A blog post about starting a blog
So, where to start… I’m not really sure how to do this, but oh well. This is a blog post about the importance of having the courage to embrace vulnerability and chase your dreams. It’s a blog post about starting a blog.
“But… why?” you’re probably asking. Well, to answer that for you, a bit of back story is needed. Strap in because it’s a bit of a long one. Here goes!
As many of you may or may not be aware I’m Leslie, the owner of Nom Nom Sweeties since I started the business 5 ½ years ago. However, 6 years ago today I hadn’t even had an inkling that I’d have my very own business in just a few months… 6 years ago today I was nine months pregnant and preparing to go on maternity leave in just a few days from a job I’d worked in a pharmacy for the last few years. I would have my son a few days before Christmas (and 2 days after spontaneously deciding to get married). From there I would go on to take 3 months total of maternity leave and while I was away for all that time…
I’d realize I hated my job…
I was torn. My job made me anxious and I would have panic attacks. But… I loved my co-workers and I wanted to go to school for pharmacy. I’d had my job for several years. I’d decided on this as my “thing”. I couldn’t possibly back out now, could I?
So, I had a baby and got married in December 2010. In March 2011 I quit my job and walked away without even having an idea of what to do. By May 2011 I had formed my business. I started out making truffles and candy (cake hadn’t even crossed my mind at that point). In June, we found out my mom had stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to her brain. She went through chemo and radiation and by August things were looking better!
Scans showed her cancer was shrinking! The big cake boom hit around then, too. Pinterest was full of pictures of cakes. There were a lot of new cake shows on tv. I finally started to think that maybe cakes were something I could do… it was a logical next step to candy and the other baked goods I was making and I was artistically inclined enough to make it work. So, I did a few practice cakes and blew my family and friends away. I started to research recipes and flavors, prices, and more.
Then, in October we found out my mom’s cancer had spread to her bones. In November she went further downhill because of brain swelling. The oncologist told me she had about 3 weeks… and I had to be the one to tell everyone else. She didn’t seem like she was that sick… until suddenly she was very sick. I realized she was not ok at my son’s first birthday party. Two days later we had to put her into a hospice house. The swelling in her brain got really bad and in her room surrounded by me and a ton of nurses, she saw things that people sometimes see when they are dying. She cried and told everyone she wasn’t done yet. There were so many things she wanted to do with her life still… Go to Paris. Move to California. Travel around the country in her car. It had an immensely profound impact on me, listening to her cry about the life she hadn’t lived. Just a couple days later on December 27th she passed away surrounded by me, my brother, my best friend, my spouse and a wonderful nurse who held our hands through every step.
Things were such a haze for a while. I barely remember the time shortly after that… planning her memorial with my brother and grandpa. Not being able to sleep. Binge watching Netflix all night. Not showering or changing my pajamas (because I don’t think I got dressed in those first few weeks).
After 2 or 3 weeks, a friend of hers from her old work messaged me on facebook. She had a business as a wedding decorator. There was a bridal show at the end of January and she thought I should be a vendor there with my cakes. After a couple days, she finally convinced me to do it. I was DEAD BROKE and I didn’t even have the money to do it but I signed up anyway. It was probably 5 or so days before the show and I was panicking at how I’d pay the fee when suddenly I got a check from the state. It was money for taking care of my mom while she was sick…
It literally felt like a smack in the face. My mom had always wanted me to follow my heart and chase my dreams when I was growing up. There’s no way to explain it, but this felt like her screaming at me to just “go for it”. So, I decided from there to use a bit of the money to pay for a mixer, business cards, a few other business needs and of course… the show fee. My table display for the show looked nuts. I had a hand-painted sign. My display cakes were made of crude, cake shaped rice crispy treats. My fondant seized. My piping was gloopy. The cakes looked terrible. BUT, I booked my first wedding cake order there and it felt great.
And from there I started making cakes! My cakes quickly got a LOT prettier… Through a ton of research and A LOT of trial and error, I learned about business. Not only my own business but also from co-directing a bridal association with that same friend of my mom’s… who is now also my friend! Me, her and another friend with a wedding photography business created a bridal association together and we put on two bridal shows each year. That’s actually how we got most of our business growth in the beginning. I also have a side venture in a gaming channel that I monetized and I earn a little bit from that, too.
My path has lead me to learn about so many different skills like business administration and management, business growth with marketing, social media marketing, design, video production and editing, networking and more. All self-taught!
I’ll admit it… the road was long and a bit treacherous. It was hard fought, and I almost threw in the towel SO many times. Over the years I’ve had to learn the hard way to balance my business and family. There have been times I’ve gotten myself WAY in over my head and had myself in shambles. I have spent tons of sleepless nights struggling to finish a cake on time. I’ve had a pretty devastating cake disaster here and there. And, I won’t lie… I’ve cried because of cakes before.
BUT when that cake is finished…
When you take a step back and you look at this awesome thing you just made and are in awe of this edible artwork you created with your own hands! When your customer sees it and their eyes light up! When they tell you later on how great it tasted and how beautiful/awesome/amazing/handsome it was! When you post your photos on social media and everyone else loves it, too! When after a lot of time you see your skills grow and evolve!
(Did that paragraph just give you goose bumps, because it did for me…)
THAT’S what makes it worth it. That is what makes you realize how much you LOVE this! That has made me realize time and time again that this is my calling. This is the most amazing career choice I’ve ever picked for myself.
Which brings me to now
When I think about the logical next step to my business, I come back to what I could be sharing. I belong to all these different groups on facebook and I spend SO much time reaching out to help others the best I can. It feels so natural to help and teach. It took some time to figure out how but now that I have, I’m ready to start! I don’t want a blog filled with cake tutorials… there are so many GREAT ones already!
I want to help others get their cake businesses started!
Do you watch cake shows on tv or see cakes on Pinterest and just wish you could do that too? Have you been dreaming of turning your cake hobby into a business? Do you love making cakes and it just didn’t even occur to you that it could be a business? Have you decided you’re ready but you’re struggling with where to start? Maybe you’re struggling in your already formed business with all of the little 1001 tidbits you need to learn? Or maybe you are elbow deep, a little fed up and know you need to make more money but you don’t know how?
Whatever your struggles, I believe there should be an easier way. An outline. A guide. There are only a few amazing ladies who are helping in this area and it took me awhile to think I knew enough to help out by adding to what IS available. But truth be told, there aren’t enough resources and I think there should be more.
My mom spent her life instilling in me that being happy meant you had to chase your dreams. So, I’m here to help you do that, too. This advice pretty much applies to everyone! Not just those seeking to make cakes. I want to help make this business you dream about, a reality. Everyone should have someone who supports their dreams. I was lucky that my mom did that for me while I was growing up. She reinforced it with her death. When she died without getting to chase hers I realized that you can’t just dream, you have to make those dreams happen. It’s my turn to grab you by the hand and lead you along the road to chase YOUR dreams.
Now, this is only the first post. Like I said above… a blog post about starting a blog. An announcement of sorts.
I’m not going to be quitting cakes (so my awesome customers who love my cake, have no fear). I’m just expanding. More posts are already done and on the way! You can expect new posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays! I know all of the awesome people who follow me on facebook will support me in these efforts the way they do with my cakes. I’m so excited for this new journey in my life. I hope you will be too!
P.S If you are reading this and struggling, let me know by leaving a comment. I’d love to know what areas you need the most help so I can be sure to cover those topics!
P.P.S. I am currently working on a FREE step by step guide to starting your cake business! Sign up below to be added to my list and you will get it as soon as I’m finished! Being on the list will also get you my newsletter as well, which will include updates when I post new blogs! I promise not to spam you!