Time Management seems to be a struggle that many business owners come across and in fact it has come up as a hot topic in the private Make Money With Cakes members Facebook group. While I don’t claim to have the perfect time management strategy, for the most part I have developed a balance that works for me. So I thought I’d share some of my insights and tips.
I would love to hear if any of these tips work for you or if you can add anything to the mix.
I have to be very strict with my time as I have M.E and EDS, while I don’t like to make a big deal about my health, my illnesses are part of me and that is just a fact of my life. So I have to work around them. Which means taking regular naps each day and making sure I schedule time off for complete rest, and also making sure I eat really well (I am still working on that one!)
When I first started out in my cake business I sat around twiddling my thumbs a lot while I waited for the customers to come. But as I grew, and I am sure you are experiencing, or will experience the same thing, that’s when time management starts to raise it’s head. Personally I feel this is something you must deal with asap before it completely overwhelms you.
So you may be similar to me with your health, or may have children, or a partner, or another job that takes up your time. The thing is we all have pulls from outside of our cake businesses and the trick is to balance it in a way that suits your lifestyle. No one else’s, just yours. But that’s easier said than done hey!
My Tops Tips For Helping Your Time Management:
1. Focus on Serving Your Customer
Your customers are your one number priority but if you are running around like a headless chicken that is no good for anyone. It this therefore important to create a business with boundaries that serves both your customer and yourself. That way everyone will know what to expect.
2. Structure Your Week
Decide which days you want to work and then create set days for doing set tasks. E.g. Monday could be admin, Tuesday could be marketing, then Wednesday, Thursday, Friday could be cake creating, and Saturday cake consultations.
You can be flexible with your timings as it has to fit in with your life. But having set days for set tasks greatly improves your productivity and work mindset.
For instance the beginning of my week is Make Money With Cakes and the end is for Vanilla Pod. I like to work between 4-6 hours a day. But I am flexible when I do work, so some days I start at 8am, other days I’ll start at 3pm. Depending on how my health is or if I have cakes to set up, people to catch up with, etc. But these irregular hours suit me and my life.
3. Price Your Cakes For Profit
I can’t stress enough how important this aspect is. Once you price your cakes so that you are making a wage and a profit. The whole cake creating process becomes so much more relaxed. You are not stressing because you are working for 50p per hour and you still have to tidy the house and make the dinner and put the washing on and more and more. You are working for a wage that you have set, you’re in control of the timings and you’re bringing in a profit that allows you to grow your business. Once I had mastered the pricing, a huge, huge, huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and it allowed me to really enjoy the creative side again.
4. Schedule Time Off
At the beginning of every year I really recommend taking your diary and scheduling complete weekends and weeks off. #NoCakeOrderDays. This not only helps with your time management but keeps your sanity too. It is so important to take time off for yourself. I ensure that I have at least one complete weekend off in every 5 weeks, and take 5 to 7 days off every four months, that is either for resting, catching up with friend or going on holiday.
5. Take Time To Work on The Business
Similar to scheduling time off, I also recommend blocking time throughout the year to work on your business and not in it. Take time to plan and evaluate what is working and what isn’t. This will ensure that your cake business continues to grow and you are on track for building the business you want.
6. Don’t Stress
It is important not to stress about the ‘lack of time’. We all have the same amount of hours in the day. Choosing how many of those you want to work in your business allows you more freedom in the long run. We have to be realistic, sometimes life gets in the way, plans change, you get ill, or your child is poorly, you move house, whatever the reason. Don’t worry about it. You can say no. No to taking on more customers and no to yourself. If you need time to recuperate, do it, put an out of office on and tackle those emails tomorrow.
So last week my normal routine went out the window as my health was not so great and I had four cakes to make…oh and I broke up with my boyfriend. Something had to give. As I couldn’t extend the amount of time in the day I just had to let something slide and that was emails and marketing. The most important part for me was having rest and completing my client work. The marketing, promotion and reading/answering emails just had to wait. That may seem a little slovenly. But I am one person. And there is only so much one person can do.
I don’t believe anyone has the perfect work/life balance or time management strategy in place. But you must do what works for you. Choose the important aspects and use the above tips to put a clear structure in place.
I hope you have found these tips useful, let me know what you think.