What’s your reward?

It’s Sunday, what are you up to today? Are you chilling out, seeing family, doing some exercise or are you working on an order?

I know for many of us cake business owners  for one reason or another we are based at home  but this doesn’t have to mean we are available 24/7.

In the early days of my business I would take calls at all hours, answer emails at all hours,work all hours then deliver whenever and all over. 

But then sometimes life just says whoa hang on a bit what are you doing????? you can’t continue at this pace try and slow it down a little.

Thoughts like this usually happen when im working non stop  but then what tends to happen when i take a break i become ill because I’m a little run down.

This was one of the reasons I gave up a coffee shop contract a couple of years ago the constant out of hours contact such as Bank holidays and texts at 11.30pm when they had realised they had run out of cake (again) it was a lovely compliment to know my cakes were selling but at what cost could I continue to be working like this? And just to add I was working full time too.

So I decided it simply had to stop and I had to take action and yep I stopped my coffee shop contact for the good of my health, my customers and my business.

You see I’ve noticed a trend lately and it’s not just cake businesses but in general we are all so busyyyy, busy with work, busy with family, busy building business,life is just busy, it’s the busy epidemic.

Image from: https://projecthappiness.com
So due to this busyness I’ve been reflecting on myself and  about all my sacrifices and things I’ve missed out on while building my little cakey empire . Well it’s hardly an empire but to me it is lol

So thinking about this and if you read one of my earlier post you will see I was calling this year (2017) the year of me, well so far it’s been anything but because I’m so you guessed it “busy”

But it’s now time for me to own it.

Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with being busy this proves that the business has customers who want to buy my cakes, but it’s how I manage it is what I needed to address and never more so than recently. 

 One Saturday while out having lunch with a friend we popped into a little shop, one of those shops that sells little unique gifts as well as little buddhas, incense, crystals that kind of thing, anyway we struck up a conversation with the owner about work life balance as he faced similar work life balance challenges and told me about the book 7 habits of highly effective people. We chatted about work being so busy and then he said to me

 ” there is nothing wrong with working hard and being busy but there has to be some kind of reward” 

and it really hit home to me, of course there does otherwise what’s the point of it all, I love what I do but I’ve got to be able to reward myself once in a while.

So while chatting to him I mooched around his gorgeous little shop and I bought this magnet plaque which really resonated with me, it was truly a ah ha moment.

It’s now got a prominent place in my kitchen to act as a gentle reminder that now and again I’m allowed to take it easy.

So with all this reflection what changes have I made to get some balance back.

  • Well one of the  things I’ve done recently was to reward myself  so I booked myself a Spa day at the gorgeous Hoar cross hall https://www.hoarcross.co.uk just me a book, and my fluffy bath robe,it was absolute heaven.
  • I automate my fb messages to give clear times of contact, I don’t reply to messages after 7pm (I’m usually working on orders anyway) on weekdays and Saturday’s and any Sunday queries are answered on a Monday.
  • I’ve scheduled in down time right upto September such as the bank holiday weekends and also blocked out fully booked months and listed this on my Facebook page to inform my customers. This was interesting as I immediately had customers book in orders around these dates.
  • I now have a different phone number for the business away from my personal number(something I’ve wanted to do for ages) My contact number isn’t on my business cards as for first contact I prefer email or for s potential customer to contact me via my website.
  • I’m trying to get back to other hobbies like salsa dancing, making time for regular exercise and trying to start meditating again.
  • I use scheduling apps such as hootsuite and use the scheduler on Facebook to schedule in social media post on days when I know I won’t be around to do them or for busier times.
  • I use the word NO and I don’t force things if I know it’s going to be difficult to achieve within a specific timescale, I don’t want quality to suffer and unduly stress myself out.
  • Trying to keep sundays a no bake day (for the business) I’ve seen some businesses such as Rachel’s Kitchen don’t deliver cupcakes on mondays so this means no baking on a Sunday, which I’ve decided is now my official day off.
  • I decided to no longer deliver cakes on a Monday, and deliver Tuesday- Saturdays if I’m honest I hardly deliver celebration cakes on mondays as for me my deliveries are usually later in the week.
  •  I have turned Mondays into my official admin day to work on quotes, ideas and update my website. So now on a monday it’s dedicated to working on the business instead of  in it.
  • I’ve been looking at https://www.17hats.com/ which has been recommended to me by another cake business to help me manage all the administration of the business which will save me some much needed time. 

So how do I feel about these changes?

I feel more organised,focused and assured that I’m clearly defining time to work and time to chill/play

So I know you are likely to be like me so what do you do that helps manage your time and worklife balance?,

And what do you like to do when your not baking up a storm?