Home Baking Businesses are incredibly fascinating and they come in ALL shapes and sizes! I’ve had my own successful Home Baking Business for 5 years now and I’ve loved pretty much every second of it. Every job (whether you work for yourself or not) has its ups and downs, but I’m SO exceedingly grateful for my little Home Bakery!
*All photos of my bakes by Alice Swan Photography
Over the last year in particular, I’ve realized that so many passionate bakers have talent, but they don’t pursue their passion/dream of having a FULL TIME Home Bakery because of FEAR. Fear that they don’t have the “required” specific skill set it takes to have a successful Home Baking Business.
A skill set that has FALSELY become synonymous with the term “Home Baking Business”. These are nothing but MYTHS.
These Myths Are:
- You need to have studied formal pastry/chef/baking courses at an institution.
- You need to have studied some kind of entrepreneurship/business courses at an institution.
- Being a master at Fondant work, gum-paste details and sugar art is ESSENTIAL. Being a master at creating detailed designs to match whatever theme a client wants is ESSENTIAL.
- And then also this belief that you need heaps of capital for expensive kitchen equipment, branding, packaging, advertising etc.
I’ve grown SO deeply frustrated with these beliefs, because they really are TOTALLY false. Today I’m hoping to expose these myths once and for all.
Without becoming to feisty.
I’ll try my best.
But I might fail at diplomacy here.
The reason WHY I want to expose these myths is because I keep coming across amazing, passionate, GIFTED Home Bakers that are actually very unhappy – for various reasons. And they often lack confidence because they don’t fit the brief listed above.
It breaks my heart, because they don’t need to feel this way.
There’s another way!
BUT FIRST, let’s start by breaking down the myths. Sound good?
MYTH # 1: You need to study formal pastry/chef courses for your Home Baked products to be “GOOD enough” to Sell
There’s this old mind-set still hanging around in society that makes life and growth quite difficult. It’s the belief you need to formally study and have some kind of qualification before you can work in a certain field.
Over time, some new shortcuts have been created (like short courses) which aim to condense your learning experience into a shorter span of time. Although I love the idea that you don’t need to put aside YEARS for these courses, they still have major flaws.
I’ve wanted to do a thorough course in Pastry for 5 years now. Unfortunately, all the options would require of me to set aside a minimum of 6 months to complete the course. 6 Months of FULL TIME study. This means no work and no income plus a mild expense of $ 5000. How is this sustainable or even possible?
My friends, this is a different time. The online world has opened up doors for all of us to learn almost any skill and excel at it. You don’t need to study a formal, expensive course for your Home Baking Business to succeed. AT ALL.
If a cake tastes amazing and rocks your world, then no one cares if the baker has a qualification or not! You can learn and grow into the BEST baker you can possibly be without any formal training. I’ve developed 5 FUN weekly habits over time that keep me sharp and constantly evolving as a Home Baker.
These 5 Weekly Habits Include:
Watching an inspirational dessert show. Shows like Unique Sweets, Great British Bake Off, Zumbo’s Just Desserts etc. NOT decorating shows. Watch shows that focus on flavour! I always keep a notebook handy to write down which new flavour combinations I’ve learned, which new techniques I’ve learned and how I could implement them in a bake I’m comfortable with – like brownies.
Conquer something technical that has EPIC flavour (typically spaced out over a month, with research on the specific bake every week). Perfect Baked Cheesecake, Flawless Cupcakes, Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie… these are all very technical desserts, yet I’ve managed to master them through extensive ONLINE RESEARCH and then practicing baking them. It’s all you need. Really.
Eat something that gives you a YUM-high! Hard Work, right? 😉 Eating YUM-high food/treats is essential to keeping your flavour edge sharp in your baking. Eat something every week that inspires you! It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Get to that baked thingy that everyone in your town/city is talking about!
Follow GREAT bakers (not decorators) online. You will learn something NEW every time. I still do.
Use seasonal ingredients for inspiration. Fresh, seasonal ingredients can inspire you to create bakes you’ve never tried before. Search online to see what other herbs/spices/nuts go with that seasonal vegetable or fruit.
These habits have grown me into the baker I am today without ever needing to pay a cent for training. I’ve explained the core concept of each habit, because I don’t want to be stingy, but if you want to, you can download the full, free, 5 page guide in my Free Resource Library. I'm confident that you will benefit from it tremendously!
Another super effective strategy to Grow as a Baker (for free) is to volunteer at any restaurant/eatery/bakery/suppliers that do anything related to baking. This includes breads, pizzas, doughnuts, pastry, cakes, etc.! You get to learn, hands on, on a schedule that works for you. Since you are volunteering and providing them with free labour, they can’t exactly make demands on your time. I recommend doing weekends or like every second weekend.
This way the restaurant/bakery gets FREE extra labour and you learn for FREE – TOTAL win-win!!
I’ve explained the basics without being cryptic, but if you want to read more on this strategy of mine you can download my full guide from the Free Resource Library.
MYTH #1 BUSTED!!
MYTH #2: You need to formally study business/entrepreneurship for your Home Baking Business to be successful
Once again, my friends, this is a different time. The online world has opened up doors for all of us to learn almost any skill and excel at it. You don’t need to study a formal, expensive course in business for your Home Baking Business to succeed. AT ALL.
The web is absolutely TEEMING with online entrepreneur & business coaches who are giving away a WEALTH of info – for FREE. I’ve learned all I need to from these peeps. Their free stuff has made me a savvy entrepreneur with a successful Home Baking Business even though they never speak about baking.
If you have a little bit of money to spend on this, it will definitely help though. I HIGHLY recommend “The $100 start up” by Chris Guillebeau. I’m NOT being paid to say this or anything. This book has genuinely smashed my concepts of business and redefined my home baking business’s focus. It’s really inexpensive and amazing.
So yes, it’s paramount that you learn about business and entrepreneurship, but you don’t need to do a formal, expensive course at a university or institution.
MYTH #2 BUSTED!!
Myth #3: You need to be a master at fondant, sugar art and themed designs for your home baking business to succeed.
Now this is where I get very VERY feisty.
As any “normal” baking nerd would do, I’m part of a few Baking facebook groups. On these groups you typically see folks posting these AMAZING wedding cakes with mountains of fondant work, sugar flowers and modelling chocolate details… They are works of art.
One day I posted a photo in the one group of the types of cakes I do. A rustic, purist, cleanly presented carrot cake. This
Carrot Cake has generated $3000+ in sales for my home bakery business. I asked in the group if anyone does cakes like these because everyone’s work seems so “wedding-cakey” or “themed”.
Everyone’s responses SHOCKED ME.
Here’s what the fellow Home Bakers said on the group:
“I love baking cakes like yours for myself, my friends and family. But in order to make a living from baking I have to make fondant cakes.”
“LOVE these kinds of cakes, but fondant cakes are what customers want, so that’s what I do most of the time.”
My heart sank!
Is this is truly what most Home Baking Business owners believe??…
It does not have to be this way. I would just curl up in despair if the only way to make a living off baking was to make fondant, themed cakes.
In general, ANY creative enjoys creating something that THEY actually want to buy themselves. As soon as you start just creating for “whatever anyone wants”, you quickly get frustrated, bored and burned out.
“In order to make a living from baking I have to make fondant cakes…” But it’s not what she enjoys doing at all. She feels she HAS to do it.
TRUTH IS that there’s a WHOLE other market today that is into QUALITY and FLAVOUR. This is what I’ve found out over the last 5 years of building my own Home Baking Business.
FLAVOUR and QUALITY (taste) create more concrete memories than sight. It’s been scientifically proven. When more of your senses are involved in an experience, a more solid memory and rich the whole experience.
If you eat a cake with an awful flavour (includes smell) and texture, the only sense that the memory can stand on is SIGHT. SIGHT does not create a very solid memory to begin with since it is a sense we use 16+ hours per day. BUT if you eat a cake with a glorious flavour (includes smell) and beautiful, fresh texture then you already have 3 senses involved in the exerience and memory!
That’s why the desserts and bakes from our childhoods are forever seared into our memories.
I’ve NEVER heard anyone say: “oh do you remember when we ate that green fondant?! It was the most delicious thing I've ever eaten in my life!” “Yes! And those silver deco balls, how divine!”
Over the last decade, the cake decorating scene has exploded on television and social media. It was always there, but shows like Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, Charly’s Cake Angels etc. opened up an exciting new world to the public and bakers. Overnight, super decorated, fondant cakes became the new beacon for “baking”. People were loving them on TV (and social media) and demanding them from their local bakers!
Now, I am not saying there’s no need for cake decorating (that would be foolish and ignorant). It’s an amazing art!! I’m just saying that the cake decorating “hype” has gone completely out of control and created this stigma that
BAKING = DECORATING and DECORATING = BAKING. This is FALSE.
You can be an amazing cake DECORATOR, but this does not make you a great BAKER.
In the name of “You eat with your eyes!”, super pretty, BUT terrible tasting, dry, tough, stale cakes have been served to the masses for years now. I have been on the receiving end so many times… I’m sure you have too?? It totally sucks. It ruins everything.
Bottom line: lines have become blurry and the concept of actual BAKING has been severely compromised by an exterior decorating obsession.
Ultimately, WE ACTUALLY EAT WITH OUR MOUTHS, NOT OUR EYES.
And, believe it or not, there’s a whole market just waiting for someone to produce DELICIOUS cakes, FULL of FLAVOUR, that give them a yum-high and leave them in a daze. Great, full on BAKING. This is what I’ve done and you can totally do it too!
Now obviously the cake needs to be neat and presentable, but all this means is clean lines. A neat finish on something HONEST, HOME MADE and AUTHENTIC.
You never need to make sugar flowers, or spend hours kneading purple fondant, or bake a cake a week in advance so that you have enough time to put the 1000 modelling chocolate ornaments on the cake IF YOU DON’T WANT TO.
So yes, I’m going to say it OUT LOUD:
You CAN make a comfortable living as a home baker without EVER baking a wedding cake or a themed cake!
MYTH #3 BUSTED!!
Myth #4: You need loads of Capital to start a Home Baking Business
SO, totally and completely false.
When I started my home baking business I had almost nothing. I had a $10 hand mixer, 2 cheap plastic mixing bowls, 1 square tin and 1 muffin/cupcake tin (and a $5500 student loan to pay off, lol!). That’s it! That’s all you need.
I know there are so many gorgeous kitchens on Pinterest, blogs and magazines, but don’t fall into the comparison trap.
A beautiful, fully equipped kitchen is not essential to your home bakery’s success.
Remember, this is good, honest HOME BAKING. When your mom or gran made your favourite birthday cake, could they manage without the $1000 Cuisinart Mixer? Was the cake memorable even though they mixed it by hand?
I’m betting YES.
Focus on the quality of your bakes, not the aesthetics of your kitchen and I promise that your home baking business will be successful.
Beautiful branding and packaging can also be a very tempting expense. If a wrapper is beautiful, but the candy tastes bad, will you ever buy it again? No.
Just go for simple packaging to start off with. You can seriously get away with 50 cents per cake box. To add a personal touch, get a logo stamp made for $10. It looks super rustic and cool!
A simple, affordable logo design solution is to do a trade exchange with a local graphic designer. Creatives really look out for each other and are keen to help where they can! Offer them a cake in exchange for a logo. If they are super good, maybe offer them a $100 voucher/credit at your home baking business. It’s a wonderfully enriching experience working with any other creative! Give it a try 🙂
The last area where big spending can be super tempting is advertising for your home bakery.
Take it from someone who has done this for 5 years…
When it comes to baked goods, ONE word of mouth referral from someone who has actually tasted your bakes is worth more than 1000 flyers or 2000 views on a facebook ad. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Also remember to keep the “home” in Home Bakery. Your clients want a touch of “home”. Focus on retaining your clients and build genuine relationships with them so that you become their GO-TO Baker! Loyal clients are the backbone of any Home baking business.
MYTH #4 BUSTED!!
I’m currently working on a course to guide you, step by step, how to create a solid foundation for sustainable Home Baking Business sales in 2018! SO EXCITED to share it with you! If you are interested, let me know 🙂
For now, I hope that this post has been helpful to you and that it has also LIBERATED you as an authentic home baker. Please be YOU. Your gifts and talents are SO needed!
If you can relate to what I've shared, then Philosophy of Yum is exactly what you've been looking for. I'm so excited that you are finally here! Click here to learn more.
** I HAVE A FREE COURSE STARTING ON JANUARY 3RD – HOME BAKED CONFIDENCE! I highly recommend that you do this course. Click here to learn more.