Running a home bakery while juggling a part-time or full-time job can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Finding the right balance between your “day job” and side hustle requires careful planning and effective time management. In this blog post, we’ll explore valuable tips to help you succeed in balancing your home bakery with your job responsibilities.
I was working full-time when I started my home bakery. My goal was to use my love of baking to earn extra money. The list below are lessons I learned the hard way, with many a night of being up until 1:00 am waiting for cookies to come out of the oven.
1. Set Clear Goals and Priorities
Establish clear goals for your home bakery and identify your priorities. Determine how much time and effort you can realistically dedicate to baking while considering your job commitments. This will help you stay focused and make informed decisions about the scale and scope of your home bakery.
Do you have a set amount of money you want to make monthly from our home bakery? Reverse engineer that number to figure out how many orders you will need to take to achieve your ideal number. Then, how long does it take you to do each order (you are rounding off here since orders can vary)? Is your goal achievable with the hours you have available?
One of the great things about owning a home bakery is you decide what you want to take on. You can limit your orders or not accept orders for 2 weeks if you are on vacation. It’s your business, so you decide how you make it work for you and your life.
2. Create a Schedule
Develop a well-structured schedule that includes dedicated time slots for your job and home bakery. Allocate specific hours for shopping, baking, marketing, order fulfillment, and administrative tasks. Adhering to a schedule will help you manage your time effectively and ensure that neither your job nor your baking business suffers.
And, don’t underestimate the “admin” duties associated with your bakery. Answering inquiries and sending invoices are critical but can be time-consuming.
3. Establish Clear Policies and Guidelines
Creating and publishing policies for your home bakery is essential for maintaining professionalism and setting clear expectations with your customers. Here are a few key areas to consider: Order Policy, Payment Expectations, Pick Up or Delivery, and Friends and Family Discounts. (Read this blog post if you need help with your friends and family policy)
By establishing and sharing your policies, you can effectively manage customer expectations, maintain transparency, and ensure a smooth and professional experience for both you and your customers. Regularly review and update your policies as needed to adapt to changing circumstances or business growth.
4. Efficient Batch Production
Optimize your baking process by practicing efficient batch production. Prepare larger quantities of dough or batter in advance, portion them, and store them appropriately. This way, you can bake in batches and minimize the time spent on repetitive tasks, allowing you to make the most of your available baking hours.
If you are a cookie baker and can have portioned-out dough in your freezer ready to go, that gives you flexibility and saves time.
5. Simplify Your Menu
Managing a wide variety of baked goods can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Consider simplifying your menu by focusing on a few signature items or popular products that can be easily produced in larger quantities. This will streamline your baking process and help you maintain consistency in quality.
When I started my home bakery, I was guilty of trying to be all things to everyone. It’s not a great approach. It’s inefficient to produce and also potentially confusing for the customer. Starting with a limited menu and adding items, if necessary, is my advice.
6. Streamline Order Management
Implement an organized system for order management. Utilize technology tools such as spreadsheets, online order forms, or bakery management software to keep track of incoming orders, customer details, delivery schedules, and payment processing.
There are lots of ways to handle how you take orders. You might need a huge calendar on your kitchen wall or you prefer everything on your phone. The most important thing is that you have a system in place that works for you and know what orders you have and when. (Check out this blog post about tracking orders.)
7. Focused Marketing
Understand that you will need to allocate time and effort to marketing your home bakery. You should focus your efforts on what is working. How do you know what’s working? Ask every customer who places an order or inquiries about your services. Look for trends in their answers and do more of what is working!!
Small businesses have many options open to them for marketing. It can be overwhelming. I recommend you focus on excellent customer service (repeat buyers can be a goldmine), pick one social media platform to start and connect with other local business and community groups. (Check out my blog post on marketing for new home bakers)
Also, try to improve your photography skills. Remember, people eat with their eyes first and strong photography goes a long way for a bakery.
8. Self-Care and Balance
Remember to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Running a home bakery and managing a job simultaneously can be demanding, both physically and mentally. Take breaks, schedule time for relaxation and vacations, and make sure to spend quality time with loved ones. Nurturing yourself will help you stay motivated and avoid burnout.
Holidays can wreak havoc on home bakers. Often holidays are a busy time. It’s important that you figure out your timing for orders around the holidays so your customers know what to expect and your family knows too.
Balancing a home bakery with a part-time or full-time job requires dedication, discipline, and effective time management. By setting clear goals, creating a schedule, establishing policies, and implementing efficient practices, you can successfully pursue your passion for baking while excelling in your professional career. Remember to adapt these tips to suit your unique circumstances and enjoy the journey of building a thriving home bakery alongside your job responsibilities.