My Business Story, Part 3

packaging

At the end of the last installment, I had just opened a bank account for my business. The other big thing that happened in March 2013 was that I started doing yoga. I had taken a couple of classes at a gym over a decade before, but didn’t really enjoy them. I was feeling really stressed out, though, and a friend suggested doing yoga, so I thought I’d give it another try. I started off with some videos, and after about a month, decided to go to an in-person class. I ended up finding a studio in Round Rock. The only class that regularly worked with my schedule was on Sunday mornings, and I went every week. What does this have to do with the baking business? You’ll see.

Once I had the approval for my outside business activities, I could take paid orders. I didn’t have all that many at first, and most came from my coworkers. It was okay that things started slowly, since I was figuring things out as I went. Things were a bit challenging because the cottage food law said that I could only sell at my house, so customers had to come there to pick up their orders and pay for them. I was trying to come up with a menu and pricing. Plus, my banking job kept me very busy. Unfortunately, I was increasingly frustrated with the hours that I was working at the bank as well as the work I was doing there.

One good thing was that I was enjoying taking yoga classes. Some weeks, I managed to squeeze in more than one, if my work schedule cooperated. I started to get to know people, both fellow students and some of the teachers. I did the same thing with them that I’d always done with coworkers, my kids’ teachers, and other people I saw a lot–I took them baked goods to sample. An update to the cottage food law went into effect on September 1, 2013, and it was a great help. It was finally legal for cottage producers to sell at some other locations, such as farmers’ markets and municipal events. Delivery was allowed. The list of products that could be sold was expanded.

I was starting to get the hang of things. I set up a website, although it didn’t have much to it at first. I got some business cards. As the holidays rolled around, I had orders from people at work and also from some of the people that I’d met at the yoga studio. I got to know the owner of the studio a bit. She was kind enough to offer some useful small business advice, such as with pricing and marketing. As 2013 ended, I felt like things were going okay, although I wished I could spend more time on my business.

2014 got off to an interesting start. I was doing more yoga, at home as well as in classes. Why is that so important to this story? Well, it turns out that there’s much more to yoga than just doing poses. I was learning to pay attention to how I was feeling, both physically and emotionally. It got to the point where I could no longer ignore how miserable I was in my job. I kept thinking that I could just keep going in spite of that, but a situation came up at work in early February that made me change my mind. I was done. On February 21st, which happened to be my 43rd birthday, I turned in my resignation, stating that I would stay through the end of March. (Why so long a notice? I hated the job, but cared about the people, and wanted to give them time to find my replacement.) I was terrified. My business was still in its infancy, and I didn’t have another job lined up. What was I thinking?

Find out next week!

More of my business story:  Part 1     Part 2     Part 4