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Finally getting started!

Anything considered a "hustle" and not necessarily a CENTS-based Fastlane

Saint

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Sep 11, 2022
10
14
After all the family and festivities in December, my wife and I are finally getting started with our bakery! This seems like the right place to share my progress. I'd welcome any feedback along the way.

First thing - I got my wife to start reading Fastlane. People have been paying her for baked goods for about two years (on a very small scale), and she's always wanted to do it full time, but she didn't quite have her eye on the ball of Fastlane. We're about 35 chapters in, and it's been as eye-opening for her as it was for me. Every day we're getting more aligned on what we're trying to do with the business

Progress so far:
  • We have a logo
  • Website created
  • Instagram page created
  • Facebook page created
  • Yelp page created
  • Nextdoor page created
  • Zola and Carat & Cake profiles created for weddings
  • Applied to ~8 farmer's markets; most are starting for 2023 in March/April
  • Bought supplies and signage to attend a market
  • I have a system going for tracking our sales and expenses
  • I'm learning SEO/digital marketing
  • She's learning design and growing an audience on Instagram
We got our first online order through Yelp last week, and our first 5-star review, but none since then.

We also got approved for a market last week. We checked it out last Saturday, got encouraged by some of the vendors, and we're going to show up this Saturday and see what we can sell.

We haven't gone all-out on posting on platforms and advertising yet (we set up a lightweight ad on Yelp with their free trial), but next week we're going to start posting regularly and looking for business to reach out to and visit about buying from us.

In this second reading of Fastlane, I do think this can become a fastlane business, but it may not be as optimal as other paths. Regardless, I'm excited to learn digital marketing, managing finances of a real business, and selling our own product! Maybe we just get some extra cash, maybe it can be the foundation for a money tree. Either way, people love these desserts, so we're going to get em out there and learn a lot in the process.

If anyone has any advice about a smart way to plan to reach people on all these platforms, or feedback on anything else, I'd certainly welcome it!
 
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Robdavis

Bronze Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Nov 16, 2022
108
135
United Kingdom
Well done on the action that you've taken so far. I hope that the market on Saturday goes well for you. Please let us all know how it goes.
Would it be worth pushing your Instagram page as a way of getting "free" advertising? Also could you use a site like Tiktok or Youtube to draw attention to your products?
 

Saint

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Sep 11, 2022
10
14
Thanks so much for the encouragement Rob!

We did post on Instagram to our 50 followers. But honestly we're wanting to just see how it goes without a bunch of friends and family showing up lol. We'll definitely promote hard every week if we start going every week.

We're going to use TikTok and Youtube eventually, but we're still working on mastering the other platforms. There's still so much to make the website half decent.

Really appreciate your advice!
 

Saint

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Sep 11, 2022
10
14
Well the market was a huge success in our book! We sold 100+ items in about 5 hours. Made a decent chunk of change, and more importantly, got to directly connect with dozens of people and make a positive impression about our product.

We got there at about 8:15 and set up. When I was loading the car, it felt nice outside, but once we got to our spot and stayed outside for more than 10 minutes, the wind started hitting, and all I had was a light jacket. I quickly got really cold.

We were set up before the market started at 9. Nothing for the first hour, then I went to help set up some signs for the market, and when I got back, a woman had tried to buy a whole box! But we didn't have a credit card reader yet (only accepting cash and all the money transfer apps), so we missed our first sale. First big learning of the day!

Shortly after that, it started raining despite no forecast for rain for the day. I almost didn't get a tent to cover us, but the guy who runs the market strongly recommended it, so I bought one the night before. Good thing, because it actually rained pretty hard (and it was the first rain at all since Christmas).

Even with the rain, people kept showing up, and we finally got our first sale! Yet again, he would have bought a whole box, but once again needed a credit card for that, so he just paid cash for a few items instead. But we were so so soooo beyond excited to get our first sale!

Over the next few hours we sold to several more people. We had a lot of fun interactions, the other vendors were super kind and helpful, and we had a few friends stop by too. We were freezing, our feet killed us, and we were overall a pretty big mess, especially dealing with our supplies in the rain. But we had a pretty darn good looking table, we got our information out to dozens of people, and we learned so much.

We're going to go back next week with a laundry list of updates. The biggest ones are to have a cc reader, reorganize our volume discounting (it was a bit confusing to people), and collect emails from people to update them on when we're showing up. We'll also start promoting it on every channel we've set up.

We'll see if we get any orders this week from people who tried the cookies too!
 
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Last edited:

Saint

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Sep 11, 2022
10
14
Thanks @Robdavis! I'll keep updating here how things go once we post about the market for this Saturday.

@savefox I've been thinking about that a lot. "Intentional Iteration" via chains or franchising is the most obvious play. Several businesses in our niche have done that in our region. We could also stick with online orders only and have essentially infinite scale on the production side. Then I guess it would be a question of can we win in the market.

I think the quality is there to be a player (we had a previous customer show up and clean out one of our items when she heard we were there), but I don't know how big or profitable the market is at scale.

There's also the possibility of building the brand and even my wife's ability and create more passive products around this, but that's far down the road.

I'd welcome any suggestions about how to get there faster though! We're mainly using the farmer's markets to test the market and get in front of customers while I keep learning digital marketing.
 
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Saint

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Sep 11, 2022
10
14
Well no online orders this week. It's been a few weeks since we got that first one. We posted an ad on yelp that got views and a few website clicks, but no orders came through. We've been more focused on preparing for the market because we see that as such a great way to get in front of people, but we haven't done as much work on the digital side.

But we made a lot of progress for these farmer's markets. We got approved for what looks like a fancier market. It required jumping through a few more hoops, but when it starts in a month or two I expect it to have a lot more traffic.

We've done a lot to be much more prepared this week. I got Square cc readers so we won't miss any more sales for folks with only a cc. Those just arrived yesterday, and Squaare's whole system seems to make keeping track of sales and inventory a lot easier. We also got a another table and containers for supplies (partly to protect from rain), and we'll have a sign-up sheet to be able to update people on offers and where they can find us.

We also have half the product ready for the market tomorrow. And we feel a lot more prepared now that we've done it once - we'll pre-package everything so we're not having to restock as we go along. We'll also have heavy enough clothes to not be miserable!

I'll update about how it goes. Looking forward to interacting with and serving customers!
 

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