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Dare to Dream…?

As someone who already has a full-time job that they love – well, most of the time anyway – and who only dabbles in cake for fun, albeit a lot, I always find it really hard to return to ‘real life’ after spending any sort of period of time exclusively in the ‘cake world’. Whether it’s going back to work after a cake show weekend or even, like in this case, just going back after spending the school holidays playing at being a full-time caker and cake blogger, it always seems somewhat jarring to suddenly just be Mr Baker-Gall the teacher again.

I think, if I’m honest, the contrast between cake, where creativity is celebrated and respected – at least for the most part – and education where, as I’m sure most people realise, we are gradually being buried under more-and-more bureaucracy and where opportunities for creativity are gradually being eroded away, is what is possibly the most difficult aspect for me to reconcile myself with.

A recent Guardian headline…

Inevitably, it does make me wonder, every now and then, if I could do this full time – whether I could ever give up my other passion to concentrate on this one – but I do think I would miss the joy that comes from working with young children. I’ll be honest though, for me one of the biggest considerations are the financial implications – I don’t know if I could ever leave the security of a monthly salary to head out into the unknown.

Quite honestly, I don’t think I could ever just make cakes to order. A lot of my enjoyment within cake artistry comes from the freedom I have to create what I want and I think that would soon vanish if faced with a never-ending order book of 8” round cakes every week.

*whispers* I do have a Rolls Royce model of my cakey dream though, but you can’t tell anyone.

Sometimes, I daydream about opening a little cake decorating supplies shop with an attached teaching space to host some of the amazing teachers and tutors that I know, while continuing to write my blog – and perhaps making a few awesome sculpted cakes on the side.

I adored my recent visit to Zoe’s Fancy Cakes in a little village on the outskirts of Leeds…

For me, just making cakes would never be enough – a huge part of my enjoyment within cake is about celebrating the amazing artistry we get to see every day, the travelling to meet some of the wonderful talents that make up the industry and obviously writing about it all right here. I’m not sure I will ever find anyone who wants to pay me to do that!

But, as always, the ‘coming down to earth with a bump’ of returning to work got me thinking about those people out there who perhaps WOULD love to make a living from cake decorating and who would like nothing more than to make cakes to order.

I wondered if we put our collective heads together, we could help them figure out just how they could make that not insignificant step and give up their guaranteed income each month to follow their passion.

For that reason, I would love to hear from those of you who have already done it. What advice would you give those people who are thinking about following in your footsteps? What do you wish you had known in advance? What helped you along the way? Are there any pitfalls to avoid? Sadly you see too many people burn out in this industry, but let’s just see if we can’t come up with some essential advice to help the next generation of cake artists navigate their way into this fabulous industry and not lose sight of their passion along the way…

2 thoughts on “Dare to Dream…?”

  1. Oh mate. Where do you want me to start. 😂

    I teach ALOT and i swear half the 8 hours is spent trying to help people avoid every pitfall i’ve walked into. I teach more business skills now than cake ones. I’ve had the joy of seeing people break-through and take their businesses to where they wanted them to be and didn’t believe was possible and i think that’s more amazing to me than seeing their beautiful cakes. 😍 It can be done.

  2. Oh definitely! Good topic!

    1. Promote the skills you have not those you wish you had (test those ones out in family until you are ready to add them to you “can do” list)
    2. Set your prices to match your worth straight away, not to the “oh I don’t think I am good enough to charge full price yet”. Basically, actually charge your worth, so get your practise in before that website goes live.
    3. Keep learning every day. Even if you are too busy with this weeks cake orders. Make time to compete or attend a class and build that into your expenses.
    4. Schedule at least one day off EVERY week and stick to it.
    5. My absolute gold bit of advice is, for every £1 you earn, put 20p in the bank, not just the amount that the tax man needs or the bills that need paying, then you will have savings and holiday pay and sick pay even though you are self employed.

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