What is it like to have a soap making/teaching business?
Do you make soap all day?
It must be fun to make soap for a living?
We all love a behind the scenes, or is that just me who is the nosy one!!
Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to share my average week, the highs, lows and everything in between.
You may or may not know that I have 2 businesses, The Dog and I which is product based and The Soap Coach which is teaching based. At the time of writing we are still in lockdown here in the UK which does change my weekly dynamics somewhat but here goes. The routine does change from week to week so this is a snapshot of the last week 7 days as I am writing this on a Friday evening. Normally I would have a couple of days at my day job in this time line but I have had some time off this week - hooray! Inevitably however it means more time working on the business as I am not good at relaxing.
Saturday - Up to the workshop at a sensible time (via the post office for orders to be posted) I get the heating on and prep for todays online Zoom tutorial, it is a beginner group Zoom and starts at 10.30am. At 10.10am I am trying not to panic as my internet is not working. Yikes. After lots of faffing I switch everything off and on again and at 10.28am it works! I won't lie - I felt slightly sick until this moment!
12 noon workshop ends. A quick clean round then home to see the family and go for a dog walk.
Late afternoon/early evening - upload the recording from today and email everyone the link and send some further information that was requested during the Zoom. Post on social media, and spend a few minutes responding to others social media accounts.
Sunday - meant to be a day off but most Sundays I spend couple of hours doing admin in the evening, emails, social media, and ebook writing.
Monday - the day always starts with a quick email/social media check just to make sure I am not missing out on anything interesting and there are no major problems with anything. Parcel packing up first thing and then post office run. This morning I was also had 2 coaching calls booked in which took me up to lunchtime.
The afternoon saw me on a Zoom to my accountant about upcoming changes to the structure of the business, making up large paw balms, making up trade orders, answering emails etc. I always write and send a weekly email on Mondays to keep everyone updated about what is going on in The Soap Coach. General admin takes a lot of time, often just small things like reordering raw materials. Updating stock levels on the website etc. It always takes longer than I think it will.
Early evening tends to be my concentrating time when I focus on more difficult tasks, currently that is the writing of my 2nd ebook. The eBooks take hours and hours to write and at the moment I am trying to spend an hour each evening on it in a bid to make some progress.
Staff sleeping on the job as usual!!!
Tuesday - Today was a very bitty day - dog walks, order packing and posting, housework, I had to nip to the workshop for a collection to be made. I started labelling up some soaps that I made a few weeks ago, I am thinking that over the summer I will have a small retail display in the workshop for passers by who can't resist a quick smell on the way past. Prepped for tomorrows soap making day.
Admin, emails and evening ebook writing session.
Wednesday - a mammoth soap making day for me. I try and stick to one day a week but sometimes it rolls into two depending on how demand has been. I did 2 days last week so just 1 this week. These days consist of lots of weighing , making, cutting, cleaning up etc. They are full on and I am always shattered at the end of them. I managed to squeeze some photography today as well, some for the eBook and some for social media.
I have also completed packing up orders, the post office run, admin of all types (emails and social media). The day finishes with another hour and a half of eBook writing.
Thursday - I took a cheeky morning off this morning and met a friend for a socially distanced dog walk, followed by food shopping and the post office run, no rest for the wicked.
The afternoon was spent doing more admin, as a small business owner I wear a lot of hats which means spending a lot of time trying to work out how to do tech things quite frequently. This is a real drain on my time but I am not in a position to pay someone to help at the moment. I am pleased to say that I have now worked out how to edit video, change the aspect of it depending on what I am doing with it, I can take screenshots, add music etc etc. Other days I am often found watching You Tube videos about Facebook Ads, Instagram Reels or googling glitches I am having on the website or similar. It is pretty relentless in that respect if I am honest.
This evening I had a Zoom demo to carry out for one of my local WI groups so I was up at the workshop for 6.30pm to prep for a 7.30pm kick off. Back home just after 9pm. No eBook writing today.
Friday - Dog walk, post office run and breakfast parked on the beach (the perks of not having a 9 to 5 job) I try and have most of Friday off when I am not at the day job as otherwise I end up working every day. So today I didn't venture into my Dog and I work room until late this afternoon. Spent some time shifting lots of soap around, I currently have piles of it which needs labelling. My eldest is working through it - I normally have another teen helping too but with the lockdown and my day job being quite people orientated it does not feel right to be dropping things round to someone else's house every week so we are currently wading through it ourselves.
Friday evening - I spent an hour starting this blog post in a bid to get ahead of myself for Monday.
It is fair to say this is very much a snapshot of just one week, the routine varies greatly from one week to the next and of course will change again when life returns to some normality and the hands on workshops restart. Inevitably something will have to give at that stage, quite possibly these fortnightly blogs but I don't like to have plans set in stone too much so I will see how it pans out and take it from there.
Going back to the top of this email, no I don't spend all day making soap, far from it, the admin is by far the biggest part of the job, the hours can be long but I love it and I wouldn't have it any other way which brings me nicely to the job description of pretty much any small business owner!
Product designer and maker, teacher, admin officer, marketing manager, buyer, stock control, tech department, website designer and troubleshooter, camera person, mail person, social media manager, cleaner, packing person. I am sure there are more I could come up with but you get the idea :)