In this episode of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30 Minutes with Workroom Tech, Ceil DiGuglielmo and Susan Woodcock talk about all the time workroom owners spend on the business side of their workroom career. This was a discussion topic tackled by the Workroom and Accountability Mentoring Group (WAM). There's a lot to learn!
You can listen to the podcast here: Episode 39
How much time do you spend in your workday taking care of the business side of your workroom? Ordering hardware and supplies? Working on quotes and invoicing? Marketing? Phone calls and emails?
Even in the workroom, there's things that are part of the job that you might not have accounted for such as packaging finished products or packing and loading for an installation. Do you account for that time or is it a time-eater? If you don't understand how much time a job truly is from start to finish, then you are not being paid for the whole job.
Susan shared that when making draperies, she adds a "workroom allowance" to the cut length to cover the unknowns like take up or straightening fabrics.
Consider adding a "business allowance" of extra time to your projects for the same reason.
Many workroom owners (and self employed people in general) save mornings and evenings for working on business tasks. Although this may be an ideal time to focus, it's important to remember that it is still time working, and those hours need to be added to the overall time when pricing projects and setting an hourly rate. Workroom owners struggle with time management every day. What works for one person might not work for another.
Here are some tips:
1) Plan one day a week for non-workroom tasks. This could be one full day, or in blocks of time during the week. Automatically adding this to your schedule will help with setting realistic turn-around times.
2) Set specific days for deliveries, installations, client meetings and other responsibilities that take you out of the workroom.
3) As you gain experience many of the business tasks go faster. Time yourself now and then in a few months to see if you are getting faster.
4) Use a system whether it's on paper or digital. Forms and procedures create consistency and save time.
5) Consider hiring a bookkeeper, accountant or assistant to help with your business.
6) Time yourself to see how long you spend on estimates, quotes, marketing, newsletters, and other non-workroom tasks.
6) Work on ways to blend business life and personal life in a way that is best for you and your family. Are you saving business tasks for the evenings?
Don't grind all the time. If you are working in the evenings, reward yourself
with some time off during the day. ~Susan Woodcock
There are different ways to time yourself. For some people it's a simple as writing down the time, or setting a timer. You can also use time app's. Ceil has learned that what works best for her is a digital time journal. She jots down what was accomplished in a set amount of time. This method is similar to writing down what you eat if you are on a diet... it helps you to become aware of the time you eat each day.
This podcast doesn't have the answer but hopefully it has raised awareness so that you can value all of your time. How are you allowing time for business tasks? Do you have realistic expectations for the time spent on your business outside of the workroom. We would love to hear from you.