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  • Writer's pictureVicky

Surviving Small Business: My First Year

It dawned on me the other day that it has already been a full year since I left my job to work on Tallulah’s Bakery full time. Well, mostly full time – I’m still working 2 days a week while I get some good ground work set up.

It’s actually been more than a year now but the date just seemed to come and go so quickly. Granted, I was on honeymoon at the time but I feel quite sad that I let such a milestone drift by without so much of a thought (and also feel terrified that a year can go by so quickly!)Thinking about it, I have learned a lot in this last year – namely that running a business is hard! Ok, so maybe I knew that already, but I’m not naturally business minded, so while my heart and soul go in to every cake, keeping up with the business side of things has not been easy. Stress, self-doubt and bad money management tend to be the 3 main reasons small businesses fail in the first year and I, quite honestly am guilty of them all!But I am also continuing to learn, am wonderfully stubborn and (deep down) made of strong stuff so I’m still here. And it helps that every time I make a cake and it makes someone’s day, all those stresses melt away.I’ve still got a way to go before we get Tallulah’s Bakery fully full time and thriving but I wanted to share my top highlights from the last year because it wasn’t business admin.

Meeting All Of You

Before the end of last year I had regular customers that I had never even met before! Working every weekend meant that invariably I wasn’t there for the majority of Saturday collections and most people were meeting my mum rather than me. I would get home and mum would say things like “I wish you’d been there – they really loved it” or “I wish you’d seen their face!” Yeah, Liz! Me too!But now I finally have met so many of you and shared in your excitement of seeing your cake for the first time. Yes, it’s really good for my ego but it's more than that - seeing your cake bringing you joy really means the world to me and I hope to keep doing that for you and more.

I’m a lot calmer

Really, I am! Occasionally I take on way too much, or a certain element or technique on a cake might try to get the better of me. And sometimes, at 1am in the morning, I may question my life choices and wonder what the hell I am doing. But although those moments aren’t ideal I am able to deal with them in a much healthier way than I could a couple of years ago. Previously, late nights or plans gone awry would have come attached with a lot of shouting and many tears. And while there is some mild huffing and puffing, the tears are few and far between now and it’s something I am so proud of. I’m still more attached to the outcome of a cake than I maybe should be but I have a much better grasp on my ability and have found I can rely on my logic a lot more to fix a problem. As for the late nights... Deep down I know things will always get done and get done well. Even if I don’t get home until 2:30am and then leave the house again 5 hours later… But that’s what 3 hour Saturday afternoon power naps are for, right?)

I’m More Aware of My Brand Values

Brand values! Listen to me. Yes, I have been doing some marketing training! Don’t get me wrong, imposter syndrome and comparison-itus are often rife in the bakery kitchen. There are so many talented bakers now and it’s so easy to get caught in the trap of comparison and self-doubt. Why don’t my cakes look like that? Why am I not working with those people…? Why are they more successful than me? I know I’ve spent too much time on Instagram when these thoughts start taking up too much space in my head. However, I am more aware of what my voice is now amongst the many other cake decorators out there. I love a novelty fondant cake; something full of character, but I would also happily spend hours on end making sugar flowers for something extra pretty and special, and I am grateful to have people who want to work with me because of those things.I enjoy a silly Instagram story and, as you can see from this essay, wearing my heart on my sleeve! And I value customer service and making people happy above all else.

All in all it has been a great year, including some personal highlights (getting married and visiting Japan!) and I have had the time and the space to create a whole heap of ideas on how I want to take Tallulah’s Bakery forward. I have some some really great plans that I hope you will love and I have been really looking at what is holding me back and how I can move forward, one bit at a time. For now, I know that the most important thing is to keep showing up for you lovely lot and giving you and your cakes the time and love they deserve.Thanks for being wonderful,


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