Day after Day Job, Part 5

Part 5: Falling through the cracks. Time management in theory and practice.


What are the greatest barriers between you and your new roasting business? There are certain to be some on your path to turning your hobby into a profession. The most common one is of course capital; the money to get started is usually the greatest stumbling block for any small business. But that said, I’m not going to spend too much time talking about it. You’ll find a way, I believe in you.


Where are you going to find the time to do what you need to do? Besides funding, time is sure to be one of the biggest transition factors in your new endeavor. In this particular scenario where we’re talking about what was once your hobby becoming your full-time job. . You may be thinking to yourself; I’m spending all my off-time roasting anyway, so now I’ll actually be making money while I do it. Well, unfortunately, very little of the time you’ll need for your new business will be spent roasting. This is why building a schedule for yourself is a must. You must be in the business of making time.


I’ll go ahead and admit to being not very good at this myself, but clearly blocking your time for your various tasks will make a tremendous difference in keeping your peace of mind. Keep your schedule sacred. You’re starting this business because you love roasting, so your roasting time must remain your roasting time. This is a good rule of thumb from a quality control perspective as well, but maintaining your focus on your roasts, while not answering emails or phone calls, will ensure that you still have that part of your day to do the thing you love.


In order to make this work, that means that you must also find time for the emails, phone calls, accounting, and quality control. Designate the time for each respectively. Give yourself what you think is necessary for each task, but budget wisely. An hour a day for emails at the beginning of the day is reasonable, and you can give yourself an hour later in the day as well. Emails are rabbit holes, especially to a new business; you are likely receiving and placing orders, or making new contacts, and before you know it your hour has turned to 2 or 3. Defining the time you spend here is crucial.


Juggling jobs makes it even more important to build a strict schedule. Your time budget has dramatically shrunk and your own personal capacities are stretched to their limit. This is the scenario where your production time suffers most, mostly because you’re forced to multi-task to fit it all in. I still urge you to keep your roasting time sacred, you may just have to reduce it. The prevailing argument is that you’re building the business until you get to the point where you can leave the other job; but sincerely, growth is nearly impossible during the juggling act and both jobs tend to suffer. Many people have two jobs, but their success at each is built on clear boundaries. It also very much depends on good help.


  •  -Christopher Schooley

    Christopher Schooley is a coffee roaster who works for Sweet Maria’s and our CoffeeShrub project, and has served as the chair of the Roasters Guild Executive Council and has worked for the SCAA. Earlier this year he is also founder of Trubadour Maltings Company.

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