“So, whats your proper job then? It’s a lovely hobby to have, but it doesn’t pay the bills, does it?”
This response isn’t unique to one person when discussing what I do for a living, there seems to be a bit of a misconception that if you’re a mum and you run your own creative or craft related business from home, you must be just doing it for a bit of extra cash, for fun money for the family or for the newest must have bag that’s just hit the shelves. I know that in some cases that this will be the reason behind some business ventures and why on earth not? If you’re particularly good at something artistic and crafty and people want to buy your wares, then why not make some extra money doing something you love? It makes perfect sense.
Many years ago, I was scouring the jobs market for something suitable that would work well around my family and yes, granted, I could have taken a job doing something I didn’t particularly enjoy, but I didn’t much fancy the idea of paying out a massive chunk of my hard-earned cash on childcare. It was at this point that I decided to really push Fairybake, the name of my cake making business at the time, which had until this point actually been a bit of a hobby to make some extra cash for treats for my son, and manicures and cocktails for me on my rare nights to myself. With a lot of blood, sweat and tears, lots of leaflet dropping, marketing and rallying my friends and family to share my business with their friends, on social media and in real life, I started to get a lot of custom in my local area on the Kent coast. It still wasn’t quite enough though, so I had the brain wave of approaching local cafes to make cakes for them to sell to their customers. I secured an excellent contract with a local coffee shop and I was soon baking and delivering several cakes for them a few times a week, as well as creating my bespoke wedding and celebration cakes. Now, don’t get me wrong, this was a very long way from being easy, but what it meant was that I could work during school hours. From 9am until 3pm every day I could be found in my kitchen and then I was straight back to it again after my son went to bed, more often than not working into the early hours of the morning.
Since then, we have relocated to Berkshire, re-named and re-branded my business completely and there are now two gorgeous boys gracing our family. With the youngest being a toddler, I make the most of every second I have available, including evenings and some of the weekend too when the need arises. The beauty of being self-employed for me is being able to pick up and put down work whenever I need to. As long as my order dates and bookings are met and my work is exceptional, it doesn’t matter too much what time I am working, be it 12pm or 12am.
Running a cake making business isn’t just about the baking and making things look pretty and fancy. Like all businesses, there’s an awful lot that you don’t see, and these things all take valuable time. The baking, designing, the artistic cake decorating and modelling, meeting clients for design consultations, blogging, setting up wedding cakes, running children’s cupcake decorating parties, seeing little faces light up when they see their birthday cakes for the first time, are all the fun and totally rewarding parts of my work, they are the real passion driving the force behind my business. The other stuff, sourcing best insurance policies and suppliers, stock management, the admin side of things, creating contracts, website designing, advertising, branding, social media management, pricing and of course, the dreaded accounts all still need to be done. As a small business, it makes no sense to outsource these things financially, and there is only one person this can all fall on. Me. I am essentially a whole team of people working from one body and mind.
Like most jobs, it’s hard work, it’s exhausting, it’s challenging, but it’s also extremely rewarding, fits perfectly around my family and it means that I get to do something that I absolutely love for a living.
I am blessed to have turned my passion and my hobby into a proper job that does in fact pay the bills. I have built a brand that I am exceptionally proud of. Plus, I have nobody to answer to except myself, which in my mind is utter perfection.