I have a secret.
Many of the things I know about running a successful cake business, I learnt from photographers and the photography industry.
I learnt from other people and places but photographers are very similar to cake decorators in many ways.
How? I will save that for a future post but this practice I want to share with you is something I see photographers do.
They do personal projects.
The three main reasons are to
- grow in their skill,
- break into new markets and
- as a creative outlet.
And now you can apply the same principle and practice to your cake hobby or business.
But first what is a personal cake project?
It is when you as a cake decorator decides to make a cake or set of cakes – not for a customer but for their own personal and business purposes. So these cakes are entirely your design. You have full control of what you want it to be and how you want it to look.
A personal cake project can open up new doors for your cake business in 7 specific ways.
1. You get to try something new
It could be that cool new tool or ingredient, it could be a technique you learnt that you want to add your own twist to it. It could be a class you want to teach and you want to make the demo cake or maybe you just want to try out a new cake flavour combination. In all cases, you have the freedom without pressure to do something new.
This cake below was because I decided to try a new tool called CakeFrame. (See the tutorial here.)
2. Build your portfolio.
This is one reason that has a direct financial benefit. This is particularly helpful if there is a particular kind of cake you want to be known for. Another reason could be to create a set of easy cake designs that people can order on short notice.
These cake could be seasonal – Christmas, Valentine, Easter or
or for specific occasions – birthdays, baby showers, christening, anniversary cakes
or a theme – chocolate, flowers, figures, buildings… the possibilities are endless.
- Plan your project
- Photograph it nicely
- Add it to your portfolio – website, flyers, hire-me pack, social media
Your portfolio would then help you Showcase your unique style, introduce a class you want to teach, sell a seasonal cake collection.
3. Gets you out of your comfort Zone.
This is similar to number one. We can get caught up doing the same kinds of cakes over and over again. It maybe unimaginative customers or just habit but once in a while it helps to shake things up. Giving yourself a new cake project every few months is a great way to keep your creativity fresh.
4. Helps you put yourself in the place of the customer
This works well with things like wedding cakes. By making yourself “the customer” you get a unique perspective or what your expectations are compared to the end result.
5. Find Your Unique Style
There are some things that you can only discover by doing. When you are creating your cake project you will be sure to find the things you love doing, and the things you don’t enjoy. In my case, take figure modelling for instance – I can do it but I don’t love doing it – it makes me cranky. But some people love all that fiddly stuff. Not me.
6. Helps you research what is out there.
New techniques, trends, tools, materials. The act of planning your personal cake project makes you start by researching. checking out what is out there. For instance if you decide to make a dog cake, you can start by googling dog cake and take it from there. Then you can improvise, recreate of take bits and pieces from different places and create something completely unique to you.
7. Gets you attention
If you intentionally plan, create and photograph your cake project, you are able to create something that puts your work in the best light, attracts your dream customer. People begin to recognise your cakes. There are cake decorators that are literally famous because of one cake. This is what I want for you. I want you to create something -that thing that has been an idea in your mind. That cake that you have said to yourself what if I did this or added this or changed this…
8. Attract your Dream customers
What cake do you want to be famous for? what cake do you want to teach?
9. Can lead to paid work
I should have said this as the 10th thing but here is the best reason – to have fun! Yes, the creative freedom you are giving yourself. no pressure, no customer breathing down your neck, no deadline of cake delivery, free to make mistakes, free to change direction. this is a valuable time that you are giving to yourself and it is a great way to develop your confidence while reconnecting to the reason why you fell in love with cake in the first place.