Trying To Start An Online Bakery School

I’ve been keeping a very focused head this week. The day job has been shit, to be honest, it’s driving me on to get this going. As if I needed more motivation.

I’ve been focusing on the voice lessons I started last month and creating the business plan so I can get funding to get the oven and cover the initial marketing wastage.

I did buy some yeast the other day but realised it’s pointless baking any longer without an oven. From the previous weeks of “practice” I’m confident I have the recipes nailed.

The initial ones of the “How to bake” course are pretty much wrapped up.

As part of my tweaks for the course, I’ve redone the lesson plan, which meant the videos I recorded last month have been scrapped.

Creating The Format For A Bakery Training Video Course

One thing I’ve learned by watching many a marketing guru and compare them to youtube wannabes is that they may offer the same content, but the big names that are associated in this (and any) industry deliver the knowledge bombs in a way that inspires the watcher to take action.

I’ve got the videos I produce for the course enjoyable to watch.

Have me talking for hours before I start showing any practical stuff is very uninspiring for those that want to just do it as a bit of fun.

I’m not looking to turn it into a comedy, or pretend I’m hosting a Saturday evening television show. It needs to be engaging in. My personality will shine anyway.

The new format I’m now working towards for the course will be to bake simple recipes, whilst talking about the process. That’s how I can share the theoretical knowledge in more digestible chunks.

So much better this way!

Also because I’m doing something, they just feel more natural to record.

Tomorrow I’m going to send my business plan off to Grant, he’s a business mentor for startups. ​

They are a government-provided solution, who support people like me to get started, and get funding.

Let’s hope he likes what I have done.

How I plan to outsource the marketing in my business

I have slowed my blog writing right down recently. It’s not I don’t want to do it, I do. It’s just that nothings really happened.

I’ve been waiting to finish my business plan, yet there’s always a small change I realise I need to make which ends up making me go back through the whole thing to make it work.

I’ve spent many hours on it. It’s now 28 pages long, and over 8000 words. Initial feedback from those that I have shared it with is good. They like the amount of detail I have put into it.

I’ve also had a tiny little distraction, with a woman. Gorgeous, positive and fascinating, life has taken an unexpected turn. But it’s even more exciting!

Originally I planned to do all the marketing myself, I have much of the knowledge required and am interested in learning more.

But then I realised just how much time it was going to take, and also how making rookie mistakes could end up in losing my cash.

I also believe that having people with an invested interest in my success can only help push me to make it be as successful as it can be.

I have got in touch with a Search Engine Optimisation and Pay Per Click company that I had previously spoken to about my marketing business.

I really liked the no pressure sales call, whilst learning loads of insights into the techniques the would use to promote my website.

I do understand what they are doing, I probably could save a few quid by doing it myself.

But I need to be the manager of the project, I’m the content creator, and I need to be fully engaged in delivering the recipes and training to my audience.

So letting someone else that I trust to do a better job than I can is going to benefit the business making a profit. The company has given me a proposal that fits my initial ambitions and budget.

I feel a weight has lifted. It’s becoming a business now, not just a bedroom teenage dream. 

Will I Be Able To Start This Bakery Business Next Month?

It’s coming to the business end of this startup, the part where I either get the funding, or I don’t.

I’ve applied for a start-up loan, nothing too extravagant, £6,000. This will cover the cost of my oven, some graphic design and video editing work for the website. It will be mostly used to cover the startup marketing costs.

At the end of the day, I can have the best course in the world, but if no-one can find it, I’m not going to make a living out of it.

In order to get the loan, I got in touch with a local business coach, provided by the government for these sort of scenarios.

My business plan went back and forth until we were both happy with it. It’s great having someone to bounce from in situations like this.

Sometimes what is in your head, does not always come out the same way as you think.

Have you ever received feedback from a job interview that they didn’t think you had enough knowledge in an area, despite it being your strongest skill set?

It’s definitely happened to me, and in the business plan, one of the first set of questions I received was “where can I buy the bread physically?” I realised, this was the reason you get a second set of eyes to look at it (P.S. there is no plan to sell the bread, just the training).

The next step was to send the information to Julie, a funding specialist.

Julie checked the plan, asked for a couple of alterations and further detail which was justified in my opinion.

Then she took copies of my passport, utilities bill, cv, bank statements... Hang on, this is where we might hit a hurdle….

My credit rating is shit. 

I get a one out of five, poor. I’ve not managed my credit cards well, I’ve lived beyond my means for too long.

Not crazy, and not every month.

But I have put a few holidays on credit cards, never to pay them off, a few car services and paying things out to get my book finished here and there have created a bit of a deficit. A year ago, this was much better.

Still, I have a bad feeling about how things have slid out of control.

I really think I will get rejected. If it goes through, then great. If not, I am currently working on a secondary plan. I’ll still do it, but it may take a little bit longer to get where I want to.

I find out their decision within 7 days.

Can a baker and a painter work together?

I spent the afternoon with a friend today. He also is starting a business in his passion, painting. He’s going at a slightly different angle than I am. Instead of building a sales funnel that leads to a course, he’s creating content first.

Then he’s worrying about what he’s going to sell. As his project is art, he is getting some sales through the occasional custom order.

His orders come through his content marketing or from his friendship network.

He’s not creating adverts, nor spending money on marketing, he is attracting people by sharing what he’s doing.

How this differs to my bakery coaching site is that I am building the course, then I am going to invest in marketing. It’s just the other way around.

True this blog is in a way my content marketing, but I know the effects of this will not come into effect for around 12 months, besides I like writing his blog.

It keeps me motivated, focused on baking and I like the opportunity of developing my writing skills.

So it’s exciting stuff today as we give up on trying to hang a door with only a screwdriver and discuss our plans for business.

What is great, is we share the same passion of doing things properly, offloading knowledge and are realistic on our short and long term goals.

It’s great to be around like minded people. It often opens doors, and well in this case it won’t right now for me, but you never know what might happen in the future.

And hey, it was great to have a beer too!

Waiting after submitting my bakery business plan...

So this is the waiting game. The loan application has been sent, I’m really happy with the plan and the timescales. But it does have one flaw...

My financial record is in it.

When my previous business started to crack, I resorted to not paying myself in a bid to keep it afloat.

This led to personal debt, the following 2 to 3 months after I closed the doors but before I got a job weren't better either.

I was desperate to make up for lost time. This lead to even more credit cards and overdrafts.

This period of unemployment was my first taste of freedom for a year, it was my duty to enjoy myself. I was in no head space to control myself!

Since that time I have struggled to maintain my desired lifestyle going whilst living within my monthly salary. I need to grow up, and fast, otherwise my dream of running a business is not going to happen.

And that’s what I have realised this week. I need to save my coffee and beer money and instead pay off my debts.

But for now, for this loan, I may have left it too late. Fortunately I’m now in a position where there is no more things I need to buy, no book to edit or website fees to pay.

I’ve got plenty to do with what I have got. Bar the oven. I do need an oven.

I do need to make the courses, pretty soon and for that the oven is required. But there is plenty I can do in the mean time to get things going.

This blog is one, creating recipes and a social media presence like my friend Phil Can Draw, are others.

I will get the decision from the bank on Monday, it’s Thursday today. I believe I won’t get it, purely because of my financial situation and my credit rating.

I’m expecting to have to think of a plan b, perhaps using a credit card that get the oven. I really don’t want to get into more personal debt, my ambition is currently to reduce it, but I may be forced to do so if there’s no alternative.

But for now, I’m going to relax, enjoy the sun and wait to see what my future holds for me.

The Response From My Loan Application

Today I finally received a response regarding my business loan application. I've been waiting patiently for days, and nervously for a few more.

Originally I was told a decision would take 7 days, however, it's often less than this. After hitting day number 9 from submitting the application I was getting frustrated.

But that day whilst at work I received a missed call from Julie. Julie is the liaison manager that had been dealing with my case, I'm not sure how she gets paid, commission I guess, I suppose that's not important.

All know is I gave it to her and she sent it off.

It just want to see if it's accepted.

I find it odd as on this occasion after calling and getting no answer from me, there was no answer message.

She must have wanted to avoid having the conversation on the phone?

It must be bad news?

I checked my emails half hour later and, as expected, there was one from Julie just ten minutes previous.

“They are going not willing to back me with the loan due to my financial circumstances, I did not declare the two voluntary agreements in my name and so they would not like to add to my debt.”

I think there might have been something about fraud in their too. But never mind. It’s a no.

I did expect this to happen. Despite pre-empting the result, maybe the email was harshly written but, I got a little emotional.

No tears, but I felt blood rush to my head like a teenager having their first cigarette. 

The three-way conversation with my work colleagues I was having fell into my preferential focus. This has really affected me.

Stupid really. 

I knew that lending me the money would have been stupid of the bank. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t have been the first time this had happened (check out my book).

So I'm going to cut it here for this post, emotions are spinning around like I expect a bad LSD trip would resemble.

I'm going to have to replan. 

I’m Running Out Of Time To Fit In Baking Bread!

So Saturday night it is, after a shitty shift (10–8) I’m pretty knackered and in need of a glass of wine, film and the sofa.

But no, my life is not like that. There are two or three things I need to do tonight before I can relax.. I mean, I have to be realistic, I can’t do them all. Something is not going to get done.

I need to get my book changed on Amazon. I only used half the title in the description. I expected to be able to change it later. But you can’t, I’m going to have to republish it, This time with the correct name.

I also need to format it for Kindle as well. I don’t think this is hard to do. I think it started and well, somehow along the line, I didn’t finish. My friend is asking for it as he prefers it to paper, so I had better get it done.

So that’s my book, now I have to write a blog post, which, I’m doing right now. I am thinking you’re going to start getting bored of me rabbiting on about my life so, I’m gonna have to get a bit more bready in here.

To do this, I’m going to create some articles about bread baking. This could also lead to some infographics and quotes that could be taken for social media. I just wanna be helpful to anyone in need.

Comparing the content that is around now at the top of Google to the style I like to produce is slightly daunting.

I like to keep it as simple as possible but in the case of “temperature in bread baking,” the top post is top, largely due to the amount of waffle written.

To get a higher ranking, I may have to write even more off-tangent stuff, that’s not my style.

I want to create informative posts from now on, I understand that they going to take a lot longer to create and craft than the style I have been doing.

If I use a technique I used before where I do one blog post on one subject, then another blog on a related area, do this a few times, then combine to make one big one that teaches the reader so much info, whilst a way of not overwhelming myself by having too much work.

Slow and steady wins the race ehh?

That’s not my usual motto, but I’m starting to believe those around me that have had success that way.

After all, writing a book is a definite example where steadiness and taking time to get it right is paramount to actually finishing.

Lastly, I also mentioned that I would pick up India tonight. She is at a rugby party and, I’m not quite sure whether she wants to introduce me to all her friends or whether she just wants a lift?

Either way, I offered, and she wants to take me up on it.

But hey, as I said before, I can’t fit all of this in!!

There’s going to have to be a casualty. Something I need to leave till tomorrow. I’ve tried. But failed to do all of them.

Just finishing the kindle formatting is to be done.

Much as I don’t mind not finishing everything now and again, I do need to be strong and I do need to make sure I get stuff done more often than not.

So a night of pleasure tonight.

But in the greater good, keeping a relationship going is going to help motivate me in the long term.

And she’ll hold me accountable to get it done too!