Tuesday August 30th 2016 | 13:04

7 tips for working from home….

A how to guide...

HOMEPAGE

Running a cake business and working from home sounds like the dream to a lot of bakers – and it is, when it all goes smoothly. While swapping the office for your kitchen can be idyllic, relaxing and flexible, with flexibility comes certain challenges. No one is there to hold you accountable and make sure you get the work done. Equally, when your home is your business it can also feel like you’re always working and always need to be replying to emails and answering phone calls no matter what time it is. To make managing your cake business from home easier, we’ve put together seven top tips for working from home. Are you ready to get the work/life balance you’ve always wanted and turn cakes into a career?

  1. Give yourself a work space

Part of the appeal of having your own cake business is to escape the office and your 9-5 ties, but that doesn’t mean escaping a professional work space entirely. It’s really helpful to give yourself an area that you use for work to get you into the right mindset when it comes to doing the less fun aspects of the job – think updating your accounts or responding to order enquiries. Even if you just set yourself up a little desk area, it’ll help you to focus and commit to getting the jobs done that you’d rather put off. When no one’s standing over your shoulder making sure you do it, having a space like this can make a big difference.

  1. Stay organised with a calendar and diary

You wouldn’t run a restaurant without taking note of when dinner reservations were made or supply deliveries were due, so don’t run your cake business like that either. A simple way to keep yourself organised is with a calendar or diary, in print, on your phone, or with an app – whatever works best for you. Keep notes not just of when orders are due for delivery, but also of your baking schedule right through from your ingredients run to decorating and boxing up. This will help you to balance your workload of cakes throughout the week and batch up tasks to be more efficient. It’s also worth noting down the dates deposits and final balances are payable, if this applies, so you can keep on track and make sure you’re being paid in full on time.

  1. Treat your kitchen like a professional one

Whether this means doing some extra cleaning, investing in an additional fridge or simply using separate storage for your business tins, equipment and ingredients, it’s important to treat your kitchen like a professional one. You have a hygiene standard to maintain for the safety of your cake business and your customers, so keep in mind that your kitchen isn’t just your home kitchen anymore and make sure all your other family members in the household know that too.

  1. Set yourself a few office hours

You’ve already given yourself an office space to focus in, but it might still be easier to let those admin tasks build up. We’re all guilty of making one list, then swapping items to another list because we really don’t want to do them just yet. When admin builds up, it just gets trickier because you have an even bigger mountain of paperwork, receipts and invoices to climb. Instead, set yourself a couple of office hours every week where you’ll only focus on getting those niggling tasks done. You’ll feel so much better for it and have a much more organised cake business as a result!

  1. Set yourself working and not working hours

When your home is also your workplace, it can be hard to switch off completely from your cake business, especially if you’re working slightly unusual hours to fit in around childcare or family commitments. Be as firm with yourself as you can and make sure you allow yourself hours when you are completely switched off from work. Don’t be tempted to stay up all night replying to emails – part of the cakes dream is having more freedom than you’ll find in a traditional 9-5 job, so use it! Make sure you put the phone down for at least a few hours every day, keep a healthy work/life balance and above all remember that you’re allowed a day off too.

  1. Keep track of all your receipts, income and expenses

So many small businesses dread the time of year when tax returns are due. Why? Because that mountain of admin that’s been put off suddenly needs tackling, and fast. If you’ve been following the tips above, your cake business paperwork is already pretty neat and tidy, but adding this one extra tip will make the financial side of it so much easier, and who doesn’t want that? Make sure you keep all of your receipts, income and expenses in a folder, in date order. Not only will this make doing your accounts simpler, it will also make them easy to find if you were ever asked to provide some of them for inspection. Scan copies onto your computer so you’ve got back up if the originals are lost or damaged.

  1. Make sure your home cake business is visible

Most people don’t put up a huge sign outside their front door when they open a home cake business, so you likely don’t have the visual advertising or passing trade of a shopfront bakery. Make sure you keep your cake business visible by showcasing it online, with your own website or by using the fast and simple Mums Bake Cakes baker’s profile. It’ll help potential customers to know you’re there and contact you easily, so you’re able to win more cake orders.

Bakers, what’s your top tip for working from home?

Blog by Knead To Dough commissioned by Mums Bake Cakes

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