Monday, October 8, 2012

Business Monday: Don't Overschedule Yourself

Not overscheduling yourself is the most important thing that a home-based business owner can do, and is also the most difficult. It's too tempting to take every job that comes along, but that's a good way to ruin yourself.

Last weekend was the weekend that I had been dreading for months. I had waaaaay overscheduled myself in terms of how many cakes I had to do, and it was spread over the entire weekend, so I wasn't going to get a break for the full week of prep and delivery. Plus, it was my birthday, and it was a heck of a way to spend it.

So now that I'm suffering from sore back , sore feet and a headache, I thought it would be a good time to write about this.

This time of year is when I start hating my job, because it's getting toward the end of the wedding season. I reevaluate my desire to even do cakes at all, and I start scheduling appointments with my physical therapist.

In January, though, it's a different story. That's the time of year that things have been quiet for a while, so people start to think that they're doing something to repel customers. They start to think that they need to book all the business they can, because it's been so dead. So they do take everything that comes along, then at the end of October, when they're feeling the results of that, they hate cakes again.

In order to put a stop to this, you need to learn to say "no." No, I'm booked, I can't do that. No, I can't fit any more cakes into my schedule for that day. No, I'm not available that week.

"No" seems to be the most difficult word to utter, so practice it in front of a mirror or anywhere you need to. Send yourself emails where you practice writing out polite replies to people asking for cakes. Practice with a friend where they REALLY whine and moan about how they HAVE to have you make the cake for them even though you already have ten cakes scheduled and a family reunion the same weekend.

Remember that the business will be there if your product is good, so don't shake with fear when you hit the "send" button to tell someone that you can't do the cake they need.

Just remember that if you do that extra cake on top of the other ones you have, you might be using the profits from it to pay the physical therapist, so what's the point?

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA


Ruth G. said...

I've certainly learned this the hard way, and it's particularly difficult when the money is attractive (or really needed). I hope by January you love cakes again, because you make beautiful ones.

Ruth G. said...
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Eva Farragher said...

Yes, I have learned this the hard way. Early last year, I said "No" to pulling all-nighters ever again. I am, very diligently, trying to keep this job to a standard working hours gig. Even then, there are so many extra hours spent taking calls, putting together quotes, and posting pictures/maintaining website and FB etc etc, its still working wayyy more hours than I would be in a regular job. Which is ironic as I wanted to do this because I wanted to control my workload!
I routinely turn down more business than I take on, and it seems to be counter-intuitive, but the fact of the matter is you need to maintain your sanity, outside interests, sports, hobbies and family commitments. And most importantly, your health. Add in running a household with two tween that have a more active social life than I do and I am way too busy for my own good :-)
My resolution for the new year will be to only take on dessert wedding cakes (not small tea/coffee portion ones), and celebration cakes that interest me.

- Eva

ChatterBlossom said...

Very good advice!