How to Start a Home Bakery Business – The Ultimate Guide!
Welcome to the Ultimate Guide on how to start your own Home Bakery Business!
If baking delicious treats (not cake decorating) has captured your heart and you want to sell your yummy baking for profit, you’re totally in the right place 😊
This information comes from first-hand experience in 6+ years of full-time home baking.
There wasn’t a guide like this available when I first started my Home Bakery and it was tremendously frustrating to figure everything out on my own.
But I’ve put together this super thorough guide so that YOU DON’T NEED TO FIGURE EVERYTHING OUT ON YOUR OWN. In this post you’ll essentially get my roadmap for creating a side-hustle, part-time or full-time Home Bakery Business.
Because, let’s face it; many people talk about how to START a Home Bakery. But no one really talks about how to make it you FULL-TIME career.
I’ll show you exactly how this process works, starting from zero all the way up to full time home baking.
You’ll learn the 3 different phases of a Home Bakery and what you can do in each different phase to start or grow your own Home Bakery business.
RELATED: When are you READY to Start a Home Bakery?
If we haven’t met yet; hi! I’m Aurelia Lambrechts. I’ve been a full-time home baker in Cape Town, South Africa for 6+ years. Now it’s my mission to help flavour-obsessed home bakers like you to get the confidence and business skills they need so that they can share their baking gifts with the world for a living.
If you want to become a confident & successful Home Bakery Business owner, I’m here to help you make it happen!
Before I get to the 3 Phases of Starting a full-time Home Bakery, here’s the most important thing you need know…
Understand that Building up a Home Bakery Business is a GRADUAL Process
There’s a HUGE misconception among Home Bakers today! They often seem to think; “I need to leave my day job TODAY so I can start my home bakery TOMORROW!”
This misconception leads to 2 different responses which are both wrong.
A] You’ll be filled with dread and fear. You might be wondering: “HOW am I going to do this? What’s going to happen to my finances? How’s my family going to survive?!”
B] Then on the other hand, you get people who react in ignorance and blind optimism. In which case you might be thinking: “Yes! Let’s do this! I am going to make heaps of money in no time. My baking is delicious, I just need some quick sales-tips and tricks. Two weeks from now, I’m going to have a full-time bakery!”
This is NOT how a Home Bakery works. If anyone has been telling you a Home Bakery will make you rich in a few weeks, they’re totally lying.
You absolutely CAN make a good living from Home Baking, but it doesn’t happen in a few weeks.
But know right now that you don’t need to be filled with fear as in point A above. And you also need to understand that a full-time Home Bakery isn’t an “overnight success path” as in point B.
NEITHER ONE OF THESE RESPONSES ARE RIGHT.
Here’s the TRUTH you need to know about starting a Home Bakery Business:
- First of all, the journey to a full-time home bakery is very SAFE. You’re not going to be putting your family at risk. The journey to a successful business isn’t reckless or spontaneous.
- Home bakery success does not happen by accident. It’s planned. It’s very strategic. You apply specific strategies to get results and reach success. You don’t just bake delicious things, “hope for the best” and then it works out. That’s not how it works.
- The journey to a full-time home bakery is very GRADUAL. You’ll never be diving into the deep end and suddenly have to make things work, and if you make one mistake then it’s all over. Gosh, no! That’s way too much pressure and certainly no way to build a successful business.
This process can and should be sustainable. You can start and grow your baking business extremely gradually. You can even stretch out the process from starting your home bakery to baking full time over a year (or more) if you want to.
Because the beauty of a Home Bakery is that YOU are your own boss! This means YOU can control the pace at which you grow.
That’s why a Home Baking Business is such a fantastic business model. It’s ideal for moms. It’s ideal for wives and husbands. A Home Bakery is perfect for people who want to stay home and be there with their kids.
All because it’s a gradual and safe process that you can plan around YOUR unique lifestyle and responsibilities.
I asked my Home Bakery Startup course students if they experienced the journey to full time home baking as a safe, planned and gradual process. Here’s what Angie Watts from Glow Bakery had to say.
I’ve also been in positions where I was sick, or my husband & family needed my help with something. And because I’m my own boss I could take a week off from work.
As Angie says, “you’re the driver of your business so you get to decide how fast or slow you go”.
That’s the reality of a home bakery business. It’s not overnight, all-of-a-sudden, “full time home baking in two weeks – here we go!”. That’s not how it works. Starting a Home Bakery Business is a very gradual, safe and planned process.
Growing a home bakery is very much like growing a plant from a seed. It starts very small but as you nurture it, it grows into something amazing.
You start with good soil in a flower pot and you plant a seed in it (phase 1). Then it grows to fill the pot (phase 2). And only then do you plant it into the large garden bed (phase 3). It’s a very nurtured, gradual process of growth that happens one step at a time.
Now that we’ve covered this super important point, you’re ready for the next part of this post…
The 3 DIFFERENT PHASES of starting a Home Bakery Business – from starting at zero, all the way up to full-time home baking.
In this post you’re essentially getting my secret Home Bakery Business Roadmap!
You can also join my Free Resource Library to get a clear, condensed illustration of this Roadmap (if you want to skip all the detail in this post).
PHASE 1: STARTING OUT (You’re just starting or you haven’t started yet)
HERE’S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:
You start by baking for the people you know. That’s how every single business starts.
You start by baking for friends, family and acquaintances for weekends. That’s how you start. This way you don’t have to leave your job before you can start! You start your Home Bakery as a Side-Hustle.
This is the way I started as well when I was still working in architecture. I would bake every Thursday night after work. I literally started by baking one batch of cupcakes.
Over time it gradually grew to about ninety items every Thursday & Friday night for clients. 180 items per weekend were my weekly limit when I still had a desk job.
During this Side-Hustle period you can start saving up the profit you’re making to use in the future for expenses.
You don’t need to have it “all figured out before” you can start your Home Bakery Business.
You can do this after hours one night per week to start with. That’s how a home bakery starts. You don’t necessarily need to rent a commercial kitchen space just yet. You can start very, very small with what you have.
SOME PRACTICAL TIPS:
A] You’ll need to get a certificate from the Health Department in order to bake legally at your Home. You can read this blog post to help you with that >> Home Bakery Certificates, Licenses and Insurance.
B] Filling out the free Home Bakery Business Plan workbook will help to give you clarity about your new business! In the workbook you’ll get lots of important questions you might not be thinking of yet. Join the free Resource Library to download the Business Plan Template.
C] You need to choose a great business name. This blog post can help you >> 5 Secrets for Creating a GREAT Home Bakery Business Name.
D] You’ll need to price your bakes correctly and I’ve got just the blog post to help you with that >> 6 Steps to Pricing Your Baked Goods with Confidence.
WHAT YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON TO GROW TO THE NEXT LEVEL:
- During this phase you really want to focus on getting your baked goods even more delicious. Improving the quality of your baking is very important in this first phase. Focus on improving your baking skills.
I’ve got 2 guides for you in the Free Resource Library to help you improve the quality your baking:
“How to grow your baking skills for free” AND “5 Weekly Habits to become a Better Baker”.
Join the Free Resource Library to get these free guides today.
Stretch and challenge yourself to bake new things that you’ve always want to bake. Research recipes and baking techniques. Read a lot of blogs and watch YouTube videos about baking.
So, before you bake a cheesecake for example, don’t just get any recipe and dive in! The chances of a failed bake are HUGE if you don’t research!
Home bakers often ask me how I can afford to practice my baking. But the KEY here is that you don’t practice with ingredients. You practice with RESEARCH. That’s how you improve your baking without wasting ingredients and money.
Before I baked my first cheesecake, I watched every single video on YouTube about baking cheesecake so I didn’t risk having a flop and wasting expensive ingredients.
I read every single blog post and watched every single YouTube video I could find on baking cheesecake before I baked my first one. And as a result, the first cheesecake I made was already good enough to sell.
So, before you bake ANYTHING, research it as thoroughly as possible. That’s how you make your learning process economical.
- In this phase you can also START an Instagram account and a Facebook page. BUT (super important) don’t spend a lot of time on social media yet!!
I see this all the time with new home bakers. They think; “if I just create an Instagram account or a Facebook page then I’m suddenly going to get a lot of orders and then life is going to be perfect.”
That’s not how it works. Just posting baked goods on social media and hoping to get sales does NOT work.
Instagram and Facebook are great platforms but they are also platforms that need to be used STRATEGICALLY.
Later in your Home Bakery journey social media can be amazing for your business. But it’s not worth your time to spend all your time on Instagram and on Facebook when you’re just starting your Home Bakery.
Don’t focus on getting likes and feeling popular on social media during phase 1.
Rather focus on improving the quality of your baked goods. And also focus on the relationships that you’re building with the friends & family you’re selling your bakes to.
PHASE 2: PART-TIME BAKING
HERE’S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:
In this phase your client base has grown a lot since phase 1. Your weekend, side-hustle home bakery is fully booked. You started baking one batch of something for Fridays. Eventually it will become two batches, three batches, four batches until you’re fully booked for Fridays.
Then you’ll start baking for Saturdays as well.
SOME PRACTICAL TIPS:
A] While you’re still working full-time at your day job, don’t bake more than 2 evenings per week. If you do more, it’s going to start putting a lot of pressure on your family life. Baking every single night of the week after work is not sustainable. Two nights per week maximum, okay? Don’t put your family under unnecessary pressure and don’t wear yourself out.
B] In this phase it’s crucial that you price your baked goods properly. Because if you undercharge, you’re not going to make enough profit and you won’t be able to grow your business.
RELATED: 6 Steps to Pricing Your Baked Goods with Confidence.
C] If you want to scale your side-hustle home bakery to a legit part-time business, you’ll need to DEFINE A NICHE. This means you specialize in solving a specific problem for clients. If you “bake anything for any occasion” you’ll get lost in the crowd. Defining a niche for your Home Bakery is the ONLY way to stand out!
Lucky for you there’s a guide in the Free Resource Library called “How to Find the Perfect Niche for Your Home Bakery“. Join the Free Resource Library now to get the free guide.
So, now that your weekends are fully booked, it’s time to grow.
WHAT YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON TO GROW TO THE NEXT LEVEL:
- The reality is, you can’t progress to a part-time home bakery AND have a full-time day job. That’s impossible. You’re going to burn out. Your family is going to suffer. You are going to suffer. It just doesn’t work.
In order to progress to a part-time Home Bakery, you’ll need to scale down your day job to a part time position.
It’s crucial that you don’t make this move too early!
Every weekend in your Home Bakery should be fully booked for at least two months and then you know that it’s safe to progress to a part-time Home Bakery.
Move over to a part time day job so that you free up more time for your baking. But note that this part-time day job won’t necessarily be in the same line of work you’re in right now.
You may need to compromise and take a part-time day job that isn’t necessarily your first choice. But remember that this change is a means to an end because you have a vision of your future and your home bakery that you are building.
In order to make that happen, you need to scale down to a part-time day job. So, that might mean reception work for someone or freelance work. Use whatever skills you have to get a part-time job.
You’re doing this so you still have stable income from a day job, but also have more time available to grow your home bakery. If you don’t make that space of time available, your home baking won’t be able to GROW to fill it up.
It’s like digging an extension to a dam in advance so that you can catch more rain in the future.
This change to a part-time job does come down to a bit of a leap of faith. You can’t have a full-time day job AND a full-time Home Bakery Business at the same time!
As you let go of your past reality you can start grabbing onto your future. You can’t hold onto your past and hold onto your future at the same time. You’ll to get torn to pieces!
So, at some point you need to start letting go of your current reality so that you can grab hold of the future success that you want.
- If you’ve scaled down to a part-time day job, you’ve now got more time for baking.
Now you can start looking out for a couple of wholesale clients. The benefits of wholesale clients are VAST! But the best one is probably that you only need ONE wholesale client in order to make HUNDREDS of sales.
From a marketing perspective; wholesale clients are so much less effort than direct clients! Because then sales no longer depend on YOUR effort.
With wholesale clients the sales depend on THEIR effort. They make profit from your bakes AND you’re just raking in more sales and profit from their effort. It’s awesome!
But you don’t have to bake for wholesale clients if you don’t want to.
Regardless, you always need to continue to grow your direct client base. Always focus on growing the relationships with your direct clients. Focus on giving them great products and great quality service.
And most importantly; connect with your direct clients as people.
Because remember, home baking is a very relational thing. It’s something that our mothers and grandmothers did for us. It’s a very family-orientated thing.
Relationships are so KEY to building a successful home bakery.
RELATED: 6 Easy Steps to Deal with Difficult/Dissatisfied Home Bakery Clients.
- The next thing you can focus on in phase 2 is to learn beginner marketing strategies and skills.
It’s vital for your success that you learn marketing skills and business skills.
Home bakers often ask me; “how do I get more clients and sales?” I understand WHY they ask this because who doesn’t want heaps of clients and sales?!
But if you take away ONLY ONE THING from this blog post, let it be this…
A Home Bakery isn’t as simple as just baking high quality things, getting a few “quick sales tips and tricks” and then everything works out. That’s not how a Home Bakery Business works.
A successful Home Bakery is planned. Success comes from strategy.
If you want to start a successful Home Bakery Business, you need to understand how clients THINK and WHY they buy things!
Let me give you a silly, but effective example. I was actually looking at my cat as she was busy drinking water.
She WANTS water. She knows she needs it. But if I pick her up and hold her close to the water and tell her; “Drink Kitty! Drink the water” She undoubtedly WILL scramble and run away – even though she wants that water.
Even though she’s thirsty she won’t bow to what I’m asking her to do. If I forcefully hold her there and ask her to drink the water, she’s going to just have the opposite reaction and run away.
And that’s what we often do with our clients. We bake something really tasty (that they actually do want) but we use terrible sales techniques that send them running away.
Here’s one example of these “terrible sales techniques” I’m speaking of: we just post something on Instagram and expect people to jump and order.
But asking people to buy your stuff without any kind of strategy or understanding is like forcefully holding them up to a bucket saying; “drink clients, drink!”
And it doesn’t work.
“Quick sales tips and tricks” aren’t going to give you a successful business. They might give you a few sales but they won’t give you a successful business. Do you understand the difference?
A few quick sales are not the same thing as a sustainably, consistently successful home bakery business. They are two different things.
So, it’s unavoidable; if you want to build a successful Home Bakery Business, you’re going to need to learn how to think like a business owner.
You’re going to need to grow as an entrepreneur. You’re going to need to learn marketing skills. And the great news is that anyone can learn these things! I honestly mean that!
RELATED: The 4 Essentials of Home Bakery Marketing.
Doctors need to learn all kinds of skills to practice medicine. Lawyers need to learn all kinds of skills to practice law. Chefs need to go through chef school to learn all kinds of skills to be a chef in a restaurant.
And in the same way, if you want to be a home bakery business owner, you need to learn business and marketing skills.
Be open to learning those things. If you just keep baking delicious things and hoping for the best, you’re constantly going to struggle to get clients.
You will get SOME sales based on talent and recipe quality alone. But you’ll struggle to build a CONSISTENTLY successful business that you can scale into a part-time or full-time one.
- During phase 2 you definitely need to create a website as well.
This is where you’re really going to start getting more sales.
I know it seems daunting to create a website for your Home Bakery, but it’s actually very simple! You can seriously create a website in one afternoon. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. It’s actually very simple and easy. Here’s a link for you to a Wix website tutorial.
Don’t put this off, okay? You need to create a website for your Home Bakery in phase 2. Simply because a website communicates to people that you take your business seriously.
If you don’t have a website, they’ll assume that you’re just baking as a hobby. If you just have an Instagram page and a Facebook page, they’ll assume that you’re just baking casually and that it isn’t necessarily a business.
But when you have a website, you’re telling people you take yourself AND their needs seriously.
With a website it’s also becomes possible for people to order online from you. People live online nowadays so you need to be online in order to reach them. That’s a simple fact of 21st century business.
- In phase 2 you also need to start paying more attention to your photography.
If baked goods don’t look delicious on a photo it’s tough for people to imagine themselves eating it. It’s tough for them to believe that it’s delicious if it doesn’t look delicious on the photo.
You can get some Photography tips for free on my Instagram “Photo Tips” story highlights 😊
I also teach a lot of photography tips in the Photography Essentials class which you get as a free bonus when you join the Side-Hustle Baker course.
PHASE 3: FULL-TIME BAKING
HERE’S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:
You have a consistent income every week that you can depend on and now you can just make that income MORE.
At this point when you are fully booked as a part-time baker. You’ve maybe got 1 or 2 wholesale clients and/or a direct client base that keeps you busy.
You essentially have a part-time day job and a part-time Home Bakery Business.
Pay attention to when that part-time baking is filled up completely for at least three months. Then you can start to move on to a full-time baking job and leave your day job for an employer altogether.
This is a scary step. I get it. But, at the same time it’s exactly the same as in phase two where you have to let go of your current reality to start embracing your future success. It comes down to the same thing.
It’s still a very safe and gradual process as you can see. You don’t drop everything immediately to bake full time and suddenly make a full salary from your baking.
Starting a Home Bakery is gradual – but as with anything NEW, there are still small steps of faith involved.
But please note that you can save up for this phase if you’re scared your finances might suffer. If you’re worried that you won’t have enough money to make a full salary when you start baking full time, save up the money you make in phase 2 of part time baking.
WHAT YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON TO GROW TO THE NEXT LEVEL:
- The most important thing to focus on in phase 3 is giving your clients an AMAZING experience with you.
This is where you really need to understand what creates client loyalty.
Clients nowadays have a whole array of businesses to choose from. If you don’t know how to cultivate loyalty with your customers, they might move on to another baker.
That’s not the end of the world, you can always get more clients. But you need to understand how your clients think and what turns them into loyal customers, so research that online or in books.
In my signature course, Home Bakery Startup you get a free bonus course called “Client Loyalty Secrets”. Click here if you want to join the wait list for the Home Bakery Startup course.
- In phase 3 you really need to ace your marketing game.
You need to know about copywriting. Copywriting is just a fancy word for all the writing you do in your business. This includes the words that you use on your website, words in your e-mails, words you use on social media, etc.
As a business owner you need to understand how to get through to your clients.
You need to understand completely how they think.
You need to understand what makes them buy,
what attracts them to a business and
what puts them off.
All of that comes down to marketing.
Fortunately, marketing isn’t a skill you’re “born with” or not. Anyone can learn how to be great at marketing! This is what I teach in my online Home Bakery courses.
But there are also loads of books out there you can learn from. You don’t have to necessarily take an online course to learn these things. You can bootstrap and do it yourself.
RELATED: 7 Books every Home Bakery owner needs to read.
The advantage of my Home Bakery Business courses is that I have read through all of those books. I’ve applied those theories to my home bakery business and tested them.
I’ve learned in my eight years of home baking that a home bakery is a very unique type of business. So, that’s the advantage of doing of my courses; I give you the strategies that actually work so you don’t have to go through all of that trial and error yourself.
If you read books you CAN do it by yourself.
But it’ll probably take about 3-4 years of trial and error to refine the strategies you learn in books. It takes time before you actually figure out how to generate consistent income in your Home Bakery.
- You need to optimize your website to rank high on Google.
This is so important because you need a consistent stream of new clients coming into your business.
Consistent sales come down to two things:
A] Your current clients are loyal. They stick with you and buy from you over and over again.
B] You also have a steady stream of new clients coming in and Google is the best way to do that. Getting new clients from Google has revolutionized my business.
But you can’t just create a website and then hope that people find you on Google.
There are all kinds of specific strategies you need to use. They call it SEO which stands for “search engine optimisation.”
This just refers to the things that you do to make Google like you, so that they’ll recommend you to people when they search for bakers in your town/city.
You can do things with your website on the back-end and on Google so that when people search for baked goods in your area, you’re the first one to pop up. You can seriously do this without paying a cent for advertising!
And then when people click through to your website, you say exactly the right things to make them understand that you are the baker need.
Then they click and order from you. If you can get this right, you’ll never need to worry about getting new clients again.
RELATED: How to Promote Your Home Bakery Business & Get More Exposure.
- You need to build a strong brand.
Now, a brand is often a very elusive thing. People often think a brand is just your logo, colours, fonts, business cards, etc. (I used to think this too!)
But all that stuff is NOT your brand. Those things are PART of your brand, but it’s actually just branding DESIGN. It’s just one leg of your brand.
Yes, of course your branding design needs to be beautiful. You need to have a beautiful website, beautiful food photography that draws people in. All of that MATTERS.
But your brand is MORE than just the graphics of your Home Bakery Business.
Your brand is actually WHAT YOUR CLIENTS THINK & FEEL about your business. So, that goes WAY beyond a “pretty logo”.
A brand is about the message that your business is putting out there. It’s about what your home bakery stands for. It’s the vision that you have, the beliefs that you have, the principles that you have in your home bakery. These are the things that make up a strong brand.
And the words that you say (copywriting) are a massive part of this.
You need to have the right words on your website, e-mails, Facebook posts, etc.
You need to understand how to communicate effectively with your clients so that they know your baking is the solution to their problems.
Phew! Congrats for making it this far!
Let’s do a quick recap of what you’ve learned today.
# To start and grow a home bakery business is a safe and gradual process. You start small with one batch of bakes. Then you build your business up very gradually so you’re always getting an income. Your family will never be at risk. Your finances will never be at risk because you’re always getting an income.
# Note that you don’t need a flawless website and epic marketing before you can START selling your home baking! You only need to start learning about marketing & website building in phase 2.
# You can absolutely start selling now already. The beauty of a Home Bakery is that you can earn money from your baking while you learn business & marketing skills in the background.
# Good news is; anyone can learn marketing skills! You can do that though studying business & marketing books and testing out their strategies. Or you can join an online Home Bakery Business course to get proven Home Bakery Business marketing strategies.
Download the Home Bakery Business Roadmap
We covered quite a lot in this post so I’m sure it’ll feel a bit overwhelming!
To make your life a bit easier, I’ve created a short & sweet Roadmap for you to remind you of what you’ve learned today.
>> You can get the Home Bakery Business Roadmap for free when you join the Free Resource Library.
Thanks for reading! It was great to have you here.
If you’re confused about anything, let me know in the comments below. I love helping home bakers and see them just reach success faster. Let’s start and grow your home bakery business together!