You love to bake. You make gorgeous cakes. Friends and family compete to be the first to Instagram your latest creations. Everyone tells you, "OMG! You should start a cake business from home!"
Should you? Ask yourself a few questions first.
1. Do you have the time?
Anyone who has ever baked, filled, frosted and decorated a cake knows it takes time. Loads of time. However you envision your cake business — as a fun part-time job, as a critical supplement to other income, as the first step towards opening your own bakery — first consider whether or not you have the bandwidth to take on an intense time commitment.
Operating a cake business will challenge you way beyond baking and decorating. Do you have the time to...
- Shop for ingredients
- Keep on top of your bookkeeping
- Develop and maintain a social media presence
- Manage your website
- Take classes
- Master new techniques
2. Do you have the space?
Sure, you have plenty of room in your kitchen to bake and decorate a few dozen cupcakes and a baby shower cake for a friend. But would you be able to manage that kind of order times two, four, ten?
After working in restaurants for years and owning and operating my own bakery, I can tell you I've seen magic happen in the teeniest kitchens. Don't let space limitations stop you, but do think realistically about the number of orders you can successfully handle.
3. Do you have the support?
Working from home may seem like a dream, but it has its pitfalls. Your house may now be your workplace, but for others in your life it's a place to chill out after work.
It's important to have an open and honest conversation with your husband, wife, partner or children before deciding to bring your work home. While you're building your cake business...
- Are you still on mommy/daddy duty, or will your significant other take the reins?
- Can others in the house hang with you in the kitchen, or is it off-limits?
- Will you have set working hours, or will you squeeze in projects as time permits?
4. Do you have the guts?
It takes a lot of courage to put yourself and your cakes out there for the world to judge. Criticism is inevitable. Having a plan for dealing with uncomfortable situations will help you stay on track.
Owning your own business can be super rewarding, but also very demanding. If you decide to do it, learning to navigate the highs and the lows is key — both for you and your work.
5. Do you have the resources?
Chances are, if you're at the point where you're contemplating starting your own cake business from home, you've already viewed a zillion online tutorials, blogs and classes on baking and decorating techniques. Those kind of resources are fun to seek out, watch and experiment with in your free time.
The resources I'm taking about are the ones you'll need to not just start a business but to stay in business. Building a successful cake business is a lot like building a beautiful cake. It's best to start with a solid and seamless foundation of business basics. Otherwise, you'll waste precious time and energy trying to cover, smooth, and fill the bumps and cracks caused by the things you needed to know, but didn't.