Should you make less money because you get to stay home with your baby? Are you less smart? (Pregnancy brain aside.) Are you doing lower quality work? In my experience mothers are more efficient, more productive and more effective.
Never Say You Work from Home
When I’m speaking to clients or prospects, I never say I work from home. I don’t say, “I’ll look into it when I get home,” I say, “I’ll look into it when I get back to the office.” I don’t say, “I won’t be home this afternoon,” I say, “I’ll be out of the office this afternoon.” If I need to mention it for some reason I will say, “I work remotely,” and never, “I work from home.” I don’t ever want my clients to imagine me at home in pink fuzzy slippers with a baby crawling around my feet. Even though this has often been my reality! If you’re lucky and you work hard, this can be your reality too. I love nothing more than working in my pink fuzzy flip flops while my little guy makes me a Play-Doh lunch on the floor in my office.
Banish Limiting Beliefs
My daughter was born in the early years of my consulting business before I had all my business systems in place. My first project after her birth involved a lot of interaction with a technical team and a little bit of follow up with the executive team. Our meetings were scheduled as follows: on days I needed to meet with the technical team I would call when the baby woke up and tell them I would be on my way in 45 minutes, after I fed and changed her. And I would bring her with me. I thought this was the greatest gift ever and it was! So, I discounted my rate. But the fact is, the technical team was busy with individual technical work most of the day and it was not the slightest bit inconvenient for them to be flexible with my schedule. It cost them nothing in dollars, time or productivity. So, should I have been grateful? YES! Should I have discounted my rate? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
When I met with the executive team, it was scheduled a week in advance at their convenience and I didn’t bring the baby. Their schedules were not wide open like the schedules of the technical team.
An Avalanche of Work Six Weeks Before the Baby was Due
Six weeks before my second baby was born, I had an avalanche of new work. Of course. I had a meeting with a prospective client and my husband walked me out to my car. I was a little cranky. He said, “You seem a little stressed.” I grumpily replied, “You try having what equates to a job interview when you’re 34 weeks pregnant.” The meeting went well and I was offered two important projects.
None of my clients had any idea I was expecting a baby. I do most of my work remotely and it was easy enough to conceal the pregnancy for in-person meetings with some careful dressing and casually holding something in front of me at all times. A person can be incapacitated by a medical condition at any time so I didn’t feel any obligation to tell them I would be having a baby. I did not expect it to affect my ability to get the work done and it didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even take a full day off when the baby was born.
Flip Your Mindset
Your clients are not doing you a favor by hiring you. You are providing immense value and they are paying you for it. Imagine if someone like you had come along just when you needed it most? You would have been delighted. If you have something that can help, you owe it to the world to get it out there.
As long as you are doing good quality work and meeting your client’s needs, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re working from Disneyland or a spaceship orbiting the moon.
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I do 98% of my work remotely. I have occasional on site client meetings but I never take up residence. I have some clients that I have never met in person.
Because I work remotely I am mostly available to all of my clients from about 7:00 am to 11:00 pm seven days a week. My core practice is project management (getting things done) so it’s a huge benefit for the client to have someone keeping things moving sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. But they don’t pay for sixteen hours a day, seven days a week; they only pay for what they use.
You can take your baby anywhere you want when you work for yourself. There is no one to tell you that you can’t. Whatever you do, DON’T ASK PERMISSION.
I even took my two-year-old to a very important board presentation. I carefully dressed in the most powerful, power suit I owned along with the best shoes, jewellery, make-up and briefcase I could muster. I arrived at the meeting before anyone else and set the baby up in the corner in her Pack ‘n Play. I sat near but with my back facing her so she couldn’t make eye contact with me. I pretended to be VERY busy reading something VERY important as other people came into the room. Everyone looked at the baby wondering what the heck was going on but no one said a word. The meeting started, I made my presentation and the baby played quietly in her Pack ‘n Play the entire time. At the end of the meeting someone finally said, “Does that baby belong to anyone” I very casually replied, “Oh, she’s mine.”
Never underestimate the power of like-minded people. Confidence is easier when you’re surrounded by a strong group. Join our Billable with Baby® Community! We are a group of ambitious mothers starting and running successful consulting businesses. We empower working mothers to have meaningful careers with the flexibility to raise their children the way they wish.