Starting my own cake business has been quite an experience. I recently had a few moments to sit and think. That rarely happens. I started thinking about all of the learning curves I faced along the way. I love lists, so here are a few things that I wish I had known before starting. Don't worry...they aren't scary or life altering. Just some advice that I've stored in my mental rolodex to help a fellow newbie.
1. Owning a cake business is like having a newborn. You will lose sleep. You’ll spend many late nights nurturing your precious cakes. You many even get attached to a few. You’ll have dreams (or nightmares) about cakes and ideas. You will be an emotional wreck. Be prepared for that rollercoaster ride. Tears will be shed and curse words may fly. Your daily attire will be comfy clothes stained with food coloring, powdered sugar, and buttercream. Create a routine and do your best to stick to it. It will keep you from going insane.
2. You don’t have to invest tons of money in magic tools. There of lots of cool gizmos and gadgets on the market. Don’t feel like you have to buy them all to be an amazing cake artist. Get creative and use your imagination. A bolt (sterilized, of course) can make an amazing honeycomb pattern. I spent a few hundred bucks on a kickass cake cutting machine. Sadly, I never use it. NEVER use it.
3. Your husband, or spouse, will become your official/unofficial delivery person. Umm hmm. Trust me. You’ll tell yourself it won’t happen, but it will. They’ll probably get used to making the emergency run to the grocery store. They will eventually ask you how they started working for you. Just smile and feed them cake scraps!
4. Dare to be different. Don’t be afraid to go in the opposite direction of your competition. Just because they’re creating a certain style or charging a certain price doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. This does NOT mean to undercut the market. That’s just bad business. What I mean is don’t feel like you have to create similar cakes and only charge $3 per serving because everyone else is. Create your own style. Figure out your cost. Determine how much you want to pay yourself. Set your prices accordingly. Be a leader, not a follower.
5. Have fun. You started this business because there is something about it that you enjoy. Don’t ever lose that passion. Create cakes that you love and are true to your brand. It’s ok to say "NO" if you want to. Fill your portfolio with the style that you enjoy. Remove photos of those cakes that you created but just aren't interested in making. Your portfolio should be a reflection of you and your brand. You will get orders for the cakes you love to create!