interest of wanting more impact in less time, I launched my “website copy in a day” and “brand new website in a weekend” packages this year. You can learn more about that here, OR head here to learn about the other services I will be offering this year (and by “I”, I mean me and my team).
Last Tip: Find Yourself a Mompreneur Best Friend
If you’ve been in my circle for a while now, you know how much I love Laura at Laura Milroy Media. Fun fact: the two of us met when we signed up for “The Boss Babe Societe” almost four years ago. Someone started a thread connecting with fellow Edmonton “boss babes” and we all set a time to meet. Only Laura and I showed up! I LITERALLY can’t imagine my life without her, but before I get too sappy, just find yourself a mompreneur friend because you will NEED it.
Wow – that was a lot! And honestly? Life doesn’t seem to be slowing down. At the time of writing, I’m behind on about 1000 projects because my partner got sick with COVID and I’ve been solo parenting my little baby (which I love – but leaves very limited uninterrupted work time). If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I rarely share about my personal life haha. If you loved these behind-the-scenes glances into life as a mompreneur in 2022, I would LOVE to hear from you (because let’s be honest – it’s hard to put yourself out there!). DM me over on Instagram and say hi!! I would be happy to talk more about what I’ve learned and answer any questions as you prepare (or are in!) mompreneur life.
Until next time, I will be staring at these tiny toes!