An Unexpected Result

He's slow, but he gets where he's going.
I occasionally get culinary students who call me and ask to interview me as part of their coursework. I try to help them out, since I remember the days of trying to round up enough people to do experiments on in psychology class.

One student recently came over and had questions about what I do. It was interesting that everything she asked had a response that was firmly planted in understanding the business side of baking, rather than in baking itself. I told her that she needed to do the groundwork first, know who her customer was, and not expect to quit her day job when she was starting out. Be thorough and take it slow, or you can end up burning out pretty quickly.

When I wrote my book, Not So Common Sense, my intention was to point out some very common mistakes that people who are starting a home-based business tend to make. I knew that it would be helpful to some people, but I didn't know that it would help in a certain way.

I got a very nice thank you email from someone who had purchased my book. I was a little surprised to see, though, that she wasn't thanking me because the book was helping her in her business. She said this:

Dear Kara,

What a Blessing!

I can't tell you how glad I am to have found you and your "Not So Common Sense" on-line. Thank you for saving me a ton of aggravation. I may be capable of making beautiful, even good tasting cakes, but I realize now I shouldn't run a home business. I understand now that I need to have the self confidence to say so.

Well, that was a little surprising, but I asked her whether I could use her email to illustrate a point. That point being, not everyone really wants to have a business.

It's one thing to do something as a hobby. It's another matter entirely to start a business and try to learn how to earn a profit, control expenses, find customers, deal with problems, etc. Oh, and then there's the paperwork... I've seen many people start businesses then decide to close them because the experience wasn't exactly what they had imagined.

So if my book can help people decide whether to start a business in the first place or not, that's a good thing. If I can save people aggravation one way or another it counts as being helpful.

Next week I'm going to write about pricing and dealing with undercutters, so if you have thoughts on that issue that you'd like to see addressed, or any input, let me know.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and