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Hey PippiL, thanks for that, I've just skim-read it, but it looks really useful.
I've had a 5-year career break due to children etc, and I can't imagine going back to work full-time (which is what my sort of work would demand), but I can imagine that baking/decorating and going out meeting parents would suit me and my family.
Hi Trice, it's early days and the next 2 weeks' research will be slowed by the DCs being at home! Think I will phone the council's environmental health dept to see what they say tomorrow. I must confess I am scared of being self-employed and having to do tax returns, but I am not content being 'just' a SAHM, I need something creative in my life!
(will look back on that last comment when the red tape is weighing me down...)
don't be scared of being self employed or doing a tax return, if you keep your records up to date, all receipts in order then you'll be fine. HMRC's online tax filing is fairly simple IMO and easy for a novice to use. Or for a small cost you'll find someone that can do it for you. Don't let being self emloyed put you off
For anyone on who replied to me and would like to know how I am getting on with the red tape etc:
Through Business Link, I've been put in touch with an organisation in my area which helps women set up in business. It's been really useful to have this great advice. I'm doing a course with them next week to learn all about book keeping, paying tax, filling in self-assessment forms, etc etc. Also going on a networking lunch with them in July! I have to say the best thing the adviser has said to me though is, "you're not thinking of doing this, you are doing it" - it was great to have someone affirm this to me!
I did an online food hygiene certificate.
I'm now registered with the council's environmental health dept. Because the food I produce is so low risk, I may well not have any inspection for years at a time.
I notified my home insurance, but because I don't have client coming to the home and am still baking with a domestic oven, there is no change to my insurance with them.
I've bought public liability insurance (probably my biggest outlay so far at £120).
I registered with the Inland Revenue as a sole trader from the start of June. The only difference this will make now is that I'll prob start paying class 2 contributions, but at £2.40 a week, it's ok (and I could apply to not pay them, as I'm sure I'll be earning less that £5k a year!)
I've set up a free business bank account with Santander.
I've got business cards printed from MOO, stickers printed at a local company (to personalise my blank white cake boxes), and am currently designing postcard flyers to go in local shop windows, my son's childminder's other charges' bookbags, etc etc.
So far I have set up a blog to showcase the baking I've been doing, but I need a real website too and that's in progress. The business advice people give me a grant of £80 and a free website, so once I have that website from them I can get building. Oh, I also already bought my URL and have that 'pointing' at my blog at the moment, so if anyone types it in they can see what I've been up to.
...so, phew! I am really officially a business woman now! Now I just need to get more orders and I could really do with the DCs not being off sick at the moment. I've just had them off school/childminder for 2 weeks for half-term and they've still not gone back, since they've both got diahorrea: great!
just to add my experience, when you register as a food business, you may or may not have to have an inspection - I think it depends on where you live. I did have one but it was fine. You dont have to have a stainless steel kitchen (though i have now got a very inexpensive ss table from ikea now which i use for decorating my cakes on...but that was to make my life easier, not a requirement of my registration). You need to put some plans together to show how you keep everything food safe and the kitchen area clean, and fill in a form every time you work to say you have done all that the plan says. You do need a separate hand washing sink ,but this can be a downstairs toilet if close enough to the work area. The guy who did my inspection was lovely and really approachable, they are very, very helpful. Its really not scarey or hard to register so I would urge anyone who wants to, to go for it! Well done hollyhobbie, good luck with the new business, have you started supplying cupcakes yet and how is business going? I have had a quiet month but its about to get busy again so i am quite enjoying the break!
I agree Geraldine, the environmental health people were great and not scary at all. I suspect that you and I have the same Ikea table to work on too! (again not essential, but I felt it's better for me to have my own place in the kitchen, plus I clean down my work area before baking/decorating and I don't have to do the whole kitchen)
I have only had 2 paying jobs so far (only been registered as a business from start of June). The next thing is to build my 'real' website (as opposed to the blog). Until I do that, I can't get out there distributing leaflets etc. I am also screwing up my courage to go to some local playgroups to give out sample cakes and try to drum up business. I hate the face to face side of marketing.
It can be nerve wracking, I agree. Do you have kids at school? a great way to get business (often from the teachers but from other mums too) is to send in lovely cakes when they have fundrasers, or at the end of term, for the staff room, at christmas and so on. Also, are you on facebook? I have posted all of my cakes on my own page, it works really well as all those random people that you add that you vaguely remember from school instantly think of you when they need cakes for an event....i think because they almost trust you a little more because they "know" you! I havent got a website, the majority of my work comes from facebook and the school! Also, business netwworking groups can be helpful, do you have a Mums the Boss or Wire meeting near you? They can be a good idea for "Networking" - hideous thought but it isn't as awful as you might imagine, some of the people are really nice! Actually at the last one i went to they were talking about social networking and said that Blogs are actually more efficient than websites, as they come up quicker on Google (or something) a lot of businesss are now just getting blogs rather than websites, so youre actually cutting edge with yours! I started to make a blog a couple of days ago, but i am very slowwwwww at getting it done!
Thanks Geraldine! Yes, I sent lovely cakes into school when it was the spring fair, but haven't had any orders from them (they allowed me to put some cards nearby for people to pick up) I've set up a facebook page that is separate from my personal profile (but the posts on there get linked to my profile so friends can see them too).
I'm due to go to a networking event in mid-July. We have Train 2000 here who in this area only support women going into business. I'll google the other organisations you mentioned though.
I guess what I hope of the website (that the blog doesn't do) is more detailed information: flavours, prices, delivery. All those things people might like to know before they order!
I'm also going to get my postcards distributed by DS's childminder. She said she often gets asked if she knows a cake maker, so I'm hoping she won't mind putting a card in each of her charge's bookbags. Plus, I'm screwing up the courage to go to playgroups etc with some samples, as seen on Mary Queen of Shops! (gulp!)
oh go for it Hollyhobbie, honestly, they will love it at the playgroups, what can possibly go wrong? I have found people have an almost insanely positive response to cake, particularly women, so going to the playgroups is a WINNER! Bet youll get some orders! I was also wondering today about getting flyers printed to put in book bags at school - Ive had flyers for magicians, circus and so on, I wonder if you can pay a fee for the schools to give out leaflets? Also there is the magazine which comes out (cant remember what its called) a few times a year - primary times? I wonder how much an advert in there is....
anyway, good luck with your cakes!! Im sure they will be a great success when you do take them round the playgroups!
I've never seen primary times, another one for my google list!
You can get 'free' postcard/flyers here ...they are not quite free, you have to pay postage and I opted to upload my own images, so that cost a bit more, and I opted for a full colour back, so that was more again, but they were still cheapish and good quality. Don't bother with their business cards though- I'm told they're rubbish!
I approached the local playgroup and have a date for touting my wares mid-july... gulp!!!