The sales came. And they came fast. Much faster than I expected.
Within the first 20 minutes of posting on Facebook what I was trying to do, I had a few orders for cookies, one for a cheesecake, and a couple for the pudding cakes.
We spent a lot of time baking and I found myself wondering how anybody makes any money doing that.
And then, while I’m writing this, I got my first cancellation.
But, the thing I feel I learned this week is that it can happen. With the right messaging and the right contacts, it can happen. The business I want to create is possible. It’s possible. It can happen.
And I can make it happen.
Before the cancellation, I had all the profit I needed. I even had a spreadsheet showing the costs for each dozen cookies, each cheesecake and each pudding cake. I figured out, on my own, how to track that information. I kept receipts, logged costs for ingredients, and baked my little heart out.
And made a profit.
Not enough to pay myself with, but a profit nonetheless. (I know I’m donating the profits, but hypothetically, I didn’t make enough to have paid myself anything for all the effort.)
I can do this! No lesson is more valuable, to me, than that.
What do I value most?
What kind of life do I want?
What do I want my life to look like, to feel like?
Who do I wish to be?
How do I want my story to be told?
What would I like to be able to say about my life after it’s too late to do anything about it?
If I were to write a script for … the mourners at my funeral, how would I like it to be read?
What am I aiming for?
From The EMyth Revisited
It’s important to be able to measure the results of changes we make in how we do things. Below is a set of guidelines to help us measure the impact of changes.
- Determine how many people you were having an impact on before the changes is made
- Figure out how many people bough products/services, and what the dollar amount was, before the change was made
- Count the number of people you’re having an impact on after the change was implemented
- Count the number of people who purchased something
- Figure out the average unit value of a sale
- Determine what the improvement was after the change
Adapted from The EMyth Revisited
If you want to fail, be boring. That’s it.
To explain just a little more:
- Don’t listen to your customers – they don’t know what they’re talking about.
- Don’t worry about email campaigns or social media, and FOR SURE don’t respond when people reach out that way.
- Come up with big ideas and pin them on a board in the back room. That room where nobody goes so nobody else will see them or use them.
- Keep doing things the same way you always have and just copy your competition.
- Don’t challenge yourself or your employees.
- Don’t ask hard questions like “Why not?” That question makes people think and that’s just too much effort.
This is a recipe which means that you need all of the pieces to make a real successful failure. It’s possible though, and you can do it too.
You know what guy I’m talking about. The guy that thinks he’s better than everyone else. The guy that doesn’t watch the tapes, listen to himself, or pay attention to anyone else. He’s so wrapped up in his own awesomeness that he can’t see anything outside of his stardom.
Or that guy.
Either way, being that guy will blind you from these guys coming right at ya.And when those guys hit you, because they will, if you’re not ready because you weren’t paying attention, you will get destroyed.
The moral of the story: Pay attention to your competition. They’re paying attention to you and they’re trying to get ahead of you. They’re trying to steal your business. If you become complacent, they will succeed. Keep your customers happy and don’t be THAT guy.
This week I found my funding. Or maybe I should say, I funded my project.
We were given a limit to the amount of start-up funds we could use for the $100 Challenge. The limit was $20. Can you start a business for $20? I’m going to. $20 was enough to cover the purchases of what I didn’t already have to make my first cheesecake. The order came in and the cheesecake will be made and delivered next weekend.
I also posted on Facebook what I’m trying to accomplish and already have three orders for a dozen chocolate chip cookies (each), and orders for 4 pudding cakes, both with toppings. All of the cookie and pudding cake orders were received within an hour of posting the project online.
I’ve already learned a couple of things about getting started on stuff like this.
- Post the flavors you have available, including toppings. I forgot to post the available flavors for the chocolate chip cookies so we’ll just be using vanilla.
- I didn’t think about the batch size when I posted that the pudding cakes were available. Instead of selling them individually, I should have sold them by the dozen. I’ve sold 4 individual cakes but a normal batch makes 12. What am I going to do with the other 8 cakes?
- Hardly anybody knows what the pudding cakes are and I didn’t have a good picture to go with them. I think the price point shows that they’re small, but my husband pointed out that nobody really knows what they’re buying. I had to find a picture to post and post an update to the original letting everyone know what to expect.
- I knew the cheesecakes were going to be the slow sellers. They also have the smallest margin on them and the highest price. But they’re good. I’m hoping to get a good review from my first sale to help increase sales going forward.
I watched a video for one of my classes this week about choosing our own Hero’s Journey. In it were four key elements to finding and then choosing to become our own hero.
1. Live every moment of your life like it matters – because it does.
How we choose to spend every single moment of our lives counts for something. Sometimes we need a break and that’s good. Taking breaks helps us to rejuvenate and rededicate our efforts towards our goal. Even those moments of recreation or relaxation count towards becoming the hero we want to someday be.
2. Live as if you have an important mission – because you do.
Each of us was put on this earth for a reason. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’re making a difference but each moment, each hour, each day lived with purpose and definition help mold us into the hero we are destined to become. Each of us has a mission and we should live every moment building towards that goal.
3. See struggles as adventures and setbacks as lessons.
Sometimes we learn things the easy way and sometimes it takes a little (or huge) challenge for us to learn something. A friend of mine used to remind me during the hard times of my life, that I was having trials to help teach me something. She would tell me that the sooner I could figure out what it was I was supposed to learn, the sooner the trial would end. Looking at struggles or trials as learning experiences or adventures changes them into something meaningful instead of dreadful. Lessons learned are so much more valuable than setbacks. It’s a completely different way of thinking and, therefore, a completely different way of life.
4. What matters most isn’t the prize at the end, but how the hero is changed in the process.
Are we allowing ourselves to be changed? Do we keep our minds open and ready to learn new things? Identifying the adventures and the lessons and using them to improve ourselves is as important as the lessons and adventures themselves. If, once we’re on the other side of the adventure, we don’t take the time to inventory the things we’ve learned, we could quite possibly lose them. To lose them means we’ll have to learn them again in order to accomplish our mission. To take inventory and be accountable for the lessons learned helps to keep our life mission-focused and our moments purpose-driven.
Week 1 was last week – I’m a little behind.
Week 1 of Binny Lane was the week I finalized the business name and what I’m going to do. Social Media is going to become my new best friend.
I will be selling homemade baked goods in North County (San Diego). We will offer cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies and pudding cakes.
I chose to do this for a few reasons.
- I’m known among my friends for making the best cheesecakes
- My husband has the best recipe for making chocolate chip cookies – they even have a secret ingredient
- Every time I’ve made the pudding cakes, I’ve gotten such good reviews – how could I not add them?
I’m actually excited to get started on it to see how well it will do!
In the article “Are Successful Entrepreneurs Born or Made?” Jeff Sandefer talks about an experience he had when trying to find out what it was that made an entrepreneur successful. Was it skill, character or luck?
There were a couple of quotes from the article that I’ve added to the Quotes to Keep page, but I also wanted to elaborate on them a little bit.
The first, and my personal favorite, was “It is adding value to the lives of customers and employees that builds great businesses.” If what you sell or if the service you provide adds value to someone’s life, that’s great. What’s more important is that you take that value very seriously. It should matter as much to you as it does to them.
I know a girl who has started many different business and hasn’t been super successful in any of them. The reason is that, even though the services she has offered have added value to others’ lives, she didn’t care as much about that value as she did about how much they would pay her for it. Not only should your product or service add value, but you need to recognize and acknowledge that value. It should mean as much to you as it does to them.
The second quote I liked was “Entrepreneurial success isn’t about money; it’s about freedom. The goal isn’t to make more than you need, it’s to spend less than you make. Because that way your free time belongs to you.”
When we go into business to help others and truly add value to their lives, our lives are enriched in the process. Touching peoples lives and making them better helps us to appreciate our own time and use our free time wisely. It’s not about the money we make but about the difference we make instead. It’s about having the freedom to be able to make that difference.