I've been yapping about the business side of making cakes for the last 5 or 6 years in this blog, and I've noticed that there are a lot of "cake coaches" popping up over the last couple of years. I have no intention of being a cake coach other than the basic business guides that I've written and a couple of people I kind of slightly sort of mentor in an informal way.
It's my opinion that getting a cake coach is fine for the general stuff, and maybe for getting your butt in gear. I also think, though, that there are too many variables in different areas for one person to be able to coach everyone. They can teach you general business principles, but they might not have enough knowledge about the specifics of your market to tell you anything you can benefit from.
If you're looking for a cake coach, what should you look for? Part of it depends on how you like to learn. I'll use myself as an example of finding the right approach...
I'll be the first to say that I'm not interested in history as a subject. Borrrring. I do like to look at old stuff, like at the antiques mall, but only if it's interesting stuff.
A few weeks ago we were driving out west of Richmond, and we happened to be passing through Appomattox. I had a vague idea that something happened there, and my daughter said that it's where the Civil War ended and they signed all of the surrenders blah blah blah. So that was boring, but then my daughter said "yeah, and they took all the guy's stuff for souvenirs."
Now this was interesting, so I asked her to explain. This is the way she told the story: "They needed a place to sign all the paperwork, so this guy said 'You can use my house.' They met up there and signed everything, then all the people who were there started taking the guy's stuff for souvenirs. He was like 'hey, that's my stuff, put it back,' but they were like 'no way, souvenirs, we're taking it.' So he was pissed off."
I liked this story so much I made a 5-minute detour to see the house where they took all this guy's stuff, I just did a drive-by, which is about as close as I wanted to get anyway. My daughter was curious about why I went out of my way to see it, since I never do that, but I liked the story of the angry homeowner having all his stuff stolen, and that's what made me interested in learning about history that day.
Now this relates to finding a cake coach in a roundabout way...In order to get anything out of a cake coach, you have to like their approach. I liked the approach that my daughter took in describing the event, but when other people describe it, it just put me to sleep.
There are many approaches to cake coaching out there...
Some people will do cake coaching through a bunch of pre-made tutorials and worksheets that you buy. but you have no personal contact with the coach.
Some will do a series of videos and put together an online group where everyone who's paid for the coaching program talks to each other and gives each other advice.
Some will work one-on-one with you but you don't interact with their other clients.
Some coaches will put up a Facebook group and lure you into buying things piece by piece...Instagram training, Facebook training, etc etc., but they don't do any individual coaching.
If you want to hire a business coach, the first thing to do is to research the coach to see if they know what they're talking about or if they're coaching because their business failed, if they even had a business. After that, look to see what approach they take as far as the level of interaction they offer. Then think about how you learn best.
If you're less interested in getting advice from people who don't know what they're talking about, you might want to skip the group-based programs and go for the one-on-one approach. If you prefer a program that you can do at your own pace, you might like the programs that have a lot of worksheets but not as much one-on-one.
Think about what you want to get out of the program, too. If it's something that you'll have to pay a ton of money for, it had better be worth it. Only you can decide what makes it "worth it."
Don't be afraid to email the person who's offering the program and ask them if they think their program will be helpful for you if your goals are X, Y and Z. Most people will let you know if they think you'll benefit, or they might offer you a limited-time trial. Or ask them if you can have a trial period to see if their approach will fit with your learning style.
There's nothing worse than shelling out a bunch of money for a program that turns out to be something that isn't helpful. Do your research before handing over your credit card number, because there will always be people who make their money from telling you they know what they're doing when they have no success in what they're coaching you on.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.biz and http://www.acaketoremember.etsy.com/