How to be more productive, with better time management skills. We have some hacks for you and your cake (sweet, cupcake, cookie) business. Productivity will improve and get you producing more in the same (or less) time!
We all have to start somewhere, right?! And usually, when we start, our productivity is a little low. A number of factors come into this – especially being a cake decorator, working from home.
Some of these may include:
- Learning curves
- Distractions & procrastination
- Not knowing how to multi-task
- Mishaps & cake-tastrophes
Believe me, I’ve been there. And truth be told, I still go there sometimes. For example, today I am procrastinating from my excel spreadsheet bookwork, and writing this guest blog instead. But… I’m still being productive.
Commence the tips…
I thought I would touch quickly on some tips of how I came about to rise above some of these factors. They may or may not work for you, or you may need to simply ‘tweak’ a little to suit your life and your business.
Tips on How to Improve Productivity in Your Cake Business
We all need to learn to get better. And while learning, it may take us a little longer to complete our tasks. My tips for being more productive while learning a new skill, or learning to price etc. are as follows:
- Be a one-track mind.
While learning, have only this one task on your mind. The more you are distracted, the longer it will take you to actually take in the information you are needing to process. You are more likely to remember and achieve your goals if you focus on them wholeheartedly the first few times.
- Talk to / follow a ‘pro’.
There are so many people out there willing to give out free information that you can use to implement in your business. Take a look at YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest, for example. Simply asking for a sample, guide or link may be your lifesaver.
- Adapt to suit you.
While I recommend following a ‘pro’, you always need to keep in mind that you need to adapt to suit you. For example – use Rebekah’s Pricing Guideas a starting point, but adapt the information (costs and servings) to suit your own business. This way you still have a handy guide for reference, but updated and adapted to suit you.
MOTIVATION, DISTRACTION & PROCRASTINATION
These are BIGGIES, aren’t they? Motivation! Distraction! Procrastination!
Working for yourself, and in your home setting can definitely bring about all of the above. Kids running around, school runs, the thought of fitting in some extra washing, doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping… you name it… there’s a distraction just around the corner. With a distraction, comes procrastination… and then a lack of motivation. Vicious cycle. Here are some ways I avoid this:
- Schedule, schedule, schedule
It’s common sense really. Set your business hours. When you KNOW you can work and spend time IN and ON your business. Then schedule your days to suit this. Schedule your personal appointments outside of business hours if possible.
- Think ahead for time savers. Examples:
Do your personal groceries at the same time as your business groceries.
Do bank runs just before and on the way to school pickups.
Pack the washing machine of a night time and set ‘delay’ for it to be a ready first thing in the morning to hang out… Before you start work.
Make your list for the cake shop, the grocery store, the packaging place, the bank, and anything else at the start of the week, and spend one day going from one place to the next in one big time slot.
- Do something else productive in place of procrastination
Like I am now… writing a blog, instead of bookwork. Clean your oven, instead of Facebook scheduling. Fold cake boxes while watching a TV show, instead of tidying your inbox. Reply to emails and Facebook messages, instead of the dishes. Whatever it is. Just remember, you DO NEED to do whatever it is you are procrastinating. But rather than doing NOTHING – do SOMETHING else productive within your business.
- Set yourself rewards
Getting motivated is a tad hard sometimes. Especially if you are just starting out and not getting enough orders. I find that setting yourself rewards for hitting certain milestones can really be a great motivator. For example, you could treat yourself to a massage after you get your 50th You could buy yourself a new outfit for hitting $5,000.00. You could give yourself a holiday after that super busy week with 20 orders.
I guess this will differ for many. But here are some of the ways I multitask in my business.
- While cakes are baking:
Edit my photos an upload
Make cake toppers
Schedule Facebook business posts
Anything on the computer really that needs tending too. Cakes take a long time to bake, and rather than sitting on your bum… get some action done!
- While decorating:
Make phone calls and have business conversations/phone meeting on loudspeaker
Mix business with pleasure – invite a friend for coffee at times when you know you can decorate and talk at the same time
Watch/listen to business-related information or tutorials on your TV, or podcasts on your phone.
Give the kids some fondant as ‘playdough’ and let them create, while you create – quality time.
- While online and on the computer:
If you are online, making orders for custom cookie cutters etc – check to see if you need more packaging and business cards. Do your ordering all at once.
Check all of your messages, email, and inboxes at the start of your workday, and ask for all the relevant information needed for you to help them. Reply to everything at the end of your workday. This gives people time to reply to you.
MISHAPS & CAKE-TASTROPHES
I can’t actually give much advice on this one. They happen. They really do. And it sucks. The small amount of advice I do have to give is the following:
- Be prepared
You can bake a cake and decorate in advance (using the 4-day cake rule). For example, I bake on a Tuesday / Wednesday and cover the day after. Other details get added on throughout the week. Even if not due until Saturday. This way I can make sure it is baked correctly, and if I hit any mishaps or distractions along the way, I have time to re-bake and cover and decorate if needed.
- Have a schedule
Again with the schedule… just do it. I guarantee it will help you. Not all of your orders for the week, and write them on a daily planner or weekly planner, in steps so you know what you have to do and when.
- Have a contingency plan
If you get too sick, or injure yourself, have backup. Make sure that you have the means to contact and refund the customer with as much notice as possible, or have contacts in your community to be able to reach out for help from other cakers.
- Practice, practice, practice
The more you practice, the less likely a mishap.
Most of the above are common sense really. But sometimes it doesn’t seem common until it’s put in your face. I hope after reading the above, that you have taken AT LEAST one piece of advice that you can implement to help you in your cake business journey and helping your productivity.
–Pin It For Later!!
HAPPY CAKE DAYS!!!
Written by Krystle Armstrong from Magnificent Mouthfuls Cupcakes & Catering Townsville
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