Thriving Lessons: Choosing Between Fun and Money
This is cake show season, so many of you are busily putting together show pieces and nervously waiting to hear if you got a Gold or not. There are definitely some benefits to entering competitive cake shows. Because it’s not for a client, you can really push yourself creatively out of your comfort zone. You can test the boundaries of what you’re capable of, try some new techniques or dust off the cake toys you bought but never got around to using. Plus it’s just fun to play with cake with no pressure – it gives many of us the chance to get back to our happy place, before sending quotes and buying packaging in bulk sucked the life force out of us.
From a business point of view, show cakes can then become part of your portfolio you show to clients (please take decent photos!) and in some cases, participation can raise your local profile among people who value beautiful cake.
But – what happens when you’ve committed to doing a showpiece…and you have orders that same weekend? What happens if you block out your calendar to do something for fun, and something for money comes along? We’ve all had that happen to us, where we book a class for ourselves and five minutes later our best customer (the one who never questions the price, pays in full, and gives us free creative reign) wants to place an order for that same weekend. Or what if you’ve got a bit of money to spend- and your cake toy is on sale but you’ve also just run out of business cards? We have these kind of FUN v MONEY decisions come up all the time.
You can easily make arguments for doing one over the other, can’t you? In real life, both of those things are really important. I think at different times in our lives we need one more than the other, and personally I aim for everything I do to have both…but sometimes, you really are stuck choosing. So how do you choose, when you’re sitting on the fence? You really want to do that show piece…but you can’t say no to your favourite customer. You really want to buy that new cake toy…but you need to invest in new business cards.
In my opinion, too often in life we take the fun route, the easy route, the route which requires the least amount of perceived effort or pain or investment (be that emotional or financial.) Human nature is to avoid that which is hard or painful because…it’s hard or painful, or we THINK it will be. Makes perfect sense, right? While I understand this, in my experience every time I got comfortable with being UN-comfortable, that’s when amazing things happened and I started to feel and see a shift in my life and business.
So if I had two things I wanted to do, of equal importance – how would I choose between them?
- I’d do both if I could, even if it meant some short term discomfort or added cost. If all I had to do was start the showpiece a few weeks earlier, or pull a few all nighters, or plan on living off coffee for two weeks, I’d do it. If I had to buy business cards but desperately wanted the cake toy – I’d see if I could buy it elsewhere, or order fewer cards, or put one on a payment plan. I’d find ways under, over, around and through so that I could do both the things I wanted to do. I’d choose both.
- If I absolutely couldn’t do both because we have yet to figure out how to physically be in two places at once, I’d always choose the option with more to gain in the long term. I’d really weigh up the two things and think, “Which of these will I be benefitting from, 6 or 12 months from now?” Of course, you can’t always predict it but you can make some pretty good guesses. You’ll probably get more long term use out of business cards than you will yet another mold or cutter, the business class will be of benefit long after the 3D sculpting class, and so on. If you’ve ever been to a class with me, you might have heard me talk about “future Michelle” – she’s the Michelle who is really, really grateful for the decisions I made TODAY because they paid off massively in the longer term. When I have to choose, I almost always consider Future Michelle and what she’ll be grateful for.