Here’s some more inspiration for you on this wet Wednesday, if you’re thinking of a career change for 2011.
Today’s blog is from Jenny at Nom Nom, another new cupcake businesses who has had a helping hand from our Cupcake Business Workshops. Jenny is so lovely and kind, her blog made me a bit over emotional!
After losing my marketing job in May 2010 I fell into cupcakes when a lovely (and very trusting) friend asked me to do her wedding cupcakes. Apart from knowing I didn’t want to go into another dead-end job I had no clue where to go from here, just that it would be a dream of mine (and most peoples’) to make a living doing something I really enjoyed. With the faint hope that I’d go self-employed, and the unbelievable support from my family, I went on a brilliant Business Link course and booked into one of Sarah’s cupcake decorating workshops, on the recommendation of another lovely friend. I muddled my way through finding out all the necessary procedures and taking the steps you need to make cakes from home (often finding out I’d missed something along the way). I spent so much time baking and buying unnecessary things, while trying to please every man and his dog with any number of cakes they desired and whenever they desired them, at discounted prices. By the time I got round to the cupcake decorating workshop I thought I may be told a lot of things I already knew how to do. How wrong I was! The amount of tips and tricks I find myself using that Sarah taught us every time I bake is ridiculous, and what an improvement!
After this I remembered the legendary words of Bob Howard at Business Link… “If you find someone doing what you do really well, copy them and everything they do, and if they offer you advice, snatch their hand off” And that is the most brilliant thing about Sarah and Blue Door Bakery. They are the best at what they do and you don’t need to copy them, or snatch their hand off. They willingly offer you precious and invaluable information about starting your own business at the touch of a button! So I immediately booked onto the business workshop…
At the workshop there were 7 of us, all at different stages of starting our own business in cakes and cupcakes, and all from different areas (some miles away – a testament to the quality!). Sarah very clearly went through how to get started (Dear Lord, this would’ve been helpful a few months previous), taking us through creating a business plan (Bob would be proud), finances and information on registering/courses. She answered all questions asked and could pass for a career advisor with the knowledge she has acquired from somewhere. Then we went on to all areas of advertising and marketing through to suppliers and target market.
For me, it was worth every penny and more despite the fact that I’d gone through a lot of the legal bits and bobs. It opened my eyes to so many areas I’d been going wrong, or needed to tweak, as well as showing me what and how to offer, to best represent the service I WANT to provide, rather than what I think people want. It’s made me approach the business in a completely different way and shown me how to get the best out of my business and that you need to change things that aren’t working, not cling to them because you like them. Whenever I feel it’s too difficult and I’m not sure I can make it work I think of how quickly Sarah has built up her business and how successful she is. Then take out my workshop notes and think about what I need to work on. And Sarah is always willing to offer further advice, I do sometimes wonder how she stays so calm and polite with everyone.
I’m still in the early stages but I’d go as far as saying I think the workshop has stopped me dwindling in them for the next year, and possibly even giving up through not knowing which direction to head in. It’s such a viable business and people want cupcakes so you can do it!
If you haven’t worked it out by now, I’d recommend this workshop to anyone who has a slight inkling that they may like to make cupcakes for a living, or even for a little extra alongside another job. Even with the varied stages of people in the workshop, every question was answered and speaking to others in similar situation is priceless. It’s unbelievable how differently people go about things, and so helpful to see things from a completely different perspective in terms of seeing your business as it appears to others. Sarah is so professional and confident in her work that its infectious, you will leave feeling like you can make this work and it’s not a million miles away.
When I started out I just wanted to make the tastiest cupcakes and perfect every single one, regardless of how long it took me. I’m still very new to it and trying to find my U.S.P. (YUK marketing past!). But the thing that really floats my boat is contributing to someone’s big day; being asked to make a very important part of (what some consider) the most important day of a girl’s life. I adore baking and making things look pretty, so this is the heart of what I do, add this to a real desire to produce something that makes someone’s wedding day that bit more spectacular (along with a huge whack of perfectionism), and you have what I’m trying to achieve with Nom Nom. It means a lot to me that people trust me to do this and if I can make a living out of combining my love for baking with making people happy, you have a life-long very happy Jenny May. I don’t just make cupcakes, I ONLY make cupcakes I think people will absolutely adore and enjoy, and I intend to do so for a very long time.
Thanks so much Jenny, so pleased you loved it. More blogs to follow! x