Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Guest Contributor: The Business of Baking!

Once again please welcome our guest contributor:
Michelle Green from The Business of Baking!

Home Based Business
by Michelle Green

Earlier this month I wrote an article about some things to think about when considering opening a store front, and today I'm going to talk about some things to consider when deciding to keep your business home based. Ultimately a lot of this home versus store choice is based around lifestyle, available space, and what scale you want your business to grow to. Here are a few things to consider about owning a home based baking business.

·       The overheads for running a home based business are generally a lot smaller, because some (not all) of your costs simply won't apply in a home environment. As an example, in order to have an A-frame signon the pavement in front of my store, I had to pay my local council over $250 a year to have it. That expense simply would not exist for a home based business. The bonus to having less overheads is potentially having more profit.

·       It can be a great way to 'test out' if you're wanting a larger scale business. Because home based business are easier to scale (because they are less expensive to run generally) you can test the boundaries of how much work you want or are able to take on. Some people wanting a store start out from home and find it much too overwhelming so they never get to the store stage – it's a good way to test out the “What the heck was I thinking?!” part of it.

·       Kids touch stuff. As do dogs. It can be a challenge to keep your work space as your work space without invaders of the 2 legged or 4 legged kind.

·       Space, or rather a lack of space, will either drive you up a wall or teach you how to work very efficiently.

·      There is a perception (an unfair one) that prices from home-based businesses should be less than those at a store front.

·      Perfect strangers will know where you live. This isn't a big deal, and there are ways to manage it (don't put your whole address on your website) but it's something to think about it. Your privacy becomes,well, less private!

·      Unless you are able to build an entirely separate dwelling or room, there will be strangers wandering into your personal space.

·      Working from home IS a lot more flexible, but that also means it potentially eats into your personal time as well. Working from home requires a fair amount of self discipline.

·       Your family expenses will increase. Yes, I teach you to cost out running costs into your cake prices, but it can be a challenge to then take the money you earn in those cakes and then actually apply that money to those specific bills.  It's much easier to 'hide' those costs in your normal bills (in particular for things like water and power) so this is something to be aware of. For example, are you really going to notice if you use an extra bottle of dish washing detergent every month? Probably not but it's an expense that you would not otherwise have in your family supermarket budgeting.

There are lots of benefits to working from home, and it's a lot less limiting than you might think. So many people cite their major challenge or lack of success as being a home based business, but there are plenty of people making plenty of money from home. I would venture to say that several of your cake idols are happily working from home and happily making a good living from it.  The key to that success isn't being limited by your home base, it's by being inspired by it to come up with creative ways around it, while still maintaining the lifestlye that being home based gives you. 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Green The Business of Baking All rights reserved.

Michelle is a food writer, trained chef and pastry chef with a huge amount of knowledge and helpful insight into running a cake business. She is also the sole author of the blog, "The Business of Baking" -www.thebizofbaking.com.  "The Business of Baking" is specific to the baking and decorating industry and teaches you how to make a real living doing what you love. Michelle started cake decorating at sixteen years old and eventually turned her hobby into a business by becoming a pastry chef, then opening a custom cake business and owning it for ten years. These days, Michelle is an educator, consultant and author who mentors other decorators in business, proving that it's possible to run a business and maintain your sanity at the same time. In 2014 and 2015 Michelle will be teaching live classes all about running a sustainable business. More information on her courses can be found at  www.bizbakeontour.com.

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