Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Working from Home
Whether it's because of children or capital (or a bit of both), many of us don't have the desire or ability to take our baking elsewhere, at least for the time being. Even if you have all the licensing, the insurance, and anything else your state requires, it still can be difficult to see yourself as a legitimate bakery. This is 2019 people! About 69% of entrepreneurs start up their businesses from home!
But let's get real.
It's incredibly difficult to feel high-end or luxury when we're baking from home in our pajamas. It's also hard to get in full boss-mode when our children are hanging off the desk begging for snacks when we're trying to send out proposals. Although there are things we cannot change about our situation as cottage bakers, there are certainly many things we can do to amp up our professionalism in order to run our companies in a way that reflects where we want to go.
So we're going to look into some ways that we can feel a bit more legit working from home, because professionalism really all starts with your mindset!
This is Work
Your Cake/Cookie/Cake Pop business is not a hobby! This is not something you do "for fun". It may be fun, but this is work. Don't be shy to call it what it is. Just because you love what you do, doesn't make your work any more or less valuable than anyone else's!
Have a Separate Business Line
Separate line, separate voicemail. If you have small kids running around at home, be mindful about when you are able to answer, and when it's best to send clients to voicemail. If you don't feel like you're quite ready to have your own line, that's fine too! It's better to have your clients e-mail you than to be consistently unavailable to answer the phone.
Have an Email Signature
It's always a good idea to sign your e-mails. Gmail does it automatically for you, and so does most CRM software, like HoneyBook. Here you can list your name, company name, website, and all the different ways your clients can get a hold of you, including your social media pages. This just looks way more professional than "Sent with iphone".
Have your Own Space
This goes for both decorating and office space. I realize that not everyone has a ton of extra space at home, but really try to carve out your own room/closet for storing your supplies, and your own table(s) for working. Also, make sure you're protecting that space from destructive toddlers. ;)
Also, try to make room for your own desk allocated just for business. Not only are business spaces a great tax write-off, but it's much easier to focus on work-related tasks when you're not sorting through a bunch of school papers to try and find the invoices you just printed!
Dress to Impress
Even though you work from home, you will not always be home! It's always a good idea to have some branded clothing for deliveries, pick ups and other events. I personally prefer to wear my branded Chef's coat for deliveries and Wedding Expos. It screams professionalism, and I feel super confident when I wear it!
Hold your Consultations Elsewhere
I know of several home bakers who hold their tastings at their house, but for many of us that is just not an option. Pick a local coffee joint where you can meet your clients and go over the details of their event. They may even appreciate not having to drive all the way to your house, so it works out well for everyone! Make sure to bring your portfolio and of course, some amazing samples!
Let me know in the comments if you have any other advice for cottage bakers who may be struggling with feeling legit while working from home!