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Announcing the Greatest Promotion of my Life

August 23, 2021

I am beyond honored to announce my promotion to the greatest leadership role of my life — motherhood! 

Baby Shannon is due at the end of November, and my husband and I couldn’t be happier! We are excited for this new chapter of life and the many joys, challenges, and changes that will come with it. 

On a personal level, I truly cannot wait. I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. Professionally, it’s been both challenging and empowering to navigate the many decisions that come with this profound change. I am so very, very proud of this little business and all that Ember & Co has grown into. I am immensely honored by the trust, loyalty, and friendship of my clients and collaborators. Being a small business owner has been one of the greatest honors and blessings of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. 

I’ve considered a million different ways for Ember & Co to move forward once baby girl is here in November — from carrying on full steam ahead to shutting down completely. Clarity will likely come with time, and I expect some pivoting along the way as we adjust to this new season of life. However, as I’ve worked through these decisions, one phrase has returned to my mind over and over again: “they’re only little once.”

 


“You will never look back on life and think to yourself, ‘I spent too much time with my kids.’”

— Kimberly Mceod

One thing I know for sure is that motherhood will come first and will become my most important job, bar none. This has always been a foundational value for me, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to build my own business — for such a time as this. I have the great power (and responsibility) to chart my own course and bend my business around my family’s needs, rather than the other way around. That is a gift I do not take for granted.

With that in mind, here is the current plan:

PREPARING FOR MATERNITY LEAVE

  1. All projects will need to be wrapped up by November 1, 2021. That gives us roughly 10 weeks. If we are currently working on something together, I’ve already planned for this in our timeline. However, this makes it EXTRA important that we stay on track and do not allow the schedule to derail. I want to make sure you have everything you need before I go on leave.
  2. If you’ve had a small project you’ve been meaning to schedule, now is the time! While it’s probably too late for a big project, we still have time to knock out smaller collateral items, website updates, etc. Reach out ASAP!
  3. If you already know that you won’t be able to go four months without design support, we can discuss introducing you to another designer that I have worked with and trust. I want to ensure that you have the support you need to keep your business running smoothly. I am happy to help with the transition and provide any working files needed to keep things moving along. After I return from leave you’re welcome to transition back to Ember & Co or continue with your new designer — whatever works best for you!
  4. If you feel that you (or someone on your team) is relatively design/tech-savvy and you’d like to take things in-house, I am happy to discuss training and/or file hand-off. Perhaps some of your website updates could be handled by your VA, or you’d like to convert your business card to a Canva file so that you can update them yourself. We can discuss your options and see what works best for you. A small fee will likely apply, just to cover my time.
  5. If you’re an existing website care plan client, don’t worry — your website will continue to be supported. That is the one service I plan to continue throughout maternity leave. I just ask that you save anything non-urgent for after I return, and we stick to essential software updates and emergency needs during my leave.(If you’re an existing Ember & Co client that’s NOT on a website care plan and would like regular support and software updates during my leave, now is the time to sign up! You can learn more HERE.)

 

MATERNITY LEAVE

  1. I plan to take maternity leave from November 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022. This will give me a few weeks to relax and prep, and then a few months to soak in the baby cuddles (and recover from the sleepless nights) after her arrival.
  2. During this time, the only client work that will continue is active website care plans. If you are not on a website care plan and need urgent design assistance during my leave, I will provide the contact information for a couple of amazing designers I have personally worked with and trust. If they need design files from me to complete your request, they will get in touch with me and I will get them everything they need.
  3. I don’t plan to check my email with any sort of regularity, and I obviously won’t be taking any meetings or calls. I will give my website care plan clients special instructions for how to get in touch with me during this time.

 

POST MATERNITY LEAVE:

  1. After I return from maternity leave, I likely won’t take on any big projects for the foreseeable future. This includes branding packages, new websites, big editorial/layout designs, etc. I pour a ton of time, energy, and care into the projects I take on. I have always strived to provide exceptional quality, timeliness, and dependability. I don’t want to put myself (or my clients) in a situation where I cannot deliver on what I’ve promised. I have a few incredible designers I am happy to refer you to if you find yourself in need during this time.
  2. I only plan to continue with existing clients. As immensely honored as I have been with the incredible referrals my clients have provided over the years (over 95% of my business has been word-of-mouth), I know my time and focus will be extremely limited, and I want to make sure that those who have come to rely on Ember & Co have my full attention. If Ember & Co does sub-contracting work for you, this applies to your clients, as well. I will support existing clients with existing projects, but do not plan to take on any new ones.
  3. My communication and deliverable turnaround times will be more generous. While I’ve loved serving my clients with timeliness and accommodating tight deadlines over the years, I don’t have any illusions about the demands of motherhood and the needs of a little one that depends on me to sustain her life. She will come first 🙂 If your design needs tend to be fairly laid back and you can work around my limited availability, great! However, if you find yourself on tight deadlines and in need of a lot of last-minute design support, you may be happier with another designer who has the time and capacity to accommodate that. In that case, I am more than happy to give you a trusted referral and help with the transition. As I mentioned earlier, my main concern is that you are happy and well taken care of 🙂

Whew! I believe that covers most of the details surrounding this big life change — but please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have lingering questions or want to discuss things one-on-one. 

I cannot say emphatically enough how honored I have been by your trust and enthusiastic support over the years. Many of you have become dear friends and I look forward to continuing that bond, even if our professional relationship shifts over time. I feel like I work with some of the best humans around and I never cease to be inspired by you. Thank you for all you do!

Cheering you on, always!

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Caitlin Shannon, Founder of Ember & Co Website Design Studio

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