“THAT’S IT!” I cry. “I quit.” My eyes welling up with tears, my hands shaking with frustration. “I’m clearly not cut out for this. I can’t do it.” I open my laptop and go to the CV uploading website I had visited the previous week. Once again, I start re-writing my resume with both disappointment and regret.
I had only been running my business for two weeks and already handed in notice to myself three times. Before this, working a 9-5 admin role was what filled my days and baking and cake decorating for friends and family was just a hobby that filled my evenings. Well… took over my nights. “Another 2am finish” I had thought just a month ago, “Something’s gotta give.” And so it did, I had taken the
stupid brave decision to leave the safety of full time employment and spread my entrepreneurial wings. The only trouble was, all of a sudden, everything was different. I was different.
There was an added pressure on me to get this perfect. Now, if I made a mistake, my reputation was on the line. The last thing I wanted was to ruin my career before it had even started. Yet,the tasks that had once been so simple to me were becoming problematic. “Calm down, Britt. Breathe.” I say to myself as I re-bake the batch of vanilla cupcakes for the fourth time that evening. The first batch had no sugar, I had simply forgot to put it in. The second had cases peeling away and this time I had mistaken plain flour for self-raising and essentially made dry scones. Not the light and fluffy cupcakes expected for the Christening tomorrow. “Vanilla cupcakes are a basic staple of a baker. If I can’t get this right, what’s the point in trying to run a business?” Talking out loud to myself.
In the time between handing in my notice at the 9-5 and right now, my self-esteem, confidence and belief had hit an all time low. The week before when I had decided to create a recipe for my new blog, I had mistaken ‘pink lemonade concentrate’ for just normal pink lemonade. I thought being creative would make me feel better. So 24 hours after I left my pink lemonade cheesecake to set, I took it out of the fridge. Serving plate and camera at the ready, I unclipped the tin and WHOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHH. Pink lemonade spilled out from the metal ring and covered the entire kitchen. “I can’t even get this right.” I thought. “I have no business being in business.”
I took a few days out. I walked, I wrote, I chilled. I went to the park to have a word with myself. “This is what you want to do. This is what makes you happy” I mused. I was taking every mistake as a personal failure. Each time I messed up, I sank deeper into doubt. Then, I realised. I’m making mistakes BECAUSE I’m stressed out. I’m putting far too much pressure on myself. “That’s what you have to do though, isn’t it?” I thought. When you are running your own business, the buck stops with you. Every mistake costs YOU money. If you aren’t worried about it, you don’t care, and if you don’t care you don’t make money. Those thoughts spiralled so fast in my head. But it was those thoughts alone causing me to slip.
I sat in the park and cried. I cried for so long in fact, I cried until I laughed. The reality was that I had two options, give up before I’d even begun and get a ‘proper job’ or give it another go. I couldn’t walk away from it. Not now. “You’ve sacrificed so much to get here” I thought, “don’t quit.”
So I dusted myself off and got back in the kitchen. There were tears, there was laughter and there was being so broke that dinner was a 17p pack of noodles. But more importantly, there was a sense of achievement I had never felt before. I was the only one standing in my way and it was time to step aside. I am baker, hear me roar.
I’m so glad I stuck to it. It wasn’t easy and there were bad days and bad weeks of course, some worse than the ones that led me to the park in the first place. But good days too, and fantastic days, and spectacular days and days when I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Joys which I would have never experienced if I quit when it felt like everything was against me.
It’s now a few years later and here I am. An award winning business woman. I’m really very proud of myself and of She Who Bakes. I’m far from perfect though. I still make mistakes now, I’m only human. I make more mistakes some days than when I first started out. But, I don’t hate myself for it like I used to. I’m learning every day and I’ll never stop learning. I’m smiling every day and I’m loving it! I guess the moral of the story is, in the words of Winston Churchill – “Never, ever, ever give up.”