Each week A Bit on the Side features an inspirational women, who manages to juggle a ‘day job’ as well as A Bit on the Side. This week we’ve been talking to Lydia from The Crafty Cupcake (and yes, you will feel hungry):
Tell us about yourself
I’m Lydia, I live in West Sussex with my two young boys and husband. I love baking and eating!! And I love all things crafty!
Tell us about your day job and your bit on the side (and do you keep it a secret?!)
By day I teach and lead food and nutrition in a local secondary school which I’ve been doing for 8 years now and really enjoy! By night and at weekends, I run a small business called The Crafty Cupcake (This is my bit on the side and I love it!). I have only recently launched my business after years of dreaming about doing something like this. I don’t keep it a secret as a big part of growing my business is promotion of my products and workshops! It has been quite funny receiving a few enquiries on my FB page from colleagues and acquaintances who hadn’t realised it was me, as I go by the name of ‘The Crafty Cupcake’.
How did your bit on the side come about?
I always write myself a ‘to do’ list for the school holidays (but not like a chores list, more like a mini bucket list of things I never find time to do for myself during term time!) I realised that baking always features highly on this list and my family have always had this pipe dream of opening a cafe/tea shop together! After a rather challenging winter term at school, I spent the Christmas holidays really seriously thinking about this dream and also did a lot of baking! I’d treated myself to a kitchen aid mixer (the don of all mixers!) in the black Friday sales so I was keen to get my money’s worth!! I started an Instagram page and realised I was getting quite a few likes and interest for my cakes so I then sat down and wrote a mini business plan of where I wanted to take this idea and how I was planning to cross the line between a hobby and a business! I set up a Facebook page and ran a few competitions and before I knew it I was registered with the council, googling business insurance and saving all my receipts for icing sugar and eggs!!
What’s the best part of having a bit on the side?
The best bit for me is having that little bit of time to just do something I love and to be creative… But to also share that with others! I love making cakes for people as it’s great to let my creative streak go wild. But I also really enjoy running my crafting/baking/cake decorating workshops as it’s lovely to see the sense of reward and achievement people get from doing these events. I find baking/decorating and crafting so therapeutic so it’s lovely to hear the room suddenly go silent and see the look of concentration, mixed with relaxation, on everyone’s faces as they are mastering a new skill!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is juggling everything! I teach 4 days a week and I’m subject leader for food so there’s quite a bit of responsibility there. I have a 5 year old and an almost 3 year old and they are lively to say the least! I always refer to them as my puppies, as they need a good run in the morning and lots of food and then they’re happy! Due to my day job and family commitments, most of my bit on the side is quite aptly done ‘after dark’!! I have never been asked so many times recently “how do you do it all” and my stock response has been “with very little sleep, lots of coffee and a lot of cake!!!!” (Which is always in abundance thankfully!)
What’s your advice for others looking for a bit on the side?
My biggest piece of advice (and one I have to remind myself of daily, and nightly when I’m still decorating cakes at 1am and have a 6am toddler wake up call and full day of school ahead of me!) Is to never give up!!!! I have only been running my business for 4 months so I’m still very much testing the waters, trying out ideas and seeing how things go! Some of my ideas have been a hit, others have flopped miserably and left me feeling like packing it all in and just eating my profits ;). But I think it’s good to let things happen organically, and be patient and stay committed. The way I see it is if I love doing it so much, it’s worth putting in the hard work to see what it can lead to! I doubt myself frequently, but I have a great circle of family and friends around me who are very honest, but very supportive and this really helps!
What are your hopes for the next 12 months?
I love my teaching job but it has a tendency to consume your life, if you let it! And I have a family that I always want to have more time with. I am always striving for that perfect work/life balance (and still being able to pay the mortgage!) So my hopes are to grow my cake/craft business enough to drop my teaching hours a little. I’d like to have the best of all worlds and do a few days teaching, a few days caking/crafting but still be able to pick my children up from school some days and have some quality family time! So all in all I guess I’d say, I’d love to have my cake and eat it!! 🙂
You can find The Crafty Cupcake on Facebook.