Let’s learn from Felicity Price, owner of Buttercream Babies and a cupcake artist who turned her side-passion into a full-time business.
How did you start your business?
Once I'd decided to turn Buttercream Babies into a business, I created my Facebook page. At first it served as an online portfolio where I could post pictures of all my latest creations. Because cupcakes are as pretty as they are tasty, it made for a good-looking page. Once people started leaving comments, word began to spread and the page became a way for people to contact me about my products.
Another technique I used, which is a little less technical, was to get business cards made. I live near a research park with hundreds of companies on it, and every office has a party or two during the year. I put a business card through every door and offered free samples to the larger companies.
When did you know your business was going to work?
Before I started baking professionally, I always saw the smile my cakes would bring to people's faces. Everyone loves something sweet, so I knew there was always going to be a market for my cupcakes.
I guess you could call my early work "market research," as I was just baking as a hobby. After that, it was a case of breaking down my costs and working out the profit margin I needed per order. All that was left was to create a service people would pay for.
What insights from starting up can you share?
Managing my time better! My biggest asset has also been my biggest downfall because I've wanted to go above and beyond expectations. Very early in the business I was taking far too long agonizing over every little detail.
Time is extremely precious when you're running a business, and I don't think I really appreciated this at the start. When it was a hobby, I could afford to spend more time on a cake than I can nowadays. That doesn't mean the product is lower quality now, but it does mean I have to be more focused.