Today’s podcast is a special treat (pun somewhat intended!) Beth Walburger is the owner of Little Delights Cakes – a small business where she creates cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops. She does it with tons of artistic flair too!
Sarah and I were so excited to welcome our first “foodie” mom to the show. There are certainly some unique challenges to running a food-based business, and Beth guides us through many of those.
Beth’s business started when she began spending more time at home due to her youngest two sons’ disabilities. Knowing that she wanted to be around to care for them but also wanting something just for her, Little Delights grew from a hobby to a small business that helps their family.
(One important note: Beth’s business is still considered a hobby with income. Listen to the podcast to discover the important distinction and how it helps Beth to keep doing what she loves!)
Listen to Discover:
01:30 – How Beth Crafted a Business that Works Around Her Family’s Needs
03:35 – The One Method Beth Uses to Stave Off Overwhelm
07:10 – Product Planning for a Food-Based Business
09:22 – How Beth Surpassed 60,000 Followers on Pinterest!
16:35 – Seeking Guidance for Her Business
24:22 – A Hobby with Income + Making the IRS Happy!
33:46 – Her Business Advice (it’s both crazy simple and insanely difficult to follow!)
Crafting a Business with Family First
Beth’s fourth son was born with special needs. With a tracheotomy and a feeding tube, their family’s life was drastically changed. Beth was home more often taking care of her son. 18 months later, their youngest son was also born with some of the same special needs.
What started as a hobby (making more elaborate birthday cakes for her own kids, creating the perfect frosting recipe, and emailing her friends to offer her services) became a small business as word of mouth spread throughout their California town and her own friends shared her talents with their connections on social media.
Too Much Growth – How Beth Staves off Overwhelm
As word of her talent at creating the perfect cake spread, Beth started to feel completely overwhelmed.
She avoids this by simply setting a firm cut-off date for more elaborate cakes. She’s completely honest with customers who may want something fancy on short notice. She simply can’t do it.
Beth says that most customers understand that if they want something very elaborate and specific, they need to get in touch with her many weeks in advance. If not, she can offer simple cupcakes or something else.
Simply saying “no” when she can’t handle any more orders has been a huge help to Beth.
(Sometimes it’s hard for us to say “no” when we feel like we’re turning business away, but when you have talent like Beth, the business will continue to roll in! Beth prioritizes her family and sanity by saying “no” when the time calls for it.)
Product Planning and Production
Inventory is a completely different beast with a food-based business. Beth’s secret is to make the cakes ahead, wrap them really, really well, and freeze them for up to two weeks. She decorates her cakes the day before the event. Fondant can be created off of the cake in advance as well.
(Check out this adorable Frozen Cake Beth made! Wow, she's got talent!)
60,000 Pinterest Followers – How She Did it!
- Focus on a niche (hers is cake decorating!)
- Be consistent (Beth pins for about an hour on most days)
- Find community boards related to your niche
- Request to join community boards by contacting the board owner
- On community boards – don’t just pin your own content, pin helpful content from other pinners too.
In 2 years, Beth has built a following of over 61,000 (as of the podcast airdate, 9/30/2014)
(This is pretty incredible since many bloggers like Abby consider Pinterest to be their highest traffic-referrer. Way to go, Beth!)
Guidance for Her Business
At each step in her business, Beth re-evaluates things, prays about them, and asks herself, “do I feel good about this? Should I move forward?” So far, the answer has always been yes.
Beth says her first goal is to be a mom, and the other stuff is (no pun intended!) icing on the cake.
Hobby with Income + Happy IRS
Beth is able to work out of her home kitchen, because she is technically a “Hobby with Income.” If she wanted to get a business license, she’d have to re-do her kitchen in order to adhere to some very strict health codes.
Some moms in the food industry choose to rent out a kitchen so that they can be an official business.
Beth says, there’s a certain amount of money you can make before you have to be a business. It’s a pretty high level of income, so she’s not worried about it at this point.
As she says, being a hobby with income is a good way to go when you’re getting started.
(Seriously, what a great idea! For moms out there considering a food business, there might not be as many barriers to entry as you think!)
Best Business Advice
(Our takeaway: Passion + Value = Business Growth)
Beth's Website & Social Media
Wasn't it fun getting to know Beth and her story? What do you think: Will you give Pinterest some more thought and serious strategy? What about taxes and business details? Is there anything you'll change?
Let's chat in the comments!
~ Beth Anne