The freelance industry is big with 1 in 3 Americans having done freelance jobs within the last year. It is estimated that by 2020, over 40% of the American workforce will consist of freelancers/ independent contractors.
Being a freelancer has many perks, such as choosing when to work and how much to do at a time. But unlike most people working conventional 9-5 jobs, you don’t get maternity leave set out in your employee benefits when you get pregnant. Therefore, there are a lot of considerations you will need to make as the future of your career rests entirely on you. While these jobs come with a lot of freedom, it becomes challenging to manage life-changing moments, such as transitioning into motherhood, without the support of an organization.
However, your world doesn’t have to turn upside down before and right after you welcome your bundle of joy. We will share some simple hacks to help you manage your career during pregnancy and in the early days as a new mother.
Save as Much as Possible for Your Early Days of Motherhood
Freelancers contribute $1.4 trillion collectively to the US economy every year. That said, a career as an independent contractor can earn you more than a traditional job. Work harder and save more in the months before you have the baby than ever before. Most times, new mothers underestimate the costs they will incur having a child.
Moreover, it is easy to think that you will still get the same work done when you have a newborn when the reality is not so. In the early months before pregnancy weighs you down, take on more assignments or pick up a side job. Pile up on cash to cater for expenses and lost income when the baby comes.
Look into Short-Term Disability Insurance Options
Private maternity leave insurance is a great option to help you cater for costs before and after delivery. Several private insurance firms offer disability insurance ranging from as low as $8 to $50 per month. However, check the fine-print of purchasing this insurance. If you are already pregnant, most insurers will consider it a “pre-existing condition” and hence not cover your maternity costs. It is still a great option for freelancers who are considering having a baby soon.
Prepare for Disappointments
Sadly, freelancing does not give you as much protection as a regular job does. There have been reports of expectant women losing their gigs after they disclosed their status to clients. And as awful as that sounds, it happens often than you may imagine. Thus, if you anticipate that a client might take a similar path, it is best to finish all pending projects before the big reveal. By doing this, you will save yourself from the sadness that comes with being dumped by clients on such occasions.
Take Care of Your Health
To successfully manage pregnancy and work, your health should undoubtedly be your top priority while expectant and after you deliver. Thus, you might want to do away with those late-night gigs and also avoid pushing yourself too hard. Factor in your rest schedule as well as doctor’s appointments as you go about each day. Now, while your paycheck might take a dip, your health and that of the baby are of much more significance at this stage. Also, it is a good idea to let your clients know about your state early enough so that they can make alternative plans when you are off.
“As a pregnant woman who’s balancing freelance work, don’t be afraid to ask for help in every area. Ask your clients for extensions or time off. Ask a fellow freelancer for help with outsourcing work. And ask your friends and family for their support. Be realistic with yourself while you maintain working and being a mom,” recommends Ashley Eneriz, a freelancer and mother of two children.
What of the moments that you feel good? As a freelancer, you can capitalize on the times you feel excellent to work ahead on some projects. Doing this will reduce your workload when you come back, and is also a good way to make more cash before you head off to the delivery room.
Learn to Turn Down Work from
“Stay tuned and manage your freelance career while pregnant is important, but don’t be a “yes” person all the time. Have the courage to say “no” if you feel like you can tackle some duties. Alternatively, you could be more selective with your gigs such that you only take those with decent pays but with way less effort,” says Lori Garner, an HR Manager at ResumeEdge.
If you have too much on your table, you could consider outsourcing some tasks to junior talent whom you can comfortably pay and get to save some cash.
Have a Baby Care Plan
Identify who will offer care to your child when you fully get back to your freelance career. You might be tempted to think that you can juggle your job with childcare, but that is never convenient. So, start making your childcare plans soon enough. Do not wait until it is too late.
With these tips, you can effectively keep your freelance afloat during and after pregnancy. However, keep in mind that your baby’s health conditions and your relationships with existing customers should always inform how you adjust your activities.