The worst advice I received? It was actually from my husband.
To be honest - looking back - I don’t know why I listened to him *laughs out loud*.
Although he was forever supporting me in my business, he simply just did not understand marketing, the type of customer experience I wanted to create and he didn’t fully realise my intense passion about fulfilling my big cake goals (even though he thought he did).
He delivered his worst piece of advice to me around the time my full-time job as a graphic designer was coming to a close. My hometown - Gladstone - is an industrial, ‘boom and bust’ town that was unfortunately in the middle of a recession. The newspaper business I worked for was closing its doors and I was faced with the prospect of no job.
I decided to take this as a sign to really try and make it big in my cake business. I was hella excited!
Although a loved cake-making in my regional hometown, I had lost my enjoyment for creating cakes for other people - it just wasn’t something I wanted to do anymore. I wanted to explore other options and step out from the limitations of small town life.
My big dream? I wanted to become recognisable in the cake industry as a teacher - rather than just a local cake-maker - with a focus on creating classes that utilised my design knowledge to help people reach cake decorating success. The dream was to travel nationally teaching in all the major cities, plus also delivering classes online to reach a wider audience.
Some dream right?
I was gushing to my husband about my big cake business dreams when he suddenly burst my bubble: ‘I think you should just focus on doing what you’re doing now - I think you should grow and establish your business in Gladstone first, instead of trying to go big and teach nationally to begin with.’ (paraphrased)
At first, I was pretty taken aback. Why would I waste my time and money doing something that I didn’t want to do?
But then...the self doubt started to creep in - urgh. I was conflicted.
My gut was telling me to ‘go big’, but my brain was saying ‘well maybe you should just be realistic and just play it safe for now?’.
Ignoring my gut feeling, I decided to play it safe and put all my efforts into growing my business in Gladstone.
I continued to take cake orders - even though deep down that’s not what I wanted to do. I spent money creating a website, hiring a photographer for marketing, designing new cake boxes AND invested in advertising. I wanted to make this new direction work for me and I was going all in.
But after about 8 months into it, I was over it. I was feeling so unfulfilled, tired and had no real motivation. Sure I had some great wins, but it just wasn’t where I wanted to be in my business.
I wanted to be teaching and sharing in my student’s wins, not creating 40 fondant horse shoes for a 12th birthday cupcake order.
It was only reflecting back on my situation a few months later did I realise why I had gone against my goals and dreams and listened to my husbands advice...
I was anxious about leaving my full time job and I was worried that this whole ‘teaching-thing’ would fail. What if no one watched my videos? Or what if people didn’t like what I had to offer? It sounded nice and safe to just stay in my lane and focus on building my business in Gladstone.
I should have listened to my gut feeling. I should have pounced at my big dream. But I didn’t.
Do I blame my husband for his advice? Hell no.
He was only trying to be helpful and give his own perspective. To him, his advice seemed logical. But he just didn’t take into account where I actually wanted to be in my business or what I wanted to achieve.
Ultimately, it was me that made the decision to step back from my dreams, so I honestly only have myself to blame.
But the lesson learnt? Trust your gut.
Trust that you know your business better than other people do, because you work in your cake business and understand your direction - those other people certainly don’t.
Don’t follow other people’s perceptions of you and don’t do things just because you think you should be doing it. Do things because you WANT to feel fulfilled in your own life and to achieve your goals.
Just because something seems like the ‘logical next step’, doesn’t actually mean it’s the right step for you to take.
What happened to me? I didn’t get stuck in the sunk cost fallacy. I followed my gut and turned my business around. I’m now creating online articles and video content, and through the power of social media, I’m lucky enough to interact with my students everyday #dreamscancometrue.
And I now take all of my husband’s business advice with a grain of salt. Ha!