Business partners Terri Boote and Jo Muggeridge founded virtual assistant services company Strictly Savvy as new mums three years ago. Terri recently returned to working in the company 30 hours a week after having her second child, Kassia. She was also a finalist in the best online and technology business category of the 2015 Mumtrepreneur Awards.
What period of parental leave did you take when Kassia was born?
I officially came back about three weeks ago after taking seven months off and I'm currently doing a four-day week. I took the first three months fully off, and then I worked about 10 hours a week after that.
What factors determined how long you'd take off?
I was actually supposed to take six months, but when that time was up I found I wasn't quite ready. At that point I ended up getting a training nanny to look after Kassia at home and it took me about a month to put everything in place with that before coming back to work.
The thinking behind me taking six months off was around how long my business partner and I thought the business could handle not having me around. Jo was running the whole thing in my absence, so we needed to take that into consideration, and she did such a great job it made me feel better about taking that extra month before coming back.
Did you access any paid parental leave entitlements?
I got the full 14-week payment for those three months I was completely off.
I'd encourage people to outsource, because there are lot of different functions other professionals can take on for you when you're not there — from virtual assistants, to bookkeepers, to marketing consultants.