I wasn’t always a small business owner; I made the decision to work for myself when I was 7 months pregnant. At the time, I had been working as the Communications Manager at a company where the culture was really not conducive to having a family.
While there had been a handful of incidents that had soured me against the company during my time there, the final straw happened during my 7th month of pregnancy. There had been an ice storm here in Philadelphia and, being super pregnant, asked for permission to work from home that day, which they promptly denied.
I was furious, but instead of taking the day to sit on my couch and binge watch something on Netflix, I decided to use my day off to build a website on Wix for freelance writing services.
I am not a web designer, but a friend of mine had recently told me how much she loved Wix and I figured I would give it a try. It was extremely user-friendly and had a great variety of free options for me to use when it came to templates and images. I made a pretty simple four page site to start off—it had a homepage, an about page that featured my bio, a services page and a contact page with a built-in form. I didn’t finish the site that day, but I spent time working on it everyday thereafter and by the end of that week, I felt confident enough to send it around to friends to help me spread the word.
I bought my custom domain name on GoDaddy and then asked a graphic designer friend to create a custom logo for me. Within a month, I had ordered business cards on Moo.com and it started to seem pretty official that I was going to launch a business! I passed out business cards—very pregnant—at networking events and by the time I went out on maternity leave I already had 3 clients committed to working with me.
I was blessed with a very happy baby who loved to sleep and I started working on projects for clients when she was just 6 weeks old. I’d find time to write while she was napping and would continue writing while pumping before I went to bed.
By the end of my leave, I decided not to return to my 9-5 job and continued to build my business. It was by far the best decision I ever made! It gave me the freedom and flexibility I needed to schedule my life as a new mom and also allowed me to continue doing what I love most, which is writing.
I had my daughter on April 9th and was officially done with my leave by July 4th. I worked a very part-time schedule through the end of that calendar year, which gave me the opportunity to spend serious quality time with my daughter during the first 8 months of her life. That next year, which was my first full year in business, I matched my annual full-time salary, and was only working about 30 hours per week.
My daughter is now 2.5 and I love that I can still be such a hands on mom while running my own business. There are certainly challenges that come along with this lifestyle but I think the benefits far outweigh any of the drawbacks.
My name is Hilary Young and I am the owner of Hilary Young Creative, which is my content and brand consulting company. If you’re considering launching your own business and aren’t sure about how to make the leap, feel free to shoot me an email or reach out on Twitter @hyoungcreative. My greatest passion is now helping other women discover the freedom that comes along with making a living while also creating work/life balance on your own terms.