Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

stacey trock

229: Taking Parental Leave, with Stacey Trock

Just because you run your own business, doesn’t mean you can’t take time off. Learn more about taking parental leave at TaraSwiger.com/podcast229

Whether for planned or unplanned circumstances, it’s easy to feel like taking time away from your business is committing career suicide. Totally not true! In fact, taking leave from your business can provide an opportunity for valuable revitalization of your business trajectory and your life!

In this episode, we’ll cover the basics of a plan for taking a leave from your business. So whether you’re adding a new member to your family, taking time out to care for a family member, have a medical emergency or are taking a well-earned sabbatical to dream big, this episode is for you.

Basic timeline of a leave

A typical leave can be characterized in three phases: a complete leave (where you don’t lay a finger on a business-related task), a ‘maintenance mode’ (where work for a very limited number of hours, focusing on only the most essential tasks) and a ‘rev up’ phase (where you slowly transition to ‘life as usual’).

The more that you can plan in advance for an efficient maintenance mode, the more successful you’ll be!

What are your goals?

To optimally plan your leave, you need to know first where your business is at and what your goals are. To do this, you’ll need to document how you’re currently spending your time and gather your full current budget (income and expenses). Only then, will you be able to identify the essential tasks you’ll pare down to during your leave. You want the most bang for your buck (or, limited hours!)

You may identify a financial goal (to make X amount per month during your leave) or a business-related goal (i.e. to maintain your current customer base) for your leave. You will probably not experience growth during your leave time, but you’ll be focused on making the most happen in your available work hours.

Plan in advance: how to trade time, energy and money

If you are entering a planned leave, then you have the luxury of time (not so for an unplanned leave caused by an unforeseen emergency). The easiest strategy for keeping content consistent during a period of leave is to ‘work ahead’ before your leave begins.

A leave may be a time when you want to consider hiring help to take on tasks that you won’t have the time to complete. It is best to document your business procedures and search in advance of your leave to find the right fit. Hiring someone from a hospital bed is probably not the best timing!

I encourage you to look at your whole life when planning. Maybe during your leave period, you decide to hire out the cooking of meals to leave more time to dedicate to your business. That’s totally legitimate! You’ll be able to make these types of decisions once you’ve completed documenting how you spend your time and setting your priorities (goals).

You ready?

By the end of this episode (even if you’re not taking leave), you’ll feel ready to streamline your business and focus on the essentials!

Book recommendations:

Find me!

If you’re looking for more information about taking/planning a maternity leave, you might like my Creative Live class: https://www.creativelive.com/class/returning-work-after-maternity-leave

Stacey Trock is a consultant in brand management and social media. She helps small businesses engage authentically with their customers by developing both long-term content plans and live social media event coverage. Stacey teaches and writes about business for Creative Live, industry organizations and trade magazines. You can find her at StaceyTrock.com

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.


The view

I stopped to smell the roses (literally) and found a tiny nest in the rose bush! #foundwhilerunning

I was awoken by this face burrowing into my armpit. #taralovesmornings
Today is a two-cups of coffee, two-screens day. Holding a (surprise! bonus!) Q&A for Customer Path students...and the classroom software is totally down.
These 2 are unconcerned with the swinging weight above their heads. #totaltrust #fitstagram

Beau knows there's *something* here...(see the bunny at the far top, center?)

I am so grateful for…

  • Jessica! My Number One makes the endless amount of worksheets + class material I create possible + pretty + error-free.
  • Your sweet replies to this week's lesson! So many Thank Yous, made my whole week.
  • A great conversation with Mei, which you'll hear on the podcast in 2 weeks.
  • Patience when my classroom stopped working for an entire day. I very nearly lost my head. And then I didn't. So I'm grateful for that tiny bit of progress accepting Things I Can't Control.

The Finds:

I'm reading

I'm eating

What adventures did you have this week?

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Mother's Day Brunch. #yum
The beginnings of brussels fried rice. (Via @isachandra) #sogood #vegan
My darling is fine! Waiting on biopsy results, but happy & clueless.
It's the MOST wonderful time! Of the yearrrr! Strawberry season! #yayspring #whatveganseat

I am so grateful for…

  • A safe procedure for Beau. (And being able to pay for it, because whoa.)
  • A lovely Mother's Day weekend!
  • My mother-in-law – today's her birthday! Happy birthday, Rhonda!
  • The smooth launch of the new class (even better – people are joining! yay!)
  • Massive inspiration – I wrote more than 3000 words in just a few hours!

The Finds:

I’m loving:

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?


The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Too good to wait. #taralovesmornings
Gorgeous day, and art. #motherdaughterfun
Picking fabrics for my Cat Lady quilt. You, @pennyshima?
Beau isn't sure about this layout... #yearofmaking

I am so grateful for…

  • A lovely weekend with my mom
  • The  opportunity to use my doable-plan-creating superpowers for two dear friends, and being witness to the resulting awesomeness they've crafted.
  • The return of my quilt-making mojo. (I started this quilt. I am officially a Cat Lady.)
  • Dude. The thank you emails from Pay Yourself students, and  their epiphanies in the discussion space are THRILLING. And humbling. I've had other teachers/superstars email me to say their students are telling them how much they love it. I was proud of this material, but I am so much more fulfilled knowing that it's being applied and is useful. My heart has grown three times.

I can't say enough how overwhelmingly grateful I am to be doing this work + to be helping gorgeous, generous business ladies rock their own art. Group hug!


The Finds:

Read this:  

Listen to this:

What were your adventures this week?