Tuesday, May 19, 2020

My Pattern Design Business Experience - Part Four!

Welcome back to my blog series on starting and running a quilt pattern business. If you have missed any of this series, be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Last week, I talked about the commitment to starting a business. First, I hit a little upon the research that should be done before starting, then the financial and time commitments that may be required. This week I want to focus on what my average day looks like and the type of work I am doing.

Now to start with, not every day is the same; it depends on what projects I have going on and what stage any given pattern is in. However, there are a lot of things that require my attention every day, which allows me to keep to a reasonably similar schedule every day.

On most days, I try to get up between 6:00 and 6:30 am. Anna, one of my dogs, usually is my alarm clock because she is generally getting restless by then. Now, the first thing I do is get myself up and on the treadmill for my morning run. The treadmill is new to my house. Before that, I would try to get up even earlier and head to the gym for my exercise. However, that did not always work out, and that is a story that does not belong as part of this blog. Anyway, I find that running first thing in the morning wakes me up and clears my mind for the day’s activity.

After my morning workout, I am on my computer for at least the next several hours. This time is spent handling the business side of things, answering any emails, filling any orders, and anything else that needs my attention. I use this time also to focus on developing social media presents. 

After taking care of the business side of things, it is time to get to work. Of course, work for me is creating quilt patterns. That does not mean that I go straight into the design studio and start sewing quilts.
My days can vary depending on where I am in a specific project. Yes, some days, I will go into my studio and start sewing to work on a display quilt. Typically, I spend most of the first half of the day working on the computer writing pattern instructions, figuring out cutting charts, creating graphics for the patterns. I also work on any other elements that will go into the finished quilt pattern. If I was to take a guess, I only spend about 20% of my time sewing and making quilts. The rest of the time is spent on the computer.

Typically around 5:00 pm or so, my husband will text me saying that he is on the bus heading home from work. This is a 90+ minute commute depending on traffic, so I usually continue working for at least a little while depending on the project, then go and relax for a while until he gets home. Dinner is often a simple affair, and my husband enjoys cooking, so I usually leave that to him. Then after dinner, we both relax on the couch and binge-watch whatever current TV series or sporting event catches our attention. It is usually about this time I either pull out a quilt that needs the binding completed or my laptop and continues work on pattern development. This lasts until bed.

On the weekends, the schedule is not much different, besides a little house cleaning, food shopping, and general chores that need to be done to keep a house functioning. Of course, on the weekends, my husband is usually home and tries to help out where he can with varying levels of success. All told, I typically devote several hours on Saturdays and Sundays working just to say on top of everything and keep to the schedules I have set for myself.

Now, if I were to add up my hours for an average week, I would average anywhere between 10 to 12 hours a day—an additional 7 to 8 hours a day on the weekends. This adds up to an average workweek of 64 to 76 hours a week. Sometimes even more, but rarely less.

Now, again this works well for me and my current lifestyle. Everyone needs to take a close look at their lifestyles and determine what would work best for them. I have heard of people that run a small business from their homes set fixed work hours to keep the business from takeover their lives. They will only start working at a set time in the morning and will quit at a set time at night. Outside of those hours, they will not read emails or accept phone calls related to the business. There will always be more tasks that need to be done than time to do them. That is where good time management comes in. There are thousands of references devoted to time management in the bookstores and on-line, so I will not get into the details. The only thing I will highlight is that it is up to you to decide to set your hours and how much time you spend working. So give it some thought, because if you don’t, you may find your business taking over your life.

Well, that is all for this week. Join me next week to cover one of the unexpected benefits of running a business.

See you next Tuesday,

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