Moving On With The Bakery School Website
It’s a challenge I have come across many a time, one that daunted me in my private and professional career many times.
At work there's a boss, someone who’s been there and done it before, he or she can guide you to make you better in your role, or simply a better person.
Outside of the 9 to 5 there are family, friends and partners to fall back on.
How to move from the planning to the doing stage
When it comes to joining a new company, building an extension to your property or in my case starting a business, there’s a new set of rules you don’t know.
Yes, there are rules or legislations listed on starter packs or government websites. But as we all know, rules are not always followed in “The Real World”, often there’s “shortcuts” or “bending” to make life easier for management.
Not that they always do accelerate efficiency in the short or long term. But it’s part of the culture.
It’s happened many a time where I’ve watched a training video to then the following day be told by senior management to do the opposite. It’s the same in dealing with accounts, negotiating leases and planning permission.
I’ve found this out first hand.
That’s why these things are all so stressful. Your entering into the Wild West, there’s not really much that your family, friends or previous work colleagues can help you with.
They don’t understand the experience you are going through.
So it’s down to you to work it out.
You have to decide if you have got it in you to persevere.
The easy part was the planning, the interview or the application. Now’s squeaky bum time! Are you going to see through what you started? Or give up/ ask for your old job back?
My current issue is:
“Have I got what it takes to move from planning a business, to actually rolling my sleeves up, pushing my bollocks out, and starting one.”
For the last 12 months, this idea of launching a bakery school has blossomed from just a “maybe I could” to a full blown business plan with a solid marketing campaign.
But now there is a moment for pause and reflection, it’s action time… Time to rock
Or is it? The ideas of self doubt slip in, will it work? Have I got the right equipment? Do I have the time? The skills?
After all, designing a business and starting one are 2 different animals. The first involves stress, planning and a lot of knowledge grabbing.
The second involves balls.
Balls and consistency
Because now it’s doing time. All my hard work could end up like a reverse Big Bang, disappearing in an explosion of error. That said, so could my bank balance. In my case, I’ve lived and learnt this before.
If I fail, it’s not going to look good to anyone, I just can’t.
For months I’ve been waiting to get a bloody oven, and now I have one on the floor of my flat. It's waiting to be wired up so I can use it for the first time. It feels a bit daunting. Like the momentum has stopped.
For the pressure is relaxed, I’m not waiting for anything else. It’s down to me now to make the magic happen and learn the rules.
For it’s the new rules and routine that are the challenge when starting a new job, business or life changing event. Not doing the thing that you’ve trained and developed possibly for years to enable you to enter your new opportunity.
The change of environment can be daunting. Everything happens slowly. You’re all smiles for the first couple of days and then… The reality dawns….
How to approach your new opportunity
Here’s what I do:
Build relationships with key people
You’ve not achieved anything yet in their eyes, you’re on trial to your audience. The best way to get people on side is to talk to them. Try and get to know what they do outside of the job and share experiences.
Get a to do list
Write one every evening for the next day. This de-stresses your mind from having to remember the burning issues that needed doing. They still get done when the intensity wears off the following day.
Finish off small jobs first
The ones that add to a to do list in the same way as the larger ones, but a quick to knock off. Things like editing my blog page so it suits mobile browsing better or, changing my homepage so it looks more professional.
They can be done quickly and with relative ease. So get them done first to clear your list.
Just do it
Sometimes we put things off when we aren’t sure of which way to do it, or whether we are going to upset someone. I’ve found dithering is a way to lose people.
They start doubting your ability to get things done and the energy disappears. You drop lower down the list of priorities.
So just do something that shows you mean business.
Remove money stress
It’s often overlooked, especially by high earners but not having to check your bank balance to see if you can afford your holiday in Mexico with your new pay packet or perhaps the nice taps you wanted in your bathroom is going to distract you.
Have a financial plan that you know won’t leave you broke. And stick to it. At least until you are settled in your new activity.
For the next step...
These tips will help you reduce your stress and anxiety levels when starting something new. And above all help you get things done.
It’s hard to stick to, but when you feel like a bunny in the headlights, go back and read these 5 points to refresh yourself and carry on that momentum.
For it’s you that will look the fool if it all goes wrong.
Building A Lesson Plan For A New Online Business
If this is the first post that you've found, then feel free to look back at some of the previous ones to get a feel for the situation. If you haven’t the time, no worries, here's a quick overview:
I’m planning to design and record a how to bake artisan bread course alongside writing this blog and making the website look good.
The loan I requested got rejected as I’m in too much debt, so I’m going to have to do this whilst working the day job. Once I get the course built or clear the debt to reapply for a loan.
The first option will most likely be the avenue I go.
The business plan is really strong, my financial position is hmmmn... Fucking Awful.
Last night I was killing a bit of time by scrolling my Facebook feed when I thought I should really start planning the course in more detail.
I’ve done a lesson plan, but well, it's all good to list the videos, but I have little clarity of what is going in each video. See, I want to teach the students of the school as best as I can. I want them to feel like it’s one to one tuition.
Together, the student and I will go through every stage of the process. The struggles, we'll have together, the successes, we'll share. All along the road of becoming an artisan baker.
It shouldn’t resemble an old-school classroom. Learning new skills should be combined with practical repetition to get the trainee to be able to master the skill.
It needs to be entertaining as well, I can't bore the audience. It’s got to be fun.
In the course, I want to take new artisan bakers from start (no baking experience, or one recipe wonder bakers), to finish (capable of baking any bread possible).
To do this, I should share a cool new thing, get it practised, then once ingrained, move onto another cool thing.
When I first mapped out the course, I quickly (possibly recklessly) got started with recording the first videos.
Despite them containing loads of nuggets, it was just me talking for hours! I love myself, but I was bored after 10 minutes.
There had to be a better way.
If the course is bought by a hobbyist baker (non professional) they are going to expect to get in and start kneading as soon as possible.
They would be asking for their money back very quickly. I can't have that. I'm sure I can do much better.
So, I’ll make a better plan!
Yes. This plan will have more lessons, more recipes, fun, energy and above all, better value than anyone purchasing can expect. It's going to give amazing value for money.
There are hundreds of types of bread out there, I will use more of them to write the course.
Then those that use similar skills in the methods can be bunched together, to develop the students' skill.
They can practice until they get good. And get access to even more recipes for keeps.
I’ll get on to it tomorrow, by the end of the day, I will have a baking lesson plan.
How to build a website for a bakery
Whilst suffering from the logistical problem of owning a bakery without an oven, I’ve been building a website. It’s built with WordPress, using Thrive’s content builder and squared theme.
I have l used this format before, this was when I dabbled with starting an online marketing business.
To get inspiration for the layout I wanted to aim for, I hit google to find some random websites. I found Schools, Personal Coaches, and Cafes. They give me a few ideas of what works and what doesn’t.
Critiquing someone else’s site, like any type of work is easy. But when attempting to build my own with the minimal experience I found it stupidly harder than expected.
I wanted to include everything- Blog posts, course information, baking tips and call to actions!
But what order will work for me? Do I need all of them?
After a first, and then a second draft, it got everything included….
But it looked a bit crap.
It was a far distance from the sleek destination a modern online business needs.
But I wasn’t sure what was wrong.
I’m always amazed at how fresh pair of eyes can make you focus on what you need to do. After taking a month since last “playing” with it I realised just what I need to do. So I got the ball rolling this week.
I cleared a lot of the previous content, rewrote some whilst turning them into blog posts.
I’ve also separated blog posts into categories so I can have multiple themes of posts displayed across the site.
One thing that was previously important to me were the blank testimonials, but I realised, for now, it is less so - it’s going to be new when I launch, so let’s not kid anyone.
A proper tidy up started...
The homepage now is looking much more snazzy and to the point.
Whilst I removed a lot of text from it now it looks much more active, the content is more concise and the design is interesting to me -so I’m more than happy.
I tend to still keep up with the latest website building trends as much as I can.
A video tutorial I found on YouTube about building WordPress websites mentioned something I had previously ignored.
It’s true though, “The more things going on like changing graphics, colours or animations, the more time it takes to load.”
It makes sense. A slow loader is downgraded by Google, plus the pause can frustrate visitors so they leave the site (bounce). It's pretty much unnecessary too.
Best not get too fancy then!
...And then ONE more go...
After the third (I think) run of the site, I decided to just do the whole thing again. I got a logo sorted, removed gaps where nice pictures were supposed to go (but hadn't) and cut it back down.
For this time, may be my last attempt- I think it's great now!
I Set Out To Achieve A Long-Term Goal, And Failing So Far!
Back in January this year, I set out to achieve a long-term goal, and failing so far! I did all the “right” things, well so I’m told anyway.
The long-term goal was down into smaller tasks, I could enjoy completing them daily or as monthly stepping stones to finally get to the full launch of the site.
I was focused on achieving these targets and ignored the end goal.
It's a long way away. If I just stick to the schedule, I’ll get the cream.
After my request for a business loan was declined, I decided to focus on delivering great content in the blog posts and start recording the lessons. I could do that without any funding.
I set two goals for myself, they were:
- Start recording the videos in June with the end of July as the deadline to finish half
- Complete a 90-day blog writing challenger.
And in both, I have failed.
The videos have not been started, and posting regular blog post updates has kinda died too. I posted my first one in 2 weeks a few days ago, the same thing happened two weeks ago too!
Anyway, I’m glad the loan got declined and I didn’t resign from work.
The money would have disappeared on my wages by now. The long-term goal would have ended in a bankruptcy if that had of happened!
The baking schedule is impossible to achieve!
It feels like there’s not enough time, and like I’m failing. To most people’s standards, I’m probably working bloody hard, but it doesn’t feel like that to me.
I’m not getting done what I need to do. Perhaps I’ve got a bit stressed?
How got into this situation
The past 12 months have been a period of massive self-discovery. I’ve learnt what makes me tick, who my positive influences are and what areas/personalities drag me down.
It’s taught me what to do, who to surround myself with, and who to not.
The process has turned me back into a proper action taker once again, always pushing to improve like I was a few years ago.
I’ve started to feel similar to a couple of years ago when I was working on my first businesses business plan,
I’m an “On the go” action taker again.
Since the failure of it, the emotional scars have brought me down. Recently though, I’ve started to feel back to my best and finding the drive to start this “learn to bake” course has been a big driver of it.
Over my rehabilitation, I’ve listened to many motivational speakers.
They speak with such clarity and confidence, I’m jealous, I want that too!
But aside from their public speaking strengths, I’ve been absorbed by many of their attitudes to attack life and run businesses.
The two seem to go together, healthy body, healthy mind. Good personal life makes a great business life. It’s a trait to follow that I’ve stolen from the successful.
Yes… That’s nice, but why do I feel stressed out about my long-term goal?
For a couple of months, despite having plenty of drive to achieve a better future, I’ve felt it necessary to relax a little, recover and do things with more energy when I’m ready to.
It’s helped me stop punishing myself mentally and I feel more healthy and confident. It’s kinda like quality over quantity.
So all should be great, you’d think?
Well not quite, all this relaxing plus a new girlfriend has meant I’ve not kept up with the schedule.
No daily blog posts, not started recording in June and well the website needs a bit of love too. It’s like a yo-yo, up and down.
Some weeks I have got enough done, but others, most, it’s not even been close.
But maybe it’s not too bad?
Let's just take everything in for a moment. Despite the frustration of missing my deadlines, it’s not like I’ve not been moving forward. Here’s what I have done:
Read a few quality bread baking books to refresh some technical points.
I’ve also changed the course quite radically, by ditching the mixer and going hand powered at the start.
Gained a clearer idea of what each lesson is going to involve (lesson plan).
It’s going to make it better. It’s just frustrating my long-term goal is not close to being done.
How I have improved my schedule to increase my quality
I entered a 90-day challenge of blog writing, that’s a blog post a day for 90 days. It started off well, for about 20 days, then I started to get frustrated with writing short “updates” or diary-like entries. I didn’t have the time for any SEO tricks or keyword research. As a new site, I’m getting very little to no traffic on my site.
It dawned on me, “WHO IS GOING TO READ THEM?”
Around this point, my motivation for writing in this style dropped. But then I read a book...
Self discovery with the help of a book
You’ve probably understood that this recent period of Gareth Busby has been one of self-discovery. I’ve been trying to understand myself and what more so, makes me tick. It lead me to read books and a life-changing moment happened when I started reading (well, read to by Audible) The Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters.
Since then, life’s been a roller coaster of reflection
Evaluating myself was something I used to be really good at. It was important to push my organisation and social skills each day.
But it’s dropped from my usual habits over the past few years.
Like when after 2 years your new car becomes not so new anymore.
You don’t bother to clean and polish regularly to keep the showroom look, it becomes forgotten about and unimportant
Since my previous bakery business ran me to the ground like a deer on the road facing a speeding tractor, I’ve struggled to get my confidence as strong was.
Found it hard running my life in the same momentum it used to since.
There have been periods where all goes well and I hit weekly and daily goals, and then again many weeks they’ve been missed.
But after listing to the book, I understand a lot more about how I behave towards certain challenges.
Things like when I’m irritated, I often feel the need to binge on alcohol to feel normal again, or when under pressure, I’m frequently unable to say a coherent sentence with confidence.
Learning why this phenomenon happens has been a powerful experience. I intend to use this knowledge bomb to pick me up when I’m down, or feeling frustrated.
The trick, as I interpret it is to stop worrying about what to say or reliving previous situations. It is to start to manage your chimp and allow your brain or “real” personality to come through.
I’m training myself, it might take a while, but it’ll be worth it.
I also intend to focus on keeping a healthy mind and body. It will help with managing my chimp and increase my energy levels.
But what about achieving the long-term goals for this site?
Yep, true, I’ve deviated slightly. It’s an issue I’ve not answered, yet!
Working to achieve a long-term goal without getting stressed is a test of commitment. To not do rushed jobs to make deadlines, is even harder!
Here’s my strategy, the way to get stuff done.
Instead of doing a post a day (or not, as it turned out), I’m going to commit to offering my best work for a period of time every day.
I’m going to start with 30 minutes a day, if for whatever reason I’m busy or I have my son with me and I can’t do it.
I’ll add it on to the following day.
Changing my way means quality instead of quantity. I can do keyword research or research some content.
All in search of fulfilling my long-term goal of supporting as many new bakers as possible.
When I started out blogging, I really wanted to build a big website with hundreds of bread blogs.
As time goes by in my long-term target
Having well-written blog articles packed with information of interest to a baker, is going to better serve them.
30 minutes a day was roughly the time that I spent writing the short posts previously, so I’m asking for the same commitment as before, just with the goal of quality instead of quantity.
When it comes to recording the videos, JFDI comes to mind, and if they go wrong, do it again until I have the first 4 videos recorded, trimmed and ready to be edited by a tech guy.
Hopefully, I will achieve my long-term goal sooner than I felt I would last week, I’ll see how I get on.
I've also been chatting to a friend of mine about working together, lets see what happens!
Written by Gareth
"I'm looking to share my passion in artisan baking with others"