Following your dreams

From the time that we are young children, we are always encouraged to follow our dreams. At this point, ambitions often include becoming an astronaut, a professional footballer, a fireman, the list goes on. When your parents tell you to go for it, in their heads, they're probably thinking 'they will grow out of it - no need to worry.'

How realistic is it to really truly follow your dreams? How much money could truly be made from being a baker full time on my own?

Although you can search the internet and find people who have done it, it's easier said than done. There are huge considerations to make when following your dreams, here I've outlined my top five.

1. Money, money, money, must be funny...

Can you afford to quit your very stable job which you get a decent pay cheque from every month to follow your dreams and open your own bakery? Consider all of your outgoings, do you have a mortgage to pay? Are you paying off a car loan? How are you going to pay your bills until your business really kicks off?

2. Is your business unique?

How can a bakery be unique? There's got to be bakeries all over the world that offer what I do? People want innovation and sometimes it can be difficult to think of a business idea that has never been done before. My USP is alcoholic cupcakes - tasty, fun and innovative! But then again, my offering is so wide and diverse, will people really get what the business is all about? Another consideration.

3. Can your idea be copied?

Well, realistically speaking, yes! Someone could easily come along with more marketing spend and steal an idea, right? Make sure you are doing something that means they can't, no-one in the world has my gin and tonic, or my Good Old Fashioned cupcakes, because I developed them from scratch in my small kitchen in Berkshire using trial and error. Doesn't stop them doing the same thing and developing their own recipe. Although, my gin and tonic recipe is too good to be kept to this space and it will be up on the blog soon!

4. Passion and time

Passion has to be there to make your dreams a reality. You can't launch a business half-heartedly. It's all or nothing - can you realistically dedicate enough time to make your business a success? You need to get up early, stay up late and sacrifice on sleep. Is that realistic? It is important that you set yourself clear boundaries though, even if that's working 9am until 9pm. Make sure you log off and have some you time, otherwise you will be no use in the morning.

5. The Law

Consider the law, perhaps the most important. Make sure you aren't breaking any rules. Are you paying the correct tax on your income - of course this requires you to actually make a profit first, but still a consideration (and bakers can now legally make their first £1,000 tax free!). Health and safety laws, is your kitchen abiding to hygiene laws? As soon as you start charging for your cakes, you are professional and therefore required to have a food hygiene rating. I completed my Hygiene, Health and Safety certificate over a year ago, before the business really began to kick off and I have now received a 5* hygiene rating for the business!

Although the best advice I have been given, and give to other people is ignore the nay-sayers, you do need to really sit down and work out how realistic your dreams are and how are you going to make them work in order to guarantee that they make you money. After all, that's why you're doing it right? I'm still working towards my life ambition of launching my own bakery business, Victoria's Sponges, as a full time career. But all of these considerations are part of my everyday thinking and will hopefully mean that when I do take the step into the deep unknown, I'll have considered all of the outcomes, success or failure.

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