Welcome to the Business of Baking. I'm so glad you're here! Every Tuesday I post something new, with a rainbow sprinkling of other posts through the week.  Please comment on posts that resonate with you, and become a part of the BoB community by signing up for the newsletter or joining us on social media. Happy Business Baking!

If 2015 is the year you start or grow your baking or cake business, I invite you to come along to the Business of Baking On Tour.

Gift Yourself

christmas_angel

Last year I did a Christmas gift giving guide of stuff I thought you should ask others to give you. I’m running a bit late because of all the excitement around re-launching the blog, and releasing the 30 Days of Awesome, so this year I’m going to do the same but with a twist -it’s my list of stuff I think you should buy for yourself instead of waiting around for someone else! After all, when’s the last time you bought yourself something? Aren’t you worth it? (and besides, a bunch of these are freebies, or yours with a very small donation to a good cause.)

MONEY STUFF:

Earlier this year I did Denise Duffield Thomas’s Money Bootcamp -and she has a bunch of really useful freebies, so this is a gift that costs you nothing at all.  You can check out her free class on pricing HERE.

My husband and I recently started using YNAB – You Need a Budget – and it’s pretty much transformed how we run our family finances, and made our household money management a heck of a lot easier. I truly can’t say enough good things about it. You can have 10% off of YNAB with this link.

If you have an online store (sell cake toppers, flowers, tools, silicone molds and so on) you might want to think about doing some affiliate marketing to push your business forward this coming year. A number of people use Share A Sale to do that – here’s more info.

CAKE STUFF:

We all know and love Craftsy’s classes, but did you know they have some FREE cake decorating classes you can take? More info right here.

Need some character toys as cake toppers, cake tins or candles to put on a cake? Birthday Express is one of my favourite online stores and they have FREE SHIPPING over $75. Check it out.

My friends Miranda and Andy created the only online class about iPhone photography for cake makers that I know of, and it’s kinda brilliant – here it is.

Helping Sweet Kate is a group of cake makers who donated a whole HEAP of tutorials in aid of Kate (AKA The Greedy Baker) a young mother who is fighting cancer.

Christmas in Frostington is another group of cake makers whose tutorial sales go to help several different charities.

Icing Smiles has a gorgeous calendar available, the sale of which helps them deliver cakes to ill kids and their families. You can get one in hardcover or via downloadable PDF.

 

gifts

FUN STUFF:

My favourite cookies. Of course.

My other favourite cookies

Sparkly Stuff!

When I’m not looking at cake pictures, I’m looking at videos about this type of art on Instagram (I’m a tad obsessed. It embarrasses my teenage daughters like you would not believe.)

Lastly, for the many of you who have asked me, YES, you can order the 30 Days of Awesome for your sister, a friend, or anyone else you think needs more awesome in their lives. Just use their email address instead of yours when you purchase (not for the PayPal bit) and you should be fine. Any problems, just send me an email and I’ll fix it up for you.

Happy Holidays with plenty of rainbow-sprinkles,

Michele

Where Am I Going With This?

Harry Potter Quote

This post comes straight from my heart. No editing (that’s how I know it’s going to be good. Stick with me. It might be long.)

Ever since I sold my cake shop a couple of months ago, I’ve felt a little lost.  Frankly, as much as I LOVE (and good Lord do I LOVE) not having to work on Saturdays, not needing to take ten Xanax before a delivery, and not worrying about grown up things like wages…it feels very weird not doing any of those things.  I’m not entirely sure where I fit in the world anymore. Cake makers are now my friends and not colleagues – so they don’t ask me about cake related stuff anymore.  It feels really weird to hang out with cake people, some of whom have NO IDEA that I’ve decorated cake for the last 23 years of my life.  I recently went a cake show where someone saw me doing a airbrush demo and she said, “I had no idea you knew how to make cake.” I answered a cake related question in a forum and got a similar reply. On the one hand, that’s AWESOME because it means my marketing is working! On the other, it’s a little strange. I now live on the fringes of a group I was once in the middle of.

Within the blogging community, I’m also a bit of an anomaly – I’m not a parenting, fashion, or travel blogger.  I am a business blogger, but in a super specific niche.  My blogging friends (and let’s be real, my family too) don’t really “get” what I do (although they are very supportive.)

Because I’ve felt a little adrift with where I’m at, I recently booked a session with a life coach. I wanted someone who knows nothing about cake or blogging (or me personally) to help me stop feeling so lost. Today I want to share with you some of the things we talked about (and stay with me. It’s relevant to you. I promise.)

Here are the concepts and ideas which came up when I told her all about my intentions for the blog and my business classes:

  • It has lots and lots of love behind it.
  • It’s backed up with solid, top shelf, realistic and useful advice and help.
  • It’s an experience, so you don’t just read it,  you feel part of a community.
  • You remember it long after you’ve read it.
  • I’m influencing people’s lives. Long after they have decorated their last cake, I want my readers to say, “I once read a blog post which said…” or “I once met this woman and she said….”
  • It’s authentic. The Michelle you read here or meet in real life is exactly as you might expect (all six-foot worth.)
  • It’s personal. For me AND for you.

Here’s the massive, hit-with-a-large-wooden-post-in-the-face moment about all those things: they are the EXACT same qualities I wanted my cake business to be (and it was.) Full of love. Backed by solid skills. High quality. Excellent customer service. Remembered long after the cake got eaten. Influencing in the long-term (I helped many people start businesses from the cake and business skills I taught them). Authentic, and above all very, very personal. My clients would often tell me their life stories. I wanted every client – and now every blog reader – to feel like I care about them BECAUSE I ACTUALLY DO. Even those of you who I’ve never met. It’s important to me that you feel ALL those qualities when you read this blog, watch one of my (wonderfully awkward) webinars, or read an article I wrote. Why? Because those are the qualities and values by which I define both my life and my work.

(more…)

Like A Cake Boss

likeaboss

Today, I want to talk about the realities of owning your own cake business.  We often see people in business and they make it look so easy, don’t they? Their pictures are all beautiful and basically it appears like they love every single minute of it. The good news is, that’s exactly what they should be portraying – because you as their customer don’t need or want to know that they struggle to pay rent, suck down anti-inflammatories by the bucket load, or that last week’s cake fell over in a blaze of glory or butter cream. The bad news is, we’re comparing ourselves to a carefully curated image of what we think it is to own a cake business.  I owned a cake business for ten years and I can tell you that while there are plenty of perfect pictures and I maintained a very happy-go-lucky exterior, the reality of it was that there were times I struggled to pay rent (in the beginning certainly), and I downed a lot of anti-inflammatories (thank you, dodgy back spasms) and that I had plenty of cakes that fell over (it feels as awful as you might think.) Every one of those things, from the perfect pictures to the cakes that fell over, were my responsibility to deal with. Why? Because I was the boss. (more…)