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A New Business Venture?

Around work I’ve started to earn a new nickname: Betty, as in Betty Crocker, because at least once a week I bring in some sort of homemade baked treat for my co-workers.

My reasons for bringing in treats are a little selfish as I like to bake (and love the smell of yummy things baking in my apartment), but I don’t need to have an entire pan of brownies or cupcakes sitting around, so I’m always willing to share the yumminess with people I see the most. And so far, I’ve only heard good comments about my baking, which makes me happy to know people are enjoying my hard work.

Earlier today, upon discovering I had brought in coffee cake muffins made from scratch on a day a few people weren’t working, I was presented with the idea of them establishing a “baking fund” to cover the costs of the goodies I bring in with the condition that I will essentially take orders for what to bring in.

I’ve never asked, or even considered asking people to pay for my supplies or the finished product, but their idea does make sense and should turn out to be a win-win situation for all involved.

I didn’t commit to their plan yet, but am seriously considering it. I know I won’t make any sort of real profit, but it seems like a good way to help offset the costs for one of my hobbies, and bring joy to some of my co-workers. At the same time, I’ll also be able to try out some other recipes that I’ve been wanting to experiment with and will have a built-in set of taste testers.

My only real worry about this whole plan is that the expectations will be raised and I won’t be able to meet some of the requests given to me.

If for some reason I could turn this hobby into a real business opportunity, this little experiment with a relatively small consumer base seems like a good way to test it out.

I’m open to advice on how to respond, and have a few days to make my decision. Either way I’ll still continue to bring in treats for my co-workers, but does it make me seem greedy to accept money from them to purchase my baking supplies?


Responses (3)

  1. It’s very interesting that your coworkers have offered to pay for this. After all, they’ve been getting desserts for free for a while now. That indicates to me that they seem to want more control over what types of desserts they get. How do you plan on having them pay for the desserts? Just by giving you cash and a request? I wonder if you could make it more interesting than that.

    Let’s see…okay, this is just one idea. What if you taped together three clear plastic jars and cut a slit in the top of each one. Label the jars using tape with three different desserts. You put the jar out on Sunday, and people can put dollars or change in the jar with the dessert they prefer. At the end of the week, you count the “votes” and make the dessert on the jar with the most money. If any of the other jars has more than a few dollars, it remains active for the next week since that dessert is in demand, while if a jar has $0-$2 in it, you keep the money and change the label to something new. You would also change the label of the winning jar, but make a note of it to bring back on a future week. Eventually you would know which desserts were the most popular, and those desserts would compete against each other week to week. People could also request new labels.

    That system lets people give as much or as little as they want, and you’re still making more money than you are now. 🙂

    • Katy says:

      I thought it was a little strange (but also flattering) to have people suddenly start offering to pay me for my baking, and I think you might be right about my co-workers wanting more control over what baked goods I decide to bring in each week, since I’ve never really asked anyone but always just show up with a container to share.

      I think the idea with the jars and labels of choices is pretty smart, and will probably work quite well. I was thinking of just one jar for money, and a suggestion box of sorts where they can write in requests, but limiting it to just three options sounds better and more efficient. Thanks for this suggestion! I’ll have to run it but the people who asked about it today, but I think they will probably be on board, too.

      And you’re right, even if people aren’t giving much, that’s still more than I’m making now. 🙂

      • I think there are various iterations of the three-jars thing, but I think it might be fun, and it’s easy to participate even if you only have a quarter to spare. Let us know how it goes!

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