Lisa Wellington began her business whilst on maternity leave with her second son. Here she share her story of setting up her own home baking business.
"Having baked cakes for various family birthdays it was my older son’s 4th birthday cake which prompted people to suggest “you should do this for a living!” The seed was firmly planted in my head, and that coupled with the anxiety and guilt many mums feel at the prospect of returning to work after maternity leave, I decided to give it a go. For eight months I tested my service, initially offering free cakes to friends and discounts to help get my name about. I considered the first year to be a test period. The real test however came when my maternity leave came to an end and I returned to my part-time job at a University. Initially the combination worked; Tuesday-Thursday I worked at the University, with children in school, after-school club or nursery, and at the weekends I baked. As the business grew, I began to secure regular orders, which in turn meant regular income. I worked out what I’d need to bring in each month, taking into account the savings I would make on childcare, and saw that I was almost there. In March my contract came to an end so the decision to quit was half made for me. It took almost two years to get to the point of solely working from home, and though it is far from easy, I love that I can always pick my son up from school and my youngest only goes to playgroup because he wants to."
- Set up a blog first, not a website. It will save you money and will help you work out what you want to share which will then evolve into a website. Return to work following your maternity leave if you can. Although the option of staying at home with your newest addition may seem appealing; you never know you may love being back at work, and your little one may thrive at nursery.
- Make sure you test your product or service and keep your accounts up to date to know the reality of what money you are bringing in. It’s easy to remember the income and forget what you’re spending.
- Do the sums before you make any big decisions. Part-time work can mean hefty childcare costs, but running a business from home can mean a lot of financial uncertainty.
- If you quit - enjoy it!! You’ll be the envy of many people, just make sure you maintain the momentum and remember why you’re doing this.