Starting a cake business from home is a fun decision but also not an easy decision. Knowing what you need to do and where to find the right information is most important. In this post, I share with you important and useful advice and tips how to start your home-based cake business. I've divided it to four sections, covering the most important and essential steps and elements of starting your cake decorating business.
First, starting a cake business from home can be a tough decision. One that will require you to think carefully about all the pros and cons of what you are going to get your self into. This post gives you important information and issues to consider in making this decision. So, read it carefully and use it as a guide where necessary.
Disclaimer - I am not a lawyer, professional consultant or legal personnel. So the information I give you here is not based on any legal background. It's what I know based on the knowledge that I have accumulated over the past years starting my own legitimate home-based business.
Cake decorating as a hobby vs. a cake decorating business?
There is a reason why you are reading this post. Probably because you love cake decorating. And, you create lots of cakes for family and friends, and everybody tells you that you have a great talent and that you should do this for a living. As a result, you are considering doing this for a living, but not sure how to get started.
Guess what, most of us started this way. Cake decorating is our passion. So, let's explore our passion.
Today, I want to give you some information about starting a formal cake business from home — notice I used the word formal. Since, the legal stuff is essential, and yet, it's often not fun.
In fact, there are many cake decorators out there that claim to be in the business without formally registering their business. And, there are also those that call themselves 'cake hobbyist' but earn an income taking cake orders regularly. However, if you make money from cakes and want to make this a profession - you must register as a cake business.
So, whether you are a novice who is just considering starting a cake business from home or are already making cake decorating as a hobby and want to take it to the next level, you will find this post helpful.
It's a bit long because I wanted to give you everything in detail, so grab a cup of coffee, rest your legs, relax and read calmly. Often the best way to get through a difficult subject is to understand once then go back and read again. Usually, the second time on things starts to make more sense.
Starting a legitimate home-based cake business (Save/Pin)
This is not an easy decision for most of us. Often because we have no clue how to go about it. We cancel the idea or put this on hold for now. It's the fear of not knowing what to expect. I have been through some of this myself. It's not as hard as it seems. Often it's easier than you think.
For simplicity; I'm going to break the whole post of How to Start a Cake Business from home into four Parts.
- The Legal Stuff (permits, taxes, and regulations)
- The Business Plan
- Marketing & Social Plan
- You're (personal) Plan
I - Starting your cake business from home - The legal stuff
- Register your business with the Authorities
Go to your local City hall - ask them the Terms of starting a business from home.
- Contact the Local inspection office for the Kitchen and Hygiene Inspection - Get them to come and inspect your kitchen.
In some places, you need to contact the kitchen and hygiene inspection before you go to register your business as you need the certificate to register your business. But in some places, you need to register your company first then contact the kitchen and hygiene. It doesn't matter as long as you call your local city hall they will tell you exactly what to do first.
- Contact the Tax Office/ state controller - You need to get your business set up for taxes.
Don't worry they are not going to take your money. The tax system is usually entirely fair; they want to encourage small businesses like us. There is a minimum amount that you need to earn before you start paying taxes.
II - How to start a cake business from home - The business plan (Save/Pin)
Let's do some business planning before we start our cake business from home. Yes!! It's a cake business from home but It's still a business, and that's the first thing to realize. Run it like a business even if it is from home.
III - Start a cake business from home - The marketing plan (Save/Pin)
Next, we need to think of some marketing strategies to help get our home-based cake business out. Let people know we exist!!
Here are some ideas that you might like to consider. Note that these are just ideas. Not all will work for you. Every business works under different circumstances so understanding your market will help you pick the right strategy for you.
Here are just a few simple, easy and popularly known marketing strategies.
- Build a portfolio - This is catch 22!! You need a good collection to get more business, but you also need business to build your portfolio. I have a few ideas I shared on another post to keep this already lengthy post within the limit. How to advertise and market your cake business
- Most commonly used - You could give your business a jump start by offering some free samples so people can taste your cakes.
- Have the budget? If you don't mind spending on advertising, you could advertise
- Send out flyers or Brouchers that will help spread the word
- Contact local event places, offer them a taste of your cake and ask them if you can give them your business cards for references. Places, where they organize kids birthday parties and such, are a great way to start.
- Find out about local home business network meet-ups.
- Contact event management companies or freelancers.
Social network for your home-based cake business
Why do we need a social network?
So people know we exist, and we can stay in people's minds even when they do not need our services. If they see our product in their feed once in a while, it will keep us in mind when they need a cake or recommend us to their friends. Get your business out on social networks. Create a Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter account. Share your goodies so people can see your work.
Website or blog?
Why do you need a Website or Blog for your cake business from home? I know there are some of you that think having your social networks such as Facebook and Instagram is all you need to attract customers. True and yet not wholly accurate. I spoke more about this in this post - What if Facebook didn't exist? Would your business still survive?
Now getting a website - can be done in two ways. You can hire a professional web designer, or you could do it yourself (DIY) Unfortunately, I could not afford it at the time, so I had to go the DIY route. It's straightforward and this step by step method with progress pictures will help you start your blog efficiently and effortlessly.
IV - Start a cake business from home - Personal planning (Save/Pin)
To me, this is by far the most important of all, and you will see why soon.
Ask your self a few personal questions?
- Do I want to do this as a hobby or as a profession? - Maybe you like cake decorating as a hobby but what if you had to do it every day for the rest of your life. Would you still enjoy it? If the answer is yes, then you know what to do - go right ahead and enjoy every bit of it. If not, consider why and what about cake decorating you enjoy. Decide if you want to continue to do it as a hobby.
- Will you be able to give your self the time this profession needs? We discuss Time Management of a Cake decorator before as well - perhaps it's a good time to read that post too. Cake decorating is not delicate but it is time-consuming. Often people look at a finished cake and never realize that it took over 30 hours of work.
- What about family support? It's not easy if you have to run a cake business from home that does not have the rest of the member's support on board. Especially, your spouse or your other half. There are going to be times when things will not go as planned and you may need help. Often the most critical help we need is emotional support.
- For most people going to work is a usual routine. Their life is sectioned in a way - when they go to work, and they concentrate on office work. When at home they can give their family some quality time (at least that's how it use to be).
Working from home is a whole other thing!! Right? I mean think about it, you at home with the kids all the time, and you can do work from home which means you should be able to give your kids the attention they need. But, often with cake work, it's not always possible. Is it?
If you are serious about starting a cake business from home
I highly recommend a few resources here that might help you.
Craftsy has a few online courses that would work as great starting courses for anyone just venturing into cake decorating. One is this class by Michele How to grow your own cake business, another is Chrisy on Small cake big business and this by Carrie on Building your business with Beautiful cake photography.
- If you are in the US
Every state in the US has its own rules and regulations for cottage laws. You can visit this website - and Cottage Food laws by state to see the rules/regulations concerning your state.
- If you are located in Australia.
I do not know about laws in Australia, but I can recommend someone that does. I think very highly about her courses, and I wrote about it in this post - Online Cake Business School. Rebekah has extensive knowledge of what you need in Australia, and you can find her here at Angelfoods.net
- If you are in the UK
There is a cake decorating schools that have lots of cake business-related posts - Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School.