The Time Factor
Tabby Kerwin co-directs her business Mode for…Events with husband Simon. Both professional musicians, Mode for…Events is an events company with a difference. It incorporates events, weddings, music, food and more. Every day is diverse, completely different and verging on the bonkers!
With such busy schedules and a diverse business portfolio plus home life and children to juggle, managing time brilliantly is the biggest asset Tabby and Simon have.
Here, Tabby shares with us her thoughts on how to manage time better and fit everything in.
The Time Factor
"Time: The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present and future regarded as a whole.”
That’s what the dictionary says about time…but in reality, for those of us with our own businesses, it’s often something we don’t have enough of, something we waste or something that passes us by.
So, how can we manage our time better and fit everything in? The key is in the word itself, “Time.”
Let’s look at each section…
As the owner of a business it’s amazing how much time we spend working ‘in’ our business and not ‘on’ it, and that’s the first thing we need to address in order to manage our time better and fit everything in.
The day I realised that I had to work on my business and not in it all the time was like a eureka moment and a giant weight lifting off me. Doing the things I needed to do was fine and necessary, but I needed to know I had a purpose and a direction. Luckily, I realised this very early on—however, implementing it was definitely not as easy as realising it!
Quite often you find yourself doing smaller jobs too just for a quick bit of cash flow, but this can be a mistake. The time you spend on not a huge return is distracting you from developing your business and taking-up valuable amounts of your time. Time is money and you have to remember this. Your expertise and skill is worth so much. Before now, I’ve jumped at the chance to do a music gig for £30 just to pay a bill, put fuel in my car or do a ‘value shop’ for the weekly essentials. However, this has meant around 4-6 hours out of the house, the use of all my expertise and years of training, fuel to get to the place I’m going leaving me with far, far less than minimum wage. Instead, those 6 hours working on my business could have equalled hundreds if not thousands of pounds in return. So the key is, think longer term. What is the big picture? What do you want to achieve in a year, five years, ten year? What are you doing now to achieve this?
This time 12 months ago, I fell foul of the same offence…. working in the business constantly. I had so much to do but wasn’t getting time to develop so I knew I had to bring someone in to work with me. Luckily, someone was truly looking down on me that day as, just at that moment I was sat slumped over my laptop thinking “I need a miracle,” the miracle arrived in a ping of an email from the lovely Abigayle who is now our full-time right hand lady. She’s a dream. Totally got our imaginative take on everything and was just a perfect fit to our ‘never say no and let’s have fun’ ethos. In the six months since she started it’s freed me up to spend more time on development. I’m not going to lie, it was tight suddenly paying a full-time wage to someone else and taking nothing yourself but sometimes that’s the hit you have to take as a business owner and if you instantly start working on developing the business again and thinking forward, this is only a short-term scenario.
Thinking forward and planning the direction of your business is really key because then you have a vision, you know where you’re heading. That’s not to say the direction of the journey won’t change all the time, but that’s half the fun! At least if you know what your plan and direction you can take action to make it happen.
Systems are key. Structure is your biggest friend! Now, whether you’re of the school of pen and paper or love the latest app, you need to start with a great diary and list-making facilities.
Be organised and write everything down. Organise your lists into long term-goals (yearly), medium-term goals (quarterly/monthly), short-term goals (weekly/daily). This will help you to be clear about what short term actions you need to be doing to achieve those long term goals. Break everything down and you’ll soon be crossing things off that list which will keep you disciplined, organised and motivated.
My most organised period, target and time-wise, was when I set myself a challenge. Mine was bringing an additional ‘X amount’ of turn-over for the various clients and businesses we work with (including our own and various event venues) in a 100-day period. I decided to aim big at £50k…yikes!!! But I wrote down 100 things that were going to help me do this and at least three ‘micro-steps’ that would help me achieve that thing, then every day I nailed these “micro-steps” and was flying. I nailed the target with bells on… so now I’ve upped the ante and increased my goal. Setting yourself a financial target that is achievable but inspirational is great to keep you motivated and focused. It also makes you question your daily actions, will this make me money? Will this help me achieve my goal?
Beyond the to-do list, diarise everything, share, delegate and collaborate as much as you need to keep on top of developing your business.
So often I see people struggle with their business because they’re afraid to be malleable. Being flexible, diverse and open to change is really important. That’s our philosophy and that’s what has led us to having a totally diverse business portfolio.
One day we could be performing as musicians in a huge concert hall, the next we could be planning a wedding for one of the fabulous venues we work with, the next we could be supplying musicians for England match days at Wembley Stadium in the morning before creating some floral and styling arrangements in the afternoon and in the evening peeling potatoes for a wedding we’re catering at the weekend… yes, our weeks are as diverse and bonkers as that.
So, with so much to fit in, Simon and I are never shy of saying “Right that’s not working, let’s change it.” Other questions we’ve asked to implement changes are “What skill set can we utilise for something new to do to bring in more revenue?” (that was how the Italian inspired food bits came in when we were sat in our Italian houseboat!), “How can we help someone out to make their business stronger and enhance our own at the same time?”, and this week’s question “How can I start doing what I love doing again rather than just working in the business?”. This is happily leading me back to extending into my skill set of years gone by in PR and journalism, and a little business re-jiggle will see us utilising these skills to help some friends, small businesses and musicians with their PR needs. Exciting times!
In short, never being afraid of change has kept our business fresh, diverse, fun and has allowed us to learn and develop every day. This is why we love our business and our life because we’ve implemented the changes, then immediately implemented the systems and structures to manage our time to allow it all to happen.
The final element is Enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. This is your business, your life, so you get to take control and be the mistress or master of your own time and destiny.
Have faith in your abilities, your business, your potential and make every day full of fun, variety and balance. Get your schedules and lists in place and then balance it with time to read a book, go for a walk, cook, pop to the gym or movies. Do what you love and love what you do.
We work so hard but Simon and I never refer to ourselves as having a job. “Having a job” sounds tiresome and I’d be bored, however, “working hard” to me sounds exciting and full of opportunity and potential and we totally make-up the rules! We make every day different and work when it suits us to make sure we manage everything we have to do in addition to everything we want to do. Balance!
Do you have any top tips of how to manage your time? Comment below and share them with our readers.
Article written by Tabby Kerwin, director of Mode for...Events