When you start to make your name for yourself in the cake industry, you suddenly get a whole lot of requests to start working for others. This might be requests like your local kindergarten asking you to do a short class for their kids, a cake supply company asking you to do a video demonstrating their products, or a bigger company asking you to create pdf tutorials for them. When it’s a fairly simple request (like the kindy demo) it’s an easy one to figure out – they (hopefully) pay you, you go and do it, end story. When it’s something a little more ongoing like classes which will run several times or digital products like tutorials, the decision making gets a little more complicated.
As with all business decisions, step one would be to check in with your business purpose – if doing that work for someone else doesn’t meet your purpose, don’t do it. As an example, if the purpose of your business is to earn some pocket money and have some fun, then the kindy activity would be great for you. If however your purpose is to create an international brand and you totally hate kids anyway, there’s be no real point unless you just did it because your kid guilted you into it.
If it fits with your business purpose, then you need to think about the money side of it – and ask yourself a few things:
- Could I do this activity for myself or my own business? (For example: Can I record my own videos, create my own tutorial, do I have space to teach?)
- Do I WANT to do this activity for myself or my own business? (For example: Am I even interested in doing these myself? Or is this something I would rather someone else took care of.)
- What are the benefits to doing it for someone else? (For example: Do they have a bigger audience? Would this help me reach that audience? Could I sell more product by partnering with them?)
- What are the cons to doing this for someone else? (For example: Will I be limiting my earning potential because I only get a percentage rather than the full amount? Will I own the intellectual property of this product or will they?)
Personally I’ve found some real benefits to working for others – mostly in terms of audience reach more than earning potential. When you are creating and owning a product like a tutorial, you keep every dollar you make HOWEVER you’ll need to work harder to market that product and reach an audience. If you work for others to create a product, you potentially limit your earning but have much less effort on the marketing (not NO EFFORT. Just less.) because you get immediate access to their audience as well.
There are other options to working for others too – for example, you might choose to do some classes for others and some for yourself. You might choose to do certain styles of work for others and keep some styles for yourself. You can also do things like create a tutorial, sell it on your website AND offer it to others to list for a percentage so it’s on more than one platform. In all cases, it’s vitally important to have a contract, READ the contract, and be very clear about who owns the content of what you’ve created (and how the money gets apportioned) BEFORE going ahead.
While I like working with other companies and personalities and will happily do it for both love AND money, there are upsides and downsides to doing so. Choose your collaborations carefully, not based on a fear of missing out, and as always remember: it’s your business, so that means the power of choice is YOURS no matter how much they are pressuring you or other people think you’d make a fortune out of it.