I have been so quiet lately when it comes to this blog and i’m sorry to those who do love reading my posts. This one is a bit emotional or at least it made me feel a little emotional. It has come to my attention that many people out there may be feeling the same. Everyone who knows me knows me by my cakes, not by who I am and I think that being a small business owner is 50% cakes, 50% me. For people to really love and appreciate my work, they should at least know a little about me and what goes on BTS. Making cakes is both a physical and emotional thing. For me, it puts a strain on me physically, emotionally and even with my own family and frienships. It’s hard but worth it because it’s something I love doing. I value my customers so much and I honestly feel so lucky that I’m chosen to be a part of their special events so it’s only fair that I share a little bit of me from time to time. Here is a blog dedicated to my fellow cakers, customers who want to grab some insight and to anyone who needs a bit of encouragement.
Here are the 10 things i’ve learnt along the way!
1. Not everyone will love your work, and that is ok. Some people will scrutinize, criticise, and pick at your work until you’re in tears. This is also ok to some extent. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. This shows that you’re unique, your style isn’t loved by everyone, but then again not everyone wears Versace or shops at Kmart? But does that stop Versace or Kmart from selling their stuff? No! What’s important is that you love you, and I don’t mean that in a cheesy, your mum tells you you’re special kinda way I mean LOVE YOURSELF because you should and you deserve it.
2. You will fail. Probably more than once, maybe multiple times. However, through failure you will recognise your wins. It is only through failure that we can recognise when we have triumphed! I’ve failed more than once, stuffed up a cake, made the wrong flavour, underbaked a cake, had to make another one. But that’s the point, you just bake another, fix that cake, fix that problem! Not everything will be fixable but that’s life. You will be okay, you’ll fail and learn all at the same time. This is so important especially for cakers, our whole journey is a learning process, no one knows everything about cakes or everything there is to know about their profession. It’s important to learn and continue learning all throughout your life. Learning is the key to life!
3. Clap for yourself, recognise your wins and celebrate them. Maybe not with a bottle of champers everytime you get a sharp edge on fondant or bake the perfect cupcakes but definitely smile and tell yourself you’re doing great, because you are! Who am I kidding I happy dance and reward myself with ice cream when I feel like ive had a good day haha I cannot stess this point enough, it’s important to celebrate yourself sometimes because at the end of the day you are your own worst critic and your biggest cheerleader! By celebrating your wins you are practicing self-love and that in itself is a beautiful thing.
4. Own your mistakes, don’t hide from the imperfections and play them off like they didn’t happen or that they aren’t there. OWN THEM. Embrace them and tackle them head on. Once you spot the imperfections and embrace them this will open the door towards fixing them. When I own my imperfections i’m also owning that part of me that is completely human. I’m not perfect and neither are my cakes and when I acknowledge that, then that’s when I can learn from them and make it better next time.
5. Write everything down. Every idea, every recipe, every design just write it down. Even if it’s a scribble in a note pad or a memo on your phone, write these ideas down because one day you’ll go back to it and thank the heavens you read my blog and that I told you to do it (haha, just kidding you’ll love yourself for it!) I can’t begin to tell you how many ideas I’ve scribbled something down and one day gone back to it and said oh thank goodness I wrote this down!
6. You will be your biggest critic. This is a blessing and a curse. I am probably unhealthily, my own worst nightmare. I will terrorize myself and beat myself up over my imperfections on my cakes. This is a great thing because that means I care, I want things to be beautiful for my clients and that im also acknowledging my faults. But, it is also a not so great thing because it can really play on your mind and drive you a bit nuts. Try not to hate on yourself so much.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t let social media dictate your worth. This is so easy to do and everyone will go through this at least once throughout their life if they have active social media accounts. We do this with celebrities, fitness models and even cakers. We look at cake people who have thousands of followers and assume they’re better than us just because of the followers they have or likes they gain. Of course this in no way puts down those popular accounts! But to those who struggle to gain followers or likes and feel like this is a measure of their ability or skill or that their work isn’t worth it, you’re wrong. I’ve seen amazing cakes not get the acknowledgement they deserve and it’s not because they aren’t good enough it’s just simply social media. Like a test doesn’t measure intelligence, followers don’t measure cake skills.
8. Try again, don’t give up. If you had a tough week and you are ready to throw in the towel, don’t! Pick up that spactula and keep going. It may not work the first time but it will work eventually. Through practice, perseverance and passion you will succeed. Success isn’t bought, it’s earned. I do remember one of my favourite chefs Matt Moran said that when he first started out he would go home and practice his piping skills at the kitchen table with a tub of soft butter and a piping bag. Don’t ever give up. We all start somewhere.
9. Make friends, not everyone is your competitior there is room for everyone. This world is filled with competition, we thrive on competition and we always want to be better than the next person. Human nature. It’s normal to see someone else’s work and be envious and wish your work was the same but you shouldn’t. You should see them as someone who has a skill you would like to learn. Praise your fellow cakers for the skills they have! Chances are, you are also admired by other cakers around the world that you don’t even know. Making friends with other cake people has so many benefits, not only do you have a de briefing buddy for when you’re having a stressful cake day but you can ask for advice, give advice and help one another out. It’s often hard to communicate with people who don’t make cakes or understand the logistics of it, so when we have likeminded people around us it helps so much!
10. Give yourself a break. This is something i’ve learnt just recently actually. What I mean by giving yourself a break is not only taking time out for yourself and practicing self love but also allowing yourself to make errors. Give yourself a break, you are only human, you aren’t perfect, you aren’t a robot behind a computer screen who just works and doesn’t have feelings. You have feelings, and they matter. So you had a complaint? So what. You forgot to make a cake? So what. You baked the wrong flavour? So what. You wrote the wrong age and name? So what. I don’t mean don’t care about these things and tell your customers to shove it, don’t do that. Care, try to fix things but don’t dwell on it and cry about it for ages. It will burn a hole into your heart. In all honesty you should clap for youself now and say well at least I didn’t so something REALLY BAD. There are bad things happening in this world and if the worst thing you did this week was bake the wrong flavour or copped an earful from a client then you’re doing ok. I’ve started looking at the bigger picture and acknowledging that not everone will love you, not everyone is your friend and not everyone is your customer. I have had to come to terms with this and it’s hard but it also provides a sense of freedom. I don’t have to please everyone and neither do you. Not because we don’t want to but because we simply can’t.
And thats a wrap! Here are the 10 things I’ve learnt. I have had ups and downs but the ups make it so worth it!
Thank you all for reading and supporting me, I hope that this blog gave you some insight or resonated well with you on some level. Cakes are actually a lot of fun and I absolutely adore making them. However, it’s good to acknowledge the not so pretty side too. But then, I make a cake like this and everything seems okay again. This little girls reaction was so beautiful it made all the craziness of that week worth it!
As always, happy baking!
Love Nelle xox