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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Coming Out of The Closet

I have been chomping at the bit to let you in on this huge secret. If you have read all of my blog posts, followed me for some time, or know me personally, I have dropped many hints about it.

In all fairness I feel that I must come clean about the success I have experienced in my cookie business, and how I have pulled through the really hard times in my life (Like the past two years of illness that had me wondering when,  I would be able to come back). Hint: It’s not just hard work!

Sure, a business takes lots of work, but that does not guarantee success. Let’s be honest, most people work really hard their entire lives and they don’t get very far, but you know that, I’m sure you see it every day.

What about you? Are you working really hard, burning the midnight oil and just barely surviving? Are you undercharging for your work because you lack confidence? Do you feel fear when you get a big order, are you just scraping by, or maybe you just want to take your business to a new level ?

I have been though all of that and then some, only to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. I attribute everything I have accomplished to two things aside from all of my work.

  1. Having a Mentor
  2. Being a Soul/ Heart Centered Entrepreneur( Does that sound a bit New Age-y or Idealistic? Yup, that's me. My business must benefit people other than ME! That's my Credo in a nutshell..More about that later)
I’m only going to get into the first one today because this is WAY too much information to hit you with all at once.

Remember how I told you I had lost everything back in 2007 ?  So how did I recover from all of that?  I would be lying if I told you I did it on my own.

You probably know by now that I am a lifelong student of Human Potential and  Personal Development. Without growth you are not living, you are merely existing. That is my philosophy.

Right after my "Dark Night of my Soul" as I call it,  I attended a seminar in Austin, at which I happened to have the good fortune of sitting next to a lady at dinner, who happened to be a catalyst for a huge change in my life.

During the course of the evening, we spoke for a bit.  In spite of my circumstances ( Your current circumstances do not define you) she saw the greatness in me and did not hesitate to let me know.

She knew instantly, that I had the potential to not only come back, but come back stronger and better than ever. 

Being a Heart-Centered entrepreneur means I don't believe in keeping these kinds of secrets to myself , so I promise to introduce her to you tomorrow.

For now I will tell you that she was so genuine, giving and inspiring that she sparked something in me and I found a way to invest in myself and she in turn used her gifts to help me climb out of the dark hole I was in.

The truth is I’ve had many teachers over the years, however, some just stand out. I have always been a student of  Human Potential, that’s why I love helping people and that is why I am HERE, now sharing with you.

While I have been busy working behind the scenes preparing a really comprehensive and accurate pricing guide that you will only find here  ( more to come on that too) , my friend, and coach has put together a host of information that will help you jump start your business.

All the information needed to help you lay the ground work will be at your fingertips.  We want to make sure we help you remove any and  ALL of those pesky blocks that might keep you from succeeding no matter how hard you work.

So, over the next few days, I am going to share some REALLY valuable information with you that not everyone has access to. I truly mean this so PLEASE pay attention.

Some people just block their own success by turning away from new ideas, but I know you are a creative being, and you are in a creative business. What that means to me is that you are more open by nature.  

All you have to do is keep an open mind and an open heart. You have EVERYTHING to gain by just listening and paying attention. The best part is it’s FREE!

Look for an email from me tomorrow with all the details of how you can get your business started or how you can breathe new life into it!

By the way, for those of you reading this directly on the blog. In order to receive that information, you need to sign up in the box above as this information will exclusively be shared with those of you on my list for goodies and freebies and committed members of the Cookiepreneur community. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions at all , email me at . I love you and I want to see you succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

The greatest key to success is persistence, never give up, EVER!

XO Aymee aka Cookiepreneur. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fiesta de Salmonella and How to Avoid it!

Take a little trip with me, will you?

It's Saturday morning and you are putting the finishing touches on the cake that is due later this afternoon, when all of a sudden you hear your iPhone ding. You've Got Mail!

Being the disciplined Cookiepreneur that you are, normally , you wait to check them twice a day but what the heck, you need a break and decide to take a five minute breather and check in, after all it may be another quote request .

 $$$Cach' ching$$$  

You notice the sender's name is familiar. Wait a minute, it's the client whose cake you delivered yesterday. You are filled with anticipation, excited to hear about how much everyone enjoyed the cake you made for her little Prince. Her only son, David that just turned 7 . You know she is happy because you put your heart and soul into that cake and it looked flawless. After all, your skills are improving by the day and it was for him and 20 of his classmates. You know what that means, lots of kids, lots of moms, lots of referrals.

As soon as you start reading , suddenly, that icy/hot feeling comes over you when you realize it is NOT a note singing the praises of your gorgeous cake. Much to your chagrin and horror, you discover that instead of happiness she is now wishing a horrible death upon you. She is HORRIFIED and PISSED off.

Everyone who had cake at David's party got sick, especially her little Prince, who had TWO slices because he loved his GI Joe Military Camo Cake. He is now traumatized, and chances are he will not join the military because of the case of explosive diarrhea and vomiting your cake has caused him.

WHAT? Your Cake? Never, Impossible! Could it be true?

Ooops, Fiesta de Salmonella sucks.  If you have been there, you know it is NO party, especially for kids, it's downright dangerous.  So what happened? You are always so careful.

Well, when working from home, especially if you live with someone it else can happen, because you do not have 100% control of your kitchen space at all times so ....

Unbeknownst to you, this is what really happened:  Remember that awesome chicken your partner prepared for dinner the night before last when (s)he saw saw how hard you were working?  Well, after (s)he was seasoning that chicken on the cutting board, (s)he forgot to wipe down the counters with bleach and some of that raw chicken juice got on there.

You are working in limited space, and it looks like (s)he cleaned up pretty well so you deemed it safe to place your spatulas in the EXACT place the chicken was and BOOM ! cross contamination took place.

Those little suckers multiply FAST, and now it's in your icing , on your cake, or  in your cake because you sliced it with a knife that was placed in the same spot where (s)he put the raw chicken down and now it has spiraled into this.

So now she is threatening you. She wants her money back and she may even sue.  You are panicking,apologetic and mostly distraught because you don't understand what could have possibly happened but you have to deal with it.

Okay ,I  know I exaggerated, A LOT! I confess I really wanted to grab your attention. This is highly unlikely but by no means impossible. I know you are very careful about your kitchen and your cleanliness but stuff happens. That's what I'm here for. To help you think about all of these things so they don't come to pass.

Where Do We Go From Here ? 

If you take my advice , chances are that will not ever happen.

If the situation does occur, you apologize profusely, issue her a refund and you use solution number 2, if a law suit should arise (very, rare case). From now on, make sure to wipe down all surfaces you are planning on working on with a bleach solution.

1. Avoid that situation altogether by getting your Food Handlers Certificate.
2. Purchase Food Liability Insurance , to cover you in case of that kind of a situation.

Let's take a quick look at both.

Get Your Food Handlers License ASAP. 

It's incredibly affordable and you can do it online. You can take an online food safety course and download your Food Handlers certificate, once you pass the exam at . It's the best $15.00 investment you will EVER make in your business, it just makes sense.

In a nutshell, you will learn about general food safety, food temperature, how to store your food in the refrigerator properly and how to place food so that it does not become cross contaminated. Loads of useful information that you will need and is practical for home use as well.  

There are other companies out there but,  ServSafe is my favorite. They have have a map feature if you click on the image below, you can choose the state you work from and they will give you the appropriate information about the certificate you need .

 Purchase Cottage Food Liability Insurance

This one is a no-brainier if you are baking 2-5 cakes per week for customers, you can afford it.  Sharpen up your pencils and do your math. Make sure to roll this into the cost of your product. Policies start at about $300.00 per year and quite frankly, it's better to be safe than sorry. Flip offers a great product to Cottage Food entrepreneurs

So , I will leave you with all of this in mind.  Safety is paramount.  I do recommend both, but at the very least, if you are just getting started and not making that many orders, get your Food Handler's Certificate and that will help you avoid a costly mistake that could ruin your reputation, and pocketbook.

So I hope you had a good laugh, but in all seriousness more than anything, I want you to understand the importance of food safety for your clients, and your reputation as a successful Cookiepreneur.

Remember that they key to success is persistence, Never give up, ever!

Aymee aka Cookiepreneur

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Three Basics of Pricing for Profit

Happy Sunday!

I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to be back after my long absence.  For those of you who don't know, due to health issues I was away for almost two years, but I am back and so happy to be here.

I wanted reach out to you today with a video, that I made just for you where I discuss the basics of pricing for profit.

Synopsis of the Video:

Three Basics of Pricing for Profit:


There are a number of well-meaning folks out there sharing their own price charts of their baked goods. While these give you a general idea about pricing, they may be nowhere near where you need to be in order to make a profit or conversely, you may be losing money by using another person’s model.While it serves as a general indicator, it simply may not work for you and is no better than guessing.

1. That person may not be in your area. A cake in Miami, is much pricier than a cake in Dothan, Alabama.

2. Other people do not use the same ingredients as you are. How can you know for sure that you are paying the same price, or using the same raw materials? This is fundamental, and we discuss it a little more in detail later. You have to figure out your costs before you even think about what to charge.

3. Not selling to the same demographic- If you make $500 dollar cakes but the median income in your town is 40K per year, chances are people will not be able to afford your product but the person who provided you with their pricing schedule may have a completely different socio-economic demographic.

4. May not have the same skill-set as you- If you are a beginner, (We all have to start somewhere) it is more difficult to command a high price for cookies or cake that do not look polished and professional. Conversely, if you are making these beautiful elaborate cookies that are taking you a long time to finish because of the detail that goes into them, you cannot sell them for the same amount as another decorator.


The difference between a hobby baker and a pro is profit.  If you want to create a profitable business there is no way around this. You must know the cost of each and every one of your products in order to price them for profit, otherwise it’s sheer guesswork.

Figuring out how much your raw materials such as flour, sugar, eggs etc.  per recipe, on your own may be a pain if you purchase in bulk, and that’s why I recommend that you either create a spreadsheet that is going to help you to keep track of how much each product is going to cost you to make . That includes Direct and Indirect costs, which we will get into in another post but here is a great spreadsheet that I invested in myself that helps me keep track of all my costs.

Please note that I receive no financial compensation if you elect to purchase this program whose link I have included above. This is simply a recommendation based upon my experience. There are other spreadsheets out on the market and the Cake Boss Program. You have a bunch to choose from. Just make sure you are using something to keep track of all of your costs. It’s not a luxury, it is a necessity and I cannot emphasize that strongly enough.   

Here is a link to an article I wrote for Chef Julia Usher's Cookie Connection in my former Dough to Dollars blog feature on Pricing. 


In order to price your products accordingly, you need to know who your customer is, what they spend their money on, how much they earn, and how they think.

If you are creating beautiful cakes that are worth $500.00 and the people who live in your area can only afford to pay $100.00 your business will not go very far. Clearly, talent or quality is not the problem, people only have a certain amount of disposable income available and are willing to spend on a custom cake or cookies.  These are luxury items, we should not forget that.

The opposite is true as well. You may be starting out and have a limited skill set. Perhaps your cakes are somewhere beyond amateur but not quite at pro level yet. There is also a group of people who are willing to take a chance on you and pay a bit less for your cakes/ cookies even if you have not yet perfected your skill set.

This is a mutually beneficial situation as they may not know how to even bake a cake out of a box and you can make them look good by helping them out, and selling them a cake at cost. Which honestly makes you money in the long run, because someone is paying you to practice.

Sure, you are not earning a profit, you are breaking even however, the practice on that cake is an asset because it adds to your education and skill set. That is as good as money in the bank.

 Just be sure to be upfront with them, if this is the case so there are no disappointments if your baked goods did not turn out as well as you expected. This happens to all of us at the beginning.

The key to creating a profitable baking business is striking a balance between your costs, what the market is willing to pay, and your skill set.  We live in a free market economy and there is competition everywhere.

The best way to get ahead of the game is by offering a consistently great product, knowing how much it is costing you to make it ( to the last penny), knowing who is willing to buy it and how much they are willing to pay.

Wishing you all the best this week and always remember this.. No matter how hard it seems

Persistence is the key to success, never give up, ever!
Aymee aka Cookiepreneur™

p.s. Don't hesitate to drop us a line with any questions. And be sue to check out our What inspired you to become a Cookiepreneur? Contest.

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