How to Overcome the Fear of Failure in your Home Bakery
Overcoming the Fear of Failure is one of the issues most of my readers & students have asked me to write about.
A number of unhealthy mindsets have plagued my Home Bakery, but anxiety and fear have challenged me most of my life, so believe me you are not alone.
SO many friends have told me: “Don’t worry about it! What’s the worst that can happen?”
I know they mean well, but that question does not bring a baker comfort! In fact, when they ask me this I have a super detailed scenario in my mind of the “worst that can happen”:
What if I invest all this time and love and resources in my baking business and then no one likes my stuff?? And instead of talking to me about it, they end up writing a horrible Facebook review on my page and then no one orders from me again!
OR what if I bake this cake and it slides apart or breaks apart on the way to the wedding venue?? Then the bride has no wedding cake, freaks out and everyone at the wedding stares at me and says in unison: “It’s all your fault.”
That is the worst that can happen.
What I’m trying to say is that I honestly know how you feel.
I’ve had countless sleepless nights. The nights before food markets, before massive orders, food expo’s, weddings, birthday parties… Sleepless nights over frosting not setting in time, things over-baking, cupcakes shrinking, cakes falling, cakes cracking and more…
Another popular favourite in my early days of Baking was that my clients would lose interest over time and I would need to return to my desk job…
And then the biggest fear is that a client won’t be happy with what I baked for them.
I know how you feel.
RELATED: 5 Mindset Shifts of Successful Home Bakery Owners
BUT I also know now that I DO NOT have to live my life like this… AND NEITHER DO YOU.
I’ve learned how to understand fear & anxiety works, how to manage them and how to overcome them.
Please note that these are my personal experiences on what has worked for me. These tips might not necessarily work for you or appeal to you. But I’m 99% confident that they will bring SIGNIFICANT relief to the quality of your baking life and release a lot of chains from your Home Bakery.
I’m convinced that it’s nearly impossible to build up a sustainable, successful baking business without dealing with your fear & anxiety issues.
Your future success is on the table here, so I encourage you to be open while reading this post.
I would love to see you live a healthy, happy, peaceful and successful baking life.
I’ll start by explaining the most obvious causes of Fear & Anxiety and how to overcome them.
1. Uncertainty Breeds Fear
Have you ever watched The Great British Bake Off?
All the contestants are home bakers just like you and me. And gosh that tent is LADEN with fear!!
Place 12 insecure, unqualified home bakers with limited experience in a foreign environment with 2 famously perfectionistic judges… All broadcast on TV for the world to see!!
It’s so hectic when you think about it… And that’s precisely why I would never do it.
The whole set-up is built to encourage uncertainty. Uncertainty elevates emotions like excitement and fear which makes great television, because your mind will constantly come up with different scenarios of how this might all pan out.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the bakers make obvious mistakes that could easily have been prevented if they had just researched the bake’s techniques a bit more.
If they understood the required techniques they would have an exact strategy they could DEPEND on! But very often they don’t and now you see them in an utter PANIC, just “HOPING for the best.”
HOPE is a wonderful thing, but not in baking and absolutely not in business either.
If a doctor based his decisions and courses of action on hope instead of scientific research, he would run out of business really soon and possibly lose a lot of lives in the process.
I know this is an extreme example, but I’m using it intentionally to get my point across.
“Hoping” that a bake will turn out great WILL result in heaps of fear because you have nothing to depend on – no science, no study, no research, no proof. You are swimming in uncertainty.
And this is amplified even further in a Baking Business!
Just baking amazing cakes and hoping or assuming people will come running for them is nothing more than “hoping for the best”.
“Hoping” does not guarantee a successful bake, and it absolutely does not guarantee a successful Home Bakery.
My heart breaks when I see the contestants on GBBO mess up their bakes and then say: “I’m just not good enough. Things are not working out for me today.” Kind of like the world is against them and the other bakers are just lucky.
But the truth is that their failed bake has NOTHING to do with their luck or talent.
They should have done their homework!! They should have RESEARCHED their bake into the last detail so that they can UNDERSTAND the science of it and develop a STRATEGY to use on the day.
Their insecurities, talent, lack of qualifications, lack of resources and “luck” are NOT the reason they are failing. It’s because they didn’t do enough research or develop a strategy.
Not having a strategy leads to “hoping for the best” which leads to total uncertainty and results in total fear of failure.
And very often actual failure as well to be honest.
By resorting to “hoping for the best”, you are giving your brain no strategy to rely on. This gives it no other option but to imagine a list of scary outcomes so that you can be prepared for the worst and not be shocked to death by it.
It’s your mind’s way of protecting you.
But if you do your homework, research baking AND business, learn from experts and adopt their strategies; then you are GIVING YOUR BRAIN A COURSE OF ACTION IT CAN FOCUS & RELY on.
It will no longer need to prepare you for the worst and turn on your fear alarms.
Please remember this line: STRATEGY CULTIVATES CERTAINTY.
If you feel that your current approach in your Home Bakery is “hoping for the best”, I invite you to check out the FREE Resource Library with helpful tips, tools and even a Home Bakery Business Plan Workbook. These resources will help you to start developing a clear strategy for your Home Bakery 😀
When there is certainty, fear is not needed for your survival, so your brain won’t call on Mr Fear to protect you.
2. Failure is just an Event, not an Identity
MOST home bakers are SEVERELY CRITICAL of themselves and their baking. And I am NO exception to that!!
I once received an email from one of my students about her fear of failure. The most heart-breaking line in her email was this: “It’s embarrassingly awkward to enter my online shop… I feel like I’ve failed, really. I have to do something about it or give up.“
I honestly have felt the exact same way in the past… Have you? The key to stepping out of that miserable overwhelm of fear of failure is a total change in perspective. And here is the perspective:
LEARNING does not equal FAILING.
They are NOT the same thing. Do not mistake learning for failing!!
I bet if you look back to where you started out you will see how much you have grown and how much you have learned. Learning what does not work is just as important as what does work.
As a business owner you will need to learn to have grace for yourself – you are a wonderful, hardworking student of baking. Be kind to yourself.
A business is not successful because the owner never made any mistakes or never failed.
A business is successful because the owner knew how to learn everything he could from his mistakes and failures.
Mistakes and failure are inevitable on this journey 🙂
“There is actually no such thing as failure. You either get the result you wanted or the lesson you needed.” – James Wedmore
There’s no need to fear failure, there’s only a need to LEARN FROM IT.
REMEMBER: FAILURE IS AN EVENT, NOT AN IDENTITY.
3. Perfect Love Drives Out Fear
This is a famous Bible passage that most Christians are very familiar with.
There was a time that this verse actually caused anxiety for me instead of removing it! And it’s because the verse right after it says: “The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
So my immediate reaction was “Oh no! I’m not made perfect in God’s love! What’s wrong with me?! I’m failing Him!”
But now that God has restored so much in my life – especially over the last 3 years – I have a much better understanding of this passage.
No matter who you are, who your parents are, what race you are, your financial situation, your talents and opportunities… NONE of it will save any of us from the fallen nature of humanity.
ALL of us experience pain in our lives and it is unavoidable.
And what happens when we experience pain?
Right in the heart of that pain, our being questions God’s heart and intentions. His character is questioned.
And then the enemy comes and plants a lie about our heavenly Father right in the centre of that pain.
That seed, that lie, grows into a strong tree and bears awful fruit that we will eat throughout our lives. The people close to us will also have to eat that fruit. Your relationships will absolutely be affected and even shaped by that fruit.
This awful fruit includes FEAR & ANXIETY.
Your work life will eat that fruit too. Your relationships, business and entire life will end up being shaped by that tree – by that lie.
And there’s usually a whole lot more than just one lie.
And Father God is devoted to exposing those lies buried deep in your heart. But in order to get to them you will need to revisit and process that pain you’ve experienced at various points in your life.
This is extremely difficult and tearful, BUT right after the forgiveness and “letting go” happens, there’s LIBERTY like you’ve never known at the other end.
And most importantly, Father God will replace that LIE with His TRUTH.
This process is what “made perfect in love” LOOKS like.
And the main reason I’ve just explained this process is because one of the awful fruits that grow on “Lie Trees” is FEAR.
Because the lie has created UNCERTAINTY for us about the most basic strategy every human NEEDS more than air – My Dad has got me no matter what (aka Love).
God’s perfect love is a living, dynamic strategy that annihilates uncertainty.
You will now not just “know” that He loves you as an abstract thought…
You will believe with every fibre of your being that He is 100% devoted to your wellbeing and 100% trustworthy.
You know Him and His very nature INTIMATELY and you know you can build your life on that unshakable solidity.
Whenever finances are tight, or a relationship is struggling or you don’t know what to do in your business, you won’t experience fear anymore. Because you know that you can ask your loving Father God to show you where you should walk and that He’ll be thrilled to answer you!
4. Release the Expectation to be a Baking Prodigy
I can bake wedding cakes, but I hate making them because they consume me with fear.
So I don’t bake them anymore. Simple as that.
A successful Home Bakery is not built by trying to bake for EVERYONE. You don’t have to do this to yourself. Read my previous post’s section on Defining Your Niche!
If you’ve researched and practiced a specific bake but it still causes you anxiety, then do yourself a favour and remove it from your menu!
Certain bakes are just better suited with certain types of personalities.
Your reasons can even go beyond that. For example, I also don’t like baking wedding cakes because I find it too challenging to work with stressed brides.
Weddings are also typically on remote venues outside of town and that makes delivery an issue… Especially if there are dirt roads involved! I’ve once seen a wedding cake crack right in front of me due to all the shaking in the car. It was CRAZY scary!!
All of these reasons combined just made me realize there’s way too much uncertainty, fear and frustration in the Wedding Cake scene, so I removed that service from my Home Bakery.
I’ve never looked back!
So look through your menu and list of services you offer. If they cause fear and anxiety in your life (even after you’ve researched effective strategies) then remove those items.
Your Home Bakery will be a lot more sustainable and successful once you remove them because all that fear will not be draining you every second of the day and night anymore!
Making bakes you are comfortable with and ENJOY baking will increase CERTAINTY in your home bakery. A niche enables you to produce higher quality bakes and eliminate buckets of anxiety in your baking life.
Do you have any more fear & anxiety challenges? Share your thoughts in the comments below because I would love to help 🙂
My Goodness!! I am bowled by reading this article!! Right now I’m totally engulfed with fear of taking a bigger step in expanding my baking biz and there’s this weird fear looming in my head and heart.. Fear of Failing! I do realize I’m very hard on myself bcoz of which I miss out on the sheer joy of baking anything. I’m too critical of my own work though my client’s love it. I tend to doubt my own self and my work. I’m petrified of cake failures espclly wedding cakes. But yes, I’ll take your advice and just scrape it off my services. I really want to enjoy what I’m doing rather than stress over every small and big order. Thank you soooo much. God bless you.
Hey Sabina, thanks for your comment 🙂 I’m so grateful to hear this article meant so much to you! Another tip that will help you loads (if you’re very critical on your own baking): your CLIENTS are the ones paying for your work. Thus, THEIR opinion of your baking matters more than yours. If they love it, that’s all that matters 😀
I love your advice so much. One of my colleagues is always advising me to bake art and character cakes. I haven’t tried them but I feel they are not for me, they are too much whereas I believe in Less is more, a cake should make the customer want to eat it. It should be enticing, elegant.
Hey Faith! I once heard an amazing quote “Don’t be so thirsty for opportunity that you drink from every cup – that’s how you get poisoned.” So I agree with you 100%!! Don’t bake anything you wouldn’t want to eat yourself!