Taking Time Away from Your Business? Here’s How to Prepare for Unknowns

Jenna Kutcher 

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October 5, 2020


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When Audrey joined my team, I was just beginning to understand the life of both being a mother to an infant and an entrepreneur. One thing I learned quickly is that to be both the mama and the business woman I wanted to be, I needed someone who could step into the brand and help me turn my content ideas into gorgeous, captivating copy.

Audrey is now an integral part of our team, bringing eloquence to podcast topics and capturing the voice of our brand on the blog. It just seems so fitting that Audrey joined our team when she did, when motherhood was brand new to me, because now Audrey is expecting her first bundle of joy and looking ahead to what it means to be a mother and a business owner.

I am so excited for you to meet another one of my team members, and for us to chat through what it’s like to prepare for time away from work when you’re self-employed. Audrey has a healthy roster of clients, so I’m so excited to hear how she’s planning her maternity leave in a way that serves those clients while giving her the precious time she so deserves with her future little babe.

Her Early Career

After earning her degree in Journalism, Audrey began pursuing opportunities that aligned with her big career dream to be a writer. She survived a fashion internship at Teen Vogue while in school (a way less glamorous version of The Devil Wears Prada, she told me) and knew that fashion editorial writing wasn’t her jam.

Journalism being the competitive career that it is, she took the first opportunity offered to her after college — a public relations position that had her putting a spin on environmental issues she wasn’t cool with. Even though she was told leaving your first job out of college before a year isn’t a good look on paper, she couldn’t do it anymore.

Several more career twists and turns later, Audrey found herself restarting her old college lifestyle blog to give herself the creative writing outlet she was searching for. “I found myself wishing I could just blog for a living, which was kind of foreshadowing because now I do blog for other people for a living,” she reflected.

Audrey has been on Team Jenna Kutcher as a content writer for over a year and a half now, and if you listen to the Goal Digger Podcast or read the blog, you’ve likely experienced Audrey’s finesse at making business topics feel like a chat with a BFF.

Pregnancy and Business Ownership

When Audrey was diagnosed with PCOS, she knew that fertility issues could accompany that diagnosis. Knowing her timeline to start a family could be longer than anticipated, she and her husband decided it was better to try sooner rather than later.

Audrey said she was prepared to have to learn and manage getting pregnant with her condition, and was ready for it to take a longer time… What she didn’t prepare for was that it didn’t take long at all. Now, as a business owner and freelancer, Audrey is stepping into the process of preparing for maternity leave.

“All of the horror stories I’ve read and seen are that you’re stretched so thin as a mother,” Audrey began. “Right now what I’m trying to do is just mentally prepare and be okay with not always getting to be the perfect contractor, freelancer, writer, wife, or mom. I’m just wrapping my head around that there will be failures, and there will be learning curves.”

Preparing for Maternity Leave

When Audrey found out she was pregnant, one of the first things she did was start researching a plan and trying to figure out what it could look like to keep her business running while on maternity leave and after, when she returns to work as a mother.

“There’s not a lot of information out there for contractors specifically,” Audrey explained. “I kind of just made up my own plan and ran it by all of my clients one by one. Thank goodness everyone is so supportive.”

Audrey decided to hire an assistant writer with a similar writing style to prepare for maternity leave and her future workload. The assistant writer is helping Audrey with some new client work and helping her get ahead with some ongoing client work so she’s in a position to take some true time off when the baby arrives.

With the ability to work ahead, Audrey is planning to take the end of December through the end of March off. But of course, as many entrepreneurs feel, Audrey gets so much purpose from her work so she’s allowing herself the flexibility to check in on her clients while on maternity leave if she has the ability to do so.

The Unknown

“I’m preparing so much for the unknown. How do you prepare for the unknown?” Audrey laughed.

For Audrey, preparing for the unknown means putting systems and practices in place that make you feel confident. “I’m trying to do that for my business and for myself,” she explained.

Audrey told me about how she loves to clean and her home is her sanctuary, so she loves to keep her home very clean and tidy. But she recognizes that with a baby in the mix and trying to get back to work while also maintaining a strong relationship with her husband, that cleaning may fall to the bottom of her list. So for her, it makes sense to outsource that cleaning part.

Can you think of ways you could outsource, either in your business or life, that would give you confidence in your ability to show up as the best version of yourself each day?

Audrey is also following the advice of her friend that recommended identifying the helpers in your life and designating a role for each person. It’s not like assigning tasks, but rather, knowing which friend is more empathetic and will be there when you need someone to talk to. Know which friend would be happy to pick up something you forgot at the store. Allow yourself to ask for help.

“As someone who has crafted my own career path and as someone who likes to be seen and thought of as strong and resilient, I’m preparing to take on and ask for a lot more help than I ever, ever have,” she sad thoughtfully.

More from this Episode

Audrey and I talk about stepping away from your business and still padding your income, what she’s excited about for motherhood, and more. Even if motherhood isn’t in your plans, this episode is a great discussion on what you can do to prepare for the unknown and time away from your biz as a freelancer or contractor. Connect with Audrey at @audskelton on Instagram and on her website.

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  1. […] friend and client Jenna Kutcher invited me on her podcast this week to talk about this delicate balance of navigating maternity leave as a freelancer. You can listen […]

  2. […] friend and client Jenna Kutcher invited me on her podcast this week to talk about this delicate balance of navigating maternity leave as a freelancer. You can listen […]


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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