Episode #45: Instagram – do you need more than one account? Taking a leave from your small business.

In today’s episode, we’re chatting about separating a brand and a “personal brand” on Instagram, and how Cassy planned for her maternity leave.

Cassy Joy: What’s day one, in addition to possibly thinking about bringing in other tools, or whether that’s a program or a system you’ve been putting off investing in that could help you streamline some processes. Or really just bringing in an assistant or something that can help you from a tactical perspective kind of bridge that gap.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Diane Sanfilippo: In today’s episode, we’re going to chat about separating a brand and a personal brand Instagram account, and how Cassy planned for her maternity leave.


  1. What’s on my plate [1:10]
  2. Shop Talk: Separating personal and business Instagram accounts [7:54]
  3. Cassy Joy’s planned maternity leave [25:52]
  4. Tip of The Week: Build a break [43:21]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:10]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives this week. Cassy; why don’t we just get a quick update, since we’re going to be talking a lot more about what’s more about what’s happening in your business and your life with the meat of this show. So, let’s get a little quick update. Because you’re back. You slid into home last week.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} I did. I did. It’s good to be back. Man. I really missed this. I can’t tell you; last week, when we talked, for a lot of reasons. Because it was just good to have that kind of a conversation with a trusted friend. But man, it puts the wind back in my sails a little bit. So it’s good to be back. Also, working out again. Which feels so nice. And Bishop, our daughter. Our second little girl. She is coming into her own. Big old eyes look back at you now. And she’s smiling and cooing. Grayson is still ignoring her as best she can. But {laughs} every once in a while, she goes over and pats her, and says baby, and tries to wrap her up. So, it’s cute. Life is really sweet inside this house right now.

Diane Sanfilippo: That is cute. And there’s something about you having a second child. That it was like; ok, now you’re really a mom.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: And, please don’t take that the wrong way, everybody listening who has one child. I in no way believe that that is not being a mom. It was just something about the way that Cassy kind of handled having her first kid, that was very like; yeah, ok, I got this. You know. Like it wasn’t really a thing. Listen, in the most loving way; it was like another project that happened and then she was born, and now she’s here and just part of your life. It was just so smooth. So now, watching you juggle; now it’s more like the way most people are with one baby. And the way I could not be with even half of a baby. Not that that makes any sense!

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Anyway. I bow down to all the moms. Just let’s be clear on that. I do not have kinds, and I am fully aware of my limits, which is why I don’t. But now I’m like; ok, what’s she going to do? How is she going to make it work? You know?

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: So I’m excited for you. Yeah, I don’t know. I can’t wait to see more little pictures. I was saying I’m curious how similar they look, or different, and Cassy said she had just snapped a photo, and it was like, to the day the same kind of photo of her first baby. So we’ll look at those side by side.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. It’s so sweet. And I take that as a compliment. Diane messaged me, and she’s like; I can just tell you’re just at this new level of mom comfort; the way I was holding Bishop.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah!

Cassy Joy: I probably had her just hiked under my arm {laughs} when I was probably breastfeeding her and cooking Grayson dinner at the same time. {laughs} But it’s good.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. It’s just; I don’t know. It’s just a new thing.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, yeah. Ok. Well, anyway. I love it. I’m excited for you. I’m happy for you. And all good stuff. And you; listen, for what we’re going to talk about today with your planned maternity leave, whatever day it was last week that we started recording again was not necessarily planned. We just were having a conversation; which is the whole way we started this podcast. We would have these shop talk conversations amongst ourselves. And we were like; we should just hit record, and have a podcast. And that was how we started this whole show.

So last week, I was like; hey, do you just want to record something right now? And we basically just jumped right in. So, I’m glad that you’re back. I definitely feel reinvigorated. It was; you know, it’s fine to do a show by yourself. But there’s a reason I didn’t start a new show by myself. I think part of it is just the fun of having that connection with my friend. Talking about things that are interesting to us, and sharing similar and differing viewpoints. That’s always really helpful for me.

As the leader of my own business, I don’t always have a lot of opposition. So you and I generally see eye to eye on most things, 80-90%. Or, it’s just seeing that extra 10-20% that I didn’t see. Even if we would have seen it the same way; it’s just seeing something I didn’t see. So I love that. So I’m glad that you’re back.

And what’s on my plate; I don’t really want to get into too much because I want to jump into the meat of the episode. But we have a new summer menu coming to Balanced Bites. So as of the original airing of this episode, June 22nd I believe is our air date. I think this is the last week that you can order the current menu, and then 8 of those items are going to rotate off. They’re not being discontinued, we’re just rotating. We’re finally getting into a stride where we have more items that have been tested and approved and all of that to where hopefully we’ll be able to rotate the menu at a minimum seasonally, and eventually it will get to be monthly or something along those lines. It’s just a lot of coordinating with two different kitchens, making sure these recipes have been executed for a long period of time to where if they come off the menu and come back on.

It’s like; imagine you’re baking blueberry muffins every week for two months, or three months. And then you get to a point where, you know, you’re doing it so perfectly and you don’t need to pay as much attention. Of course they pay attention to every measurement; but, then you don’t make them for a year. Then you have to kind of get your stride again. So that’s kind of the analogy that I’m using.

Anyway. I’m really excited to have 5 brand new meals coming to the menu. I know that our customers are excited about newness, and some seasonality with summer items. And just kind of moving along, growing that thing. So that’s kind of what’s going on over here.

And, in my personal life, my second bougainvillea is finally blooming with purple flowers. So you guys listening, know we have this bright pink one out my window that I get to look at while we record. But there’s one in the back corner of the yard that is purple, and it’s just; next to the pets snuggling, my life dream is this giant pair of bougainvillea that kind of meet up in the yard and cover the ugly fence. It’s good to have goals.

Cassy Joy: I love it. Well, San Francisco, you’re in the right spot. Going on walks…

Diane Sanfilippo: They love it here, yeah. They love super sunny areas. So I feel like you could grow them in Texas. As long as you have a really sunny part of your yard. To be considered for the new house.

Cassy Joy: Oh, that gives me an idea. Ok, thanks!

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: I’m going to write that down. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. Noted.

2.  Shop Talk: Separating personal and business Instagram accounts [7:54]

Diane Sanfilippo: Shop Talk. In this segment, we discuss topics related to business and entrepreneurship that are on our minds and yours. And right now, we are going to talk about two different things in this episode. We’re talking a bit about having a brand Instagram and a personal bran Instagram. And then we’re also going to talk a bit about Cassy’s plan for her maternity leave. So, which do you want to talk about first?

Cassy Joy: Let’s do Instagram first.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So, some of you may have noticed that Fed and Fit just recently; I just noticed it as of today, has a brand logo icon over on Instagram. And Cassy Joy Garcia; that is your handle as just yourself, your personal brand. It’s not a personal account. It’s not just you and your family; right? Like, my Diane Sanfilippo account isn’t just me and my family. But it’s a personal brand.

So I would love to hear what made you finally get the division, and say we’re doing this. Because I know you opened that other account a long time ago. Was it when we were in New York last year? Or a little before that maybe. I remember we were talking about it.

Cassy Joy: It was really close to that.

Diane Sanfilippo: I remember. I was like; ok, I better follow her. So yeah, what was the motivation for finally saying; ok, I’m actually going to start showing up over here. Sharing content this way. And making that division. Because that’s a tough call for a lot of people.

Cassy Joy: It is. And I’ll be honest, y’all. I really struggled with this decision for a long time. And I just kind of; like a weathervane, was out. And I just waited until the winds blew in the right direction. And I was like; now is the time. It’s time now to do this thing.

Diane Sanfilippo: That feels like a Texas thing to say? I don’t know.

Cassy Joy: Is it? {laughing} It might be. It just; I’ll tease it out a little bit for you, but really it took a lot of intuition and observing kind of removing myself from the day to day a little bit. Which I was able to do with the maternity leave, which we’ll talk about in a second. But being able to see my business from kind of a 50,000-foot view allowed me to really just understand how the two entities could work together, and also be separate.

But this is something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. When I started Fed and Fit 9 years ago, this summer; oh my goodness! I think actually June; 9 years this month. I started off as a personal blog. And I have been a personal blog for probably a good solid 7 years; 7.5 years. And I did that because I was sharing; y’all know what a blog is. I don’t have to tell you about that. But I always had it in my heart to grow Fed and Fit from a blog to an online editorial. From day 1, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to build a brand.

I also knew that I wanted to bring on content writers, and creators, and create essentially our own online editorial. And do it in a way that is just leveling up for the entire industry, which has become more clear how we can really do that now. But that was always my intention from the beginning. And I was almost reluctant to put myself at the center of the brand from the beginning. I was a little reluctant to share about myself. But I did understand that folks need a person to relate to in order to really understand what you’re writing about.

So, yes, I was a certified nutritionist. But they didn’t know me. Readers didn’t know me; what would they care to dig into meal plans or things like that. So I put more of my life into it. And then for the past 3 years, I’ve been, not surgically removing myself. But I did kind of want to say that. {laughs} But figuring out a way that I can evolve now that we’ve built a great base and readers understand that we’re offering more content than just personal blog posts every day. How do I then help transfer essentially this brand from being just about me to being about what we’re creating as an entity.

And so, it started with bringing folks on board and writing articles. And the different authors for the different articles are showing up on www.FedandFit.com. And we use that as a way to slowly show those people on social media, as well, the content writers for Fed and Fit and my team members.

But meanwhile; honestly, I felt like such a huge contradiction for the last two years on Instagram, Diane. Because I would post this great article about collagen peptides. All the things you’d need to know about collagen peptides. I still love that article. And I co-researched and wrote that with Amber Golden, who works at Fed and Fit. And then in the next slide, Gus is asking for a cookie. You know? And it just felt like this really weird pull between my personal life and what we are creating professionally in this business.

I don’t know if I’m making a whole lot of sense.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think it makes sense. I think it’s a tricky thing, and I think it’s a natural progression of building something like that when, from the beginning, it wasn’t like you had this insane level of fame. Let’s take for example a Food Network chef, like Giada DeLaurentis. She had the fame first, and then maybe would launch a website that has this editorial point of view, and then something that’s also more personal. And I think that when we kind of build; I say fame in air finger quotes. I always joke that I’m the least famous bestselling paleo author, because it’s like; I sold all these books, and nobody really knows who I am {laughs} in this weird way. And I’m totally ok with it. Because I’m like; I’ll just hide over here. Nobody come find me. I’m not the guru, ok? I don’t want to be the guru.

But I think that’s a natural progression. We have to have this point at which we say; you know what? This business, this support, this website is not just about me as a person. I think naturally we have teams that help, and sometimes those teams want to stay kind of in the helping and not in the forefront. Not listed as authors. Not known. You know? And that’s a whole type of business. And then there is more of this editorial thing.

So, can you give people a few examples of some other online editorials? Because I think some people might not fully understand what that means. Especially when you transition from more of a traditional; I’m the blogger, this is my blog, to this other format. What are some other big names that people might read or know about, but not realize that that’s really the format that they are?

Cassy Joy: Yeah. So a few examples of online editorials, especially in the wellness vein, are going to be Mind Body Green, I Am Well and Good, The Every Girl; The Every Mom is another one. Oh goodness; Goop, in some ways is one; right? Created by Gwyneth Paltrow. Not to call myself an equivalent. But those are all editorials. So you know that when you pull up, for example, Goop.com, the articles are written by a group of people.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Cassy Joy: That represent the brand.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s good for people to understand. And it’s so interesting to hear you say that from the beginning that was something you envisioned, because as somebody who was a “blogger” for a period of time, and then I really wasn’t. Then I was really just kind of doing the podcast as my weekly content and contribution and books and whatnot. I never had that kind of vision for Balanced Bites. Literally did not ever cross my mind. I’m not someone who wants to write content. It just doesn’t; it’s not my vibe. But creating products has always been. I’m like; listen. I know you can make this spice blend at home, but I know if I make it for you, it’s still going to be better. So if this is something that you can manage within your budget, then cool. We’ll give you some recipes to make sure you can make it if that’s not in your budget. But if it is, I know that that’s kind of the sweet spot. So that’s really interesting to hear that that was kind of always on your mind from the beginning.

So then, this moment of ripping the Band-Aid off and saying; ok, we’re making the switch. To your point, this maternity leave. I know you had contributors from Fed and Fit posting cook alongs and things like that. Did that kind of give you the confidence to say; ok, I know my team can really handle this? And maybe, I don’t know what happened with the views, or any statistics if things kind of stayed where they were, or maybe didn’t drop too much to where you felt like; ok. People can see other people here, and they’re going to be ok with that. So what was that kind of like?

Cassy Joy: Yeah, that’s pretty much; you summed it up really well. The team did. We did this cook alongs, like she said. We call them cooking demos internally. But we did these cook alongs, and every week during quarantine/my own maternity leave, members of my team. There are three full time team members in addition to myself, so four of us total. But my three team members; Amber, Lauren, and Brandy. I almost combined all three of those names into one {laughs}. They each did a cook along, and published it onto the Fed and Fit Instagram account in the same vibe and fashion that I usually do them, in my own style. But they did them in their own way.

It was so fun. I mean; Diane, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching those women really come to life in their own. And they would message me beforehand and be like; is it ok if I did XYZ, or if I do blah, blah, blah. Lauren had a ukulele solo on one of them before a Hawaiian chicken bowl. And I was like, heck yes, you better publish that! That sounds great. And that’s always been also one of my goals with this business, is; yes, we’re all working under this brand of an umbrella, but really show the unique qualities and what everybody individually brings as a content creator.

So, it was a very convenient way to test it. To test this theory that I’ve had; and to your point, views they dipped a little but not a whole lot. Because the audience, for the most part, fell in love with them as much as I do see and value in them. They saw the same things. So it did; it did give me the confidence to say; you know what? The audience is ready for it. My team is definitely ready for it. And now is a good time.

Plus, having a baby, again, it is just. I can’t tell you. I just launched/relaunched Cassy Joy Garcia Instagram last night. and the freedom I feel to be able to just post whatever the heck I want, like you do on a personal page, is such a good feeling. Whereas I have really been trying to be very intentional and careful about not sharing too much that’s just about me and my life, and making sure that everything does point back to the brand. Because that really is my ultimate goal. So that did; that helped. Being able to watch them work while I was away.

But something that I found deeply fascinating; and I’ve been studying this for, I guess years now. But it is the; do you create a brand, and then change the name of that brand and keep that as your personal account? So for example; Fed and Fit. Since the beginning of Instagram, since I joined it, has been my personal account. Do I then create an additional Instagram account and call that the brand? And if people want to consume content on that front, that’s more impersonal, do they go and follow the new account? Or do I as a person create a new account? And maintain the majority of the audience where they are originally.

And what I wanted to do, if I really boiled it down. I thought about it a lot, and most people that I’ve observed don’t do what I did. Most folks will rename their brand account to their name, their personal name, and then they start a new one that’s for the brand that maybe their team runs. Or something like that. And there’s nothing wrong with that approach.

When it came down to it, I decided to take a slower transition to slowly teach my audience on Instagram at Fed and Fit; hey, we’re slowly going to move away from personal topics and move more towards these really neat things that we’ve researched and prepared for you. And use this as a really cool, intentional space to learn. Slowly helped guide folks through that transition; because that was my goal from the beginning. It doesn’t make sense for me to not do what I did.

Diane Sanfilippo: That totally makes sense. And I actually went in the opposite direction. Originally, my handle on Instagram was Balanced Bites. And then I built that all the way up to whatever it was at whatever point we started the alternate account. But the reason that at whatever point in time I decided to make the switch was; I felt like we were at this point in time when people couldn’t separate a brand name from a person. And I don’t think we’re there now. I think people are very much more used to; I didn’t even say that right. So much more used to at Fed and Fit, and they know your name.

There’s just a thing that was happening almost 10 years where people just couldn’t; they would just call me Balanced Bites, or BB. And I was like; I have a name. It is Diane. And it was really annoying. I was like; take a minute to get to know the person. You know? It was just weird. And also I felt like people would confuse me with a lot of other authors. It felt wrong to me. It just felt impersonal to have this account name. I’m like; I’m a person. Not an account. Follow this account; no, I’m a person. It just was so weird.

So maybe it was just me being overly sensitive or emotional about it. But at the time; I always kind of squatted on the handle Balanced Bites, because I knew that that was something I was going to use in whatever way. But I think the transition for us made sense the way I did it, because the brand Balanced Bites on Instagram is really very product focused. We do have educational content and recipes and things like that that we’re sharing there. And we have really cultivated that through our email list, as well, and what we do on the blog.

And we’ll be doing more and more of that as the year goes on and going forward. And kind of reestablishing Balanced Bites as that hub for; it’s not going to be a huge content generation machine, but a couple of posts a week, there’s something educational in a recipe. And having that separated, I think it would have been too much of a jolt for people to go from what we were doing with Balanced Bites, naming it as me. It just wouldn’t have worked the same way.

So I think that if somebody is going through this and trying to decide, you have to figure out; what did the people come here to follow? When people followed Balanced Bites in the beginning, they were following me as a person. So it did make sense for me to say; ok. Let’s say it was 75,000 people at the time. Those people signed up to follow me, Diane. At the time, my handle was Balanced Bites. They didn’t sign up to follow this spice and meals company. Do you know what I mean? So it did make more sense for us to separate that out.

And I think the way that you did it makes perfect sense for the way that you’ve built the brand. And then you’re like; ok, you have said you want to follow me, but my take on all these things. So if you also want to follow me, just baby, dog, life, house, all the things that are going to be more personal to me, you can come on over here. And I really think that makes sense. I think both ways make sense, it just depends on what you want to do.

I also was very decidedly ok with building the Instagram for Balanced Bites as a brand from scratch. I actually love that idea. I just feel like the follower base is more pure in a way. The people have been intentional about choosing who they follow. I feel like there’s got to be at least half the people who follow me at Diane Sanfilippo; I don’t even know if they log into Instagram. They never see my stuff. So, how often do you want to just burn it all down, you know?

So, anyway. I think that all makes sense. I think it’s just worth discussing, because there are always people who are curious how do they separate things? What do they do? I think that until you have a name that anybody knows, having a handle at just your name, without any other descriptive element in there, like coach, or nutrition, or whatever. I mean, you’re floating around on Instagram, and nobody knows anything about who you are or what you do. But now having Cassy Joy Garcia; it’s linked in the Fed and Fit bio. And it’s like; people know who you are. At least, you know, a very solid cross section of people who are floating around. So I think that makes a big difference.

Cassy Joy: Yep.

3. Cassy Joy’s planned maternity leave [25:52]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. Well, since this was one of the big motivations for having that new account, and separation, let’s just quickly talk about how you planned your maternity leave, and give people some advice on how to do that. Of course, this is always a really personal discussion, and it’s really based on knowing that a lot of our listeners are entrepreneurs, or want to be, or are building something, and how would you account for this?

So, let’s just do a little bit of rapid fire on it, I guess.

Cassy Joy: Ok.

Diane Sanfilippo: How long do you think people should; I mean, women, men, whoever, right? How long do you think people should plan for a maternity leave?

Cassy Joy: I like to plan around three months. But I want to say; I would definitely do some research on the state that you are in, and if you are currently employed, for example, on your rights and what you’re owed. So that would definitely be the first thing to start. But, if you are making the rules, maybe you’re the boss, you’re the entrepreneur, I think three months is a really good number. And that’s exactly what I’m going to also build and model for future employees who want to do the same.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So then, when do you start preparing for it so that you’re ready to kind of; when the day comes, actually make that little exit?

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Not to scare anyone, but as soon as I’ve peed on a positive stick, I’m planning for it. {laughing} I mean, really though. I think that the sooner you can begin the better and more graceful that transition is going to feel and be for you, and for your business. And everybody does this; as soon as you have a positive, you look at when the due date is. Right? And you start thinking; oh, ok. Maybe I won’t have a book come out that exact week. You know? Or whatever it is. You start thinking about how you can organize the big pieces in your business around that time.

So I would say that’s day one, in addition to possibly thinking about bringing in other tools. Whether that’s a program, or a system you’ve been putting off investing in that could help you streamline some processes. Or really just bring in an assistant, or something that can help you from a tactical perspective kind of bridge that gap between you being available.

Diane Sanfilippo: And then; do you typically take a bit of a pre-baby leave? Or do you wait until that last day, or it’s just forced upon you? How do you approach that?

Cassy Joy: Yes. I strongly encourage anybody expecting to plan for some sort of a pre-baby leave. And how long that could or should be is definitely up to you. I personally planned to be more quasi out of pocket for two weeks before I expected our daughter, just in case she came early, we were ready to go. And truthfully, I let off the gas even a little bit leading up to those two weeks so that I wasn’t crashing on any one big deadline, and maybe she makes an early arrival.

When we’re welcoming a new baby into our family, I try to be very protective over my mindset, and over the mindset of my family so that I can be as present as possible at the birth of that baby and be able to give our child as much attention, and also my husband. Right? Because the sweet man tends to just take the brunt of whatever stress I have going on in my life. And I really want him to be able to present for the birth of his children. So I try to really responsibly look at; how can I be stress free as possible. And having a big deadline due, or some big thing that I’m chasing that I gave myself the arbitrary deadline of being due two weeks before a baby is born; what if it gets pushed? What if the baby makes an early arrival?

So I recommend giving yourself; let off the gas a little bit, and then give yourself two weeks to really be part time. That way you can pack that hospital bag if you’re doing something like that. Or, you can just really get caught up with your friends and go into this new season having connected with all the important people in your life.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. And then; {laughs} I’m kind of laughing about this next one. Like, do you phase back in, or do you just kind of rip the Band-Aid off again? I’m using that expression {laughs} Because last week I was like; oh, by the way, you want to come record a podcast again? And then you’re thrown into the deep end, and I didn’t actually ask you or make a plan. But do you typically phase back in or are you like; ok, today’s the day. Here I am everyone. Jazz hands!

Cassy Joy: {laughing} Well, the latter for sure. But if you are more organized than I am, then I would definitely recommend some sort of a phased reentrance into the world. Because, as soon as you get home with that brand-new baby, you are not going to care one little bit about work. There’s a good chance. I’m willing to bet that you won’t care about what’s going on in your work world. And that doesn’t mean that it’s not still important to you, and won’t be important to you again in a few weeks. But understand that there’s going to be a time where you are going to check out completely. So I would prepare for that season and keep that in mind.

What kind of work do you need so that the business operates 100% without you and independent of you? And then the next phase usually hits me around four to five weeks postpartum. I’m loving those newborn snuggles. Everything is good, maybe we’re sleeping a little bit more. I have a little bit more energy. And I’m still drinking lots of bone broth. I’m still knee-deep in my postpartum, very intensive, nurturing care. But, also, I want to see what’s going on in my inbox, just for a minute. Or, maybe I’ll catch up with my team.

So, I call that next phase of postpartum as kind of the communication phase. It’s where I’m not doing any real work. I’m not writing. I’m not creating anything. I’m not responding or making deadlines. But I’m starting to talk to folks. I’m starting to talk to my team and saying; ok, get me caught up on where you are on this. Let me go send a message to my colleagues and see what’s going on there. So I’m not firm on the details of what’s going on in the world, in my work, but I am at least opening up communication to the people who I know will respect those boundaries. And I think that’s important.

If you have a very large team, then maybe you don’t open it up to everybody and say; hey, give me a ring or shoot me a text message or send me a Voxer anytime. But you can send it maybe to your leadership.

And then that third phase is probably where I’m at now. Like I said, I prepared a three-month maternity leave for the most part, but I tend to pull the plug on that a little bit sooner than three months {laughs} because I think it’s an intuitive process, and I think it’s important that every parent recognize what’s right for them. Three months for me was the, just in case I need a full three months to be 100% checked out; I’m building that for myself. Right? Because who knows? You don’t know how the birth is going to go. You don’t know the health of your child. You don’t know your health. So I think it’s important to build a nice long runway for yourself so that if you have to be 100% out all that time, you can.

But for me, right at about 8 weeks, which is where we’re at this week, is when I’m like; ok. I want to get back into creating some more content. Still communicating, but I’m also not tackling any major projects right now.

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel like that’s kind of how I am all the time.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: In my business. This is the difference between the Manifestor and the Manifesting Generator. I’m like, in the communication and motivation/inspiration role, and actually creating content. So I’m going to quote Pretty Woman; “You don’t make anything, and you don’t build anything.”

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} That’s kind of me. I make this podcast with you, and I make some content. But other than that, I mostly make connections and conversations and relationships. And, like, prioritize what everyone else is doing.

Cassy Joy: That’s great. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Anyway. “In a given week, I’d say.” I’m just kidding. Anyway. There are people who live their lives through movie quotes, and there are people who don’t. And I am someone who does. Ok. So, the last questions here; well, you kind of touched on this a little bit. But should you be kind of available at all? What’s happening in those first, let’s say 4 weeks. Can your team contact you? I would imagine so. But what’s your boundary on that? And then we have one more question.

Cassy Joy: It’s kind of a; if the house is on fire, you can reach me. For example, there was a major thing come up with my book, and that was a big deal. And that happened right when the baby was about to be born; a few days before we went to the hospital, and it continued for the first two weeks. And those were big decisions that I had to make. And so that’s very much; that’s a top priority, right?

But for the most part, a part of this preparing for my maternity leave, especially because I’m fortunate enough to have a team of people that I get to work with. A part of it was also not only creating content that would help bridge the gap that I could provide. I take photos, for example, still. All of our photos, do things like that. Help front load decisions that would help carry them through those several months. But it was also in having conversations with my team of how can they problem solve independent of me.

And I have to tell you; now having gone through this twice, maternity leaves are the best thing for my business. They are the best thing for my business. My business blossoms when I check out. {laughs} And a part of that; it’s not necessarily because I’m not there anymore. But really, the work to help encourage and really build up team members so that they can work independently and confidently, without necessarily me being always available, has really helped blossom my business. So if you are listening, and you’re nervous about it; don’t be. I mean, yes, it’s a lot of work. But this is going to be one of the best things you’ve ever actually done for your business. I think they’re wonderful.

So I think being kind of available is not a good idea. I think; yes, if the house is on fire, you can reach me. And honestly, I ask them, if the house is on fire. I say that metaphorically, of course. But, call Austin first, my husband first, to protect myself. Because who knows? I know I don’t do well with little to no sleep, and I don’t trust myself to make big decisions in those kinds of moments. So just know yourself really well. If they need somebody, maybe have them reach your primary point of contact, or your in case of emergency first. And then outside of that, I really did not plan to be available for the first month. I was out. I was checked out.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s a really good idea to have that buffer. Because not only might you be asleep, but you might not be able to say no in the moment. Whereas if your husband or whoever else can answer the question, and be like; you actually didn’t need her for this, then that’s great. I think the big takeaway here; and I’ve definitely had this experience, as well. And I think it gets built into my team members, maybe just by default in terms of how hands off I like to be. I really am like; tell me when it’s done and I’ll just approve it and we’ll find the 1% thing that needs to get fixed.

The less I know about what they’re all doing the better in a lot of ways. Because I feel like that just lends itself to a lot more empowerment and emboldened and empowered person who feels confident in what they’re doing and feels like they have leeway or runway or whatever it is to make decisions. And their confidence is in a place where they can do that. And if it was only 80% there; well, you took the safety net away for a minute, and you’re like; actually, see? You can do this. You’re totally fine. It doesn’t have to be exactly the way I would have done it to be great.

Cassy Joy: To be great. Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: And maybe better, like you were saying. You were not playing a ukulele in your cooking demos.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} No. No, I was not.

Diane Sanfilippo: So there you go.

Cassy Joy: I was clearly not performing at that level.

Diane Sanfilippo: I saw that. That was super endearing and adorable. And I loved it. Ok, so then the last question is; who do you hire, or what do you outsource, if someone is alone and doesn’t have a team? How can someone kind of keep the lights on, just keep the wheels turning, and make sure that their business doesn’t collapse in that time. What if somebody is; let’s just say they’re a health coach, and they have an Instagram that kind of does a thing. And they just don’t want to get sucked into that. What can people do to handle that in the meantime?

Cassy Joy: So I think if you are somebody who has income come into your business because of your one-on-one work, like a health coach for example. You take clients. You might be thinking; oh my goodness, three months of not taking clients, I’m just not going to make any money during those months. But what I would encourage you do is maybe pivot your business to create a piece of content that can be consumed without you being there. So that’s kind of like a program, or some sort of coaching web series that you lead people through. Figure out a way to scale your efforts.

So you create this program. You have several months to do that; maybe. Right? If you’re planning early. And then you’re inevitably going to have support issues come up when you launch this thing, so I would encourage you to launch it before baby is due so that you can troubleshoot maybe the first month or so of clients and user experience of an automated program like that.

And then, virtual assistants are actually relatively affordable. So don’t think that just because you’re not making the money that you want to be even taking home yet doesn’t mean that you can’t afford a little virtual assistance. So I would encourage you to find somebody that can work part time for your business. Maybe in an internship capacity. I would still compensate them. So that they can help run support while you’re out. And that’s a way you can have income still come in.

And then, there are systems out there. We are living in a day where you can schedule content ahead of time. You can schedule, not only content on your website, but you can also schedule content on social media. And take full advantage of that. Go ahead and load as much as feels right to you, or as much of a runway as you’re able to build.

For my first maternity leave, we did. We built, I think, 10 weeks of content on www.FedandFit.com. And then, subsequent, I think I made it to about 8 weeks’ worth of social media posts. Instagram posts and things like that. And Amber Golden was there with me. I brought her on earlier that year. And she really; that’s when she really stepped into her; I feel like she really just started to own her position in that point in that leave.

So she did essentially what I just illustrated for you. She ran the whole thing, but especially in that support capacity. If somebody needed something or had a question, she was available and knowledgeable, because she had been there for several months beforehand.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think a great tip that people can keep in mind, too, when it does come to social media, if you’re worried about having something happen on social media but not then getting sucked into it, because that can happen and you don’t want to lose your time that way. We all have content that’s way back a year ago that’s still relevant, and would be brand new to somebody’s eyes who hadn’t seen it a year ago. So I would definitely recommend not having the personal experience of maternity leave, but in constantly thinking; “Would there be a way to take a break?”

You can repurpose your own, older content. Your fans and followers probably never saw it in the first place. And if they did, there’s actually a really interesting; I don’t know what it’s called. There’s some kind of phenomenon that we have going on, when we see something again. We have an affinity for it. We actually like seeing something we’ve seen before. It reminds us of a recipe. We made it the first time. We liked that we were here before. There’s just something about that repost. And you don’t have to pretend like it’s new. You can say; I shared this a year ago, and it’s still relevant. Or somebody asked about it. You can do that. Or you can pretend like it’s brand new, it doesn’t really matter.

But I want to encourage people not to always create something new. Just use something you created a while ago, and make sure that you are getting as many eyeballs on it as possible.

4. Tip of The Week: Build a break [43:21]

Diane Sanfilippo: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. Cassy, do you want to give us a tip?

Cassy Joy: You know; I actually think Diane’s tip at the end of our conversation was perfect. I think that’s a really great one. If you’re looking to build yourself a break; whether it’s because you’re welcoming a new baby into the world, or you’re moving, or who knows what’s going on. Lean on that old content that you have. Because the folks that are there A) probably never saw it; and B) like she said, would really welcome the warm reminder.

And when we’re doing that, and we’re planning those kinds of call-back posts on Fed and Fit content, we look at our best content. We pull up our top performing pieces. And it doesn’t matter if you posted it three months ago. It can be as recent as that. Just play with the wording again. Say, “this is our most made recipe, and y’all are loving this thing.” It’s ok to really proclaim that. And it’s true; those really do, those perform really well, and there’s no reason why you can’t leverage that content again.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @FedandFit and she’s @CassyJoyGarcia I am @DianeSanfilippo, and just for fun I’m also @BalancedBites.

Tune in next week for another brand-new episode. We’ll see you then.