Categorized | Business Authors

Not So Common Sense: Five Tips For Home-Based Business Success

Kara Buntin

Author Bio:

My name is Kara Buntin, and I’m the owner of A Cake To Remember, LLC, a custom wedding cake business in Richmond, VA. I have a background in art and costume design, I’ve worked in retail management, and I earned a Master’s Degree in psychology before going back to culinary school to get a Pastry Arts certificate. I’ve been making custom cakes for the last 15 years, and I’ve contributed to many national and local publications on the topic of business and cakes. My cakes have won awards from local organizations and national wedding magazines. I’ve appeared on television demonstrating different decorating techniques, and I teach decorating classes privately. I write about both the business and the creative sides of cake decorating, and I’m currently the President of the Richmond Bridal Association. I live in Richmond with my husband and two children.

Book Synopsis:

My book, Not So Common Sense, was written with the home-based entrepreneur in mind. It addresses five main ideas that people should keep in mind when starting a small business, and touches on pricing, contracts, businesslike behavior, and social networking. It addresses whether taking a hobby and making it into a business is really a viable option, and how to keep it professional if that’s what the reader wants to do. The idea of how to behave when running a business isn’t usually touched on in startup books, so this book is a unique take on the topic.

What this book will do for you:

Not So Common Sense will help anyone who is thinking of starting a business decide if they’re up for it. It’s a straightforward guide to some very basic concepts that will help a home-based business be successful. Reading it will save people a lot of time and aggravation.

Why I wrote the book:

I wrote Not So Common Sense because I participate in online cake forums. After reading the posts for a certain amount of time I was seeing different people posting the same questions about the same types of problems that they were having with their businesses. Many of them were first-time business owners, and they didn’t seem to have a grasp of how having a hobby is different than running a business. They were making the same mistakes over and over, and didn’t understand things that I thought were pretty obvious.

I wrote this book with them in mind, but the examples in the book aren’t only cake-related. They apply to anyone who is trying to make a profit from something that was once a hobby. Many home-based businesses are born from the business owner’s desire to make some money doing something that they love to do, but they don’t understand the reality of what that means.

There’s a mental leap that you have to make to create a successful business out of a hobby, and it was pretty clear that most people don’t know how to make that leap. It’s not as simple as hanging up an “open” sign and making money, but most people don’t seem to understand that. I wanted to address the mental adjustments that need to be made to shift into “business” mode from “hobby” mode.

Most of the business books that I had read were more nuts and bolts about how to structure a business, organize your home office, balance work and family, etc. Nothing addressed the very basic idea that having a business isn’t the same as having a hobby. Based on the things that I was reading online, I knew that there was a need for that kind of advice.

What’s the best advice I ever got?

The best advice that I got when I was starting out was to ask for help. I met a photographer who was also in the wedding industry and she offered to help me with advice on where to advertise, whom to talk to, etc. That connection led to a number of good networking opportunities that have greatly benefited my business over the years.

I address the issue of networking in the book, and how to use connections to expand and increase your business. Working with other professionals is a good thing, but not all the time. I was lucky to meet someone who gave me good advice, but a lot of people aren’t that lucky, and they end up in partnerships that hurt them rather than help them. I wanted to give people the opportunity to benefit from my experience if they were unable to find someone in their area to help them directly.

What book would I recommend?

For small business owners, and for anyone who has a lot to do, I’d recommend Time Management From The Inside Out and Organization From The Inside Out, both by Julie Morgenstern. These guides take the idea of starting with your personal style and working with it to figure out the best ways to stay on track. Most organizational books that I saw before I read Ms. Morgenstern’s books started with the systems that were available, not the personal style of the person who needed to get organized. I like the premise of starting with how you work and going from there, rather than trying to shape yourself to a system that will probably just be abandoned because it doesn’t fit your style.

Do you have a blog?

Yes, I do. I write about cake decorating both from a business angle and from a hands-on perspective with tips and tutorials. Since I do mainly wedding cakes, that’s where my emphasis is. I cover topics such as dealing with clients, contracts, and increasing business through social media and traditional print media. I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half, and I have a loyal readership that gets bigger every month. The address of the blog is http://www.acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/.

Kara Buntin

Not So Common Sense: Five Tips For Home-Based Business Success

http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/p/book-info.html

 

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One Response to “Not So Common Sense: Five Tips For Home-Based Business Success”

  1. Laura says:

    I’m going to have to pick up a copy. I have a pastry arts certificate, I don’t do wedding cakes, but smaller things are more of my specialty and I’ve always dreamed of opening a small business.

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