Monday, April 12, 2010

Supporting Other Small Businesses: What is your time worth?

Photo by Janine King Designs, and is linked to her shop.

I bought an iPad, oh yes I did. And yes, I love it so. I have left the "sent from my iPad" signature on my emails. I'll leave it there a while longer--I'm still a little giddy.

When I bought it, the dude asked me if I wanted to buy a protective case for it. I told him no, saying, "I'm going to make my own."

Well, what's my time worth? Yes, I wanted to make my own. Yes, I have the skill to make my own. I have the zipper. I have the fabric. I even have batting fabric to make it quilted.

What I don't have right now is time. I am preparing furiously for my participation in the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild national conference at the end of this month. Specifically, I'm writing my third book, which will be finished in time to have it published for the conference. I must also order a banner for my vendor table. (Note to self: Shit. This needs to be done today.) I'm ordering postcards for the participants as well.

Lard, don't get me started on my To Do list.

My point? If I don't have time to make the protective case, then I should just buy one. So I did. I bought the one featured in the photo. It should arrive next week. And I feel great about it. I've supported a small business, and achieved what I wanted. It's just that I didn't do it myself.

If you are anything like me, you need to get over the "I can do it myself" mentality. Yes, you can do it yourself. But should you?

What is your time worth?


  1. This is my worst habit. I'll go shopping with my daughter and she'll see something she wants, and I'm always like...."but we can make it so much cheaper and nicer." Does it ever get done? Sometimes but not usually....:( Oh Bother....

  2. You know, since making my crafts and selling on etsy, my little ole mind is constantly in overdrive trying to find new ways to save money. But it makes one wonder if saving all that money is worth all the time I spend trying to save money! See how my mind works?

  3. You can always get more money. Not saying it's easy -- I _wish_ I had the ever-blooming Money Tree -- but it's _possible_ to get more money.

    You can never get more _time_ than you have.

    So...yeah. Finding the balance is a Good thing.

    (Of course I still look at things and plan how to make my own, that'll be Even Better...)

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  5. Anonymous9:55 AM

    This article makes a good point on what is your time worth, but what about "What is your relationship worth...?" I am constantly having to make 'purchasing' vs 'making it myself' decisions based on the current level of household tension. Am I the only one with this particular challenge?

  6. I definitely struggle with this one too. I very rarely buy handmade things from others and have an idea list ten miles long. In addition to knitting, sewing and handsewing, not to mention doll making, I even make my own soap and tea, LOL. And I have 2 small children. My time with my children especially is worth a lot but I really enjoy crafting so I just do what I can in the time I can find. No magical answers here, just glad to know I'm in good company I guess!

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  8. Heather, we are do-it-yourselfers in our household, as well. I make soap, lotion, lip balm, etc. to sell ( so of course I make these things for ourselves, too. I bake bread, my husband makes his own beer. I'm considering getting backyard chickens.

    Maybe not! I need to finish my book. I've got two weeks to do it, and a rainy Saturday coming up. I think this weekend might do it for me.

  9. Anonymous8:18 AM

    Amen to that! I think it's an ongoing personal challenge to ask yourself, "Can I make that" - with the full intention of following through, if the answer is "yes". But more times that not (hello, holidays!), I've regretted it during and sometimes at the end of my self-inflicted creative process. Love this post! And good for you for picking an independent artist. I agree that that accomplishes your intent!

  10. I've been pushing myself to make more of the goods I consume, partially to save money and partially out of growing concerns about the conditions under which a lot of commercially manufactured goods are made, but my good intentions always seem to collide with my inner sloth, and through the power in inertia, the sloth prevails. And that's before I even start asking myself if it's really worth spending hours of my time to save a few dollars. But I want to keep trying, I'm sure I'll find a good balance one of these days.

  11. Anonymous1:29 PM

    As they say time is money. As someone who grew up with a mother, who made most of my clothing, I have always felt that I had to sew the curtains, refinish the patio, paint the whatever, myself.

    Now, I have given "myself" permission to hire talented people to do the tasks that leave me crankier than happier. I also have more time and energy to design, make and market my jewelry.

  12. All about time management - and I'm terrible at it. I always get caught in the trap of knowing I can do it myself. Don't always think about whether I should... great post!

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