Recently, I taught a webinar all about Time Management, specifically the methods I use to keep my business life and my family life a little more controlled. Since that webinar, I’ve been thinking a lot about time and how we spend it. In truth my thinking on this came about because my home life has changed, and my husband is now travelling for work weekly. My kids already have chores, but since this change I’ve asked them to step it up a little bit. Now each night after dinner, we work together to get the house, dishes and our lives in order for the next day. For a few days there I felt kinda guilty about this. It’s not as though I have some amazing social life each night so what’s the big deal if I do these things by myself and it takes a bit longer? The answer I came to was that sure, I could do it myself – but is that REALLY how I want to be spending my time? No way. I’d rather we worked together to get the job done faster. Then my time is free to spend how I choose, even if what I choose to do is play on my phone on the couch.
I then started thinking about this from a cake business perspective. A lot of people complain that they don’t get paid enough for their creations. They complain that it takes them hours and hours of work which people simply won’t pay for. They’re right in a way. People aren’t willing to pay hour for hour on most things – why should they pay more to you just because you’re slower than the lady down the road? My advice (the advice most people don’t want to hear) is that you’ve got to get FASTER on making cakes. SPEED UP those processes, become more efficient, outsource if you can. The math on this is pretty simple. When you’re spending less time, you’re making more money . First because it instantly makes your hourly rate higher. If you charged $20/hour for labour and allocated 1o hours, that’s $200 – but if it took you 5 hours, your hourly rate just became $40/hour. Looked at another way, when you allocate $200 of costs of a project to labour but only “spend” $100, you can allocate that $100 saved in labour to profit (which we all need more of.)
Time is money. ALWAYS.
Every time I tell people to move faster, they have one of two reactions. Either they agree and start to find ways they can make their time more efficient, or they get shitty at me and tell me that making cake is the fun part and they enjoy spending time on it. Honestly, I don’t disagree with that second part. Decorating IS fun. It’s what got us into business, right? Here’s the hard truth though. First, people simply will not pay you more because it took you 5 times as long to do something. Second, your decorating skills are not the thing which will keep you in business. And thirdly, every time you’re choosing to spend your time on one thing, you’re taking away time from something else.
I tend to look at almost everything from a business and financial perspective, which is why my first response to “people won’t pay me for every hour” is to tell you to learn to work faster because time is money. Aren’t we all in business to make some money? And then…I had this thought: what if working faster ISN’T just about the money?
Learning to move faster is also about YOUR TIME. Your FREEDOM. Your QUALITY OF LIFE.
Time to spend on other things which mean something to you, like hanging out with your kids or playing with your dog. Time to spend on marketing your business so you can stay in business. Time to spend sleeping, so you’re not so burned out and exhausted all the damn time. Time to rest your body because cake decorating is hell on our hands and our backs. Time to go on date nights with your husband, or watch a movie with your sister. Time to spend praying, eating, relaxing, learning a new skill – whatever, really, that you like to spend time on. When you learn to move faster, you don’t just make more money. YOU GET MORE TIME. And I don’t know a single person who does not need more time in their lives.
How do YOU want to spend your time? Decorating cake is how we want to spend some of our time, sure – but not to the degree you’re feeling burned out, resentful or losing your love or passion for it. I get so many emails which say “I have no life. It’s just work and cake and cake and work. I’m OVER IT,” but that same person will braggingly tell me it took them ten hours to ganache a single tier. TEN HOURS (not an exaggeration – I hear that number a lot.) When I suggest they outsource, hire, or learn move faster…I get… “but I LOVE making CAKE!” Hey, I love cake too, but I also love my family and my sleep.
We’ve all seen that meme which says, “Owning your own business is great, you get to choose which 18 hours a day you work,” and that’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about, in so far as you get TO CHOOSE how you spend your time. Look at the time you’re spending as precious because it IS. It’s finite. It never stretches any longer than 24 hours in a day. So if that’s all you get given, maybe it’s time to start thinking about how you’re spending it.
10 hours perfectly ganaching a single tier.
2 hours ganaching, 2 hours marketing, 2 hours sleeping, 4 hours watching a movie and having dinner with friends.
The choice is yours – but if I were you, I’d learn to move faster.
WAY more important stuff is waiting for you.