When I first started Wild Hearts in September of 2015 I was in my 11th year of teaching full-time elementary art, our son, James would turn 1 in October, and I joined Union Kitchen, DC. I baked in the evenings and did markets and pop-ups on a lot of weekends. I quickly spent all of the money we had saved and allotted for the new business (about $10,000) and built up lots of credit card debt (about $10,000). Everything about the business was new to me and I learned so much. One of the biggest eye-openers was how expensive kitchen rents are, how hard it was so bake enough to cover those costs, and how hard it was to get into stores in order to sell retail. After that first year I moved out of Union Kitchen, cancelled my DC business license, rented space from a local bakery and got a VA business license, which I feel more comfortable with.
Here's how things have changed since then:
1. I moved into my home kitchen, where I still am. I'm considering renting from another local business, looking into getting my home kitchen certified, or just continuing on as a cottage business out of my home.
2. I quit quick books online and created my own spread sheet, decided to go less frequently to the farmer's market, and I keep changing some of my options and pricing. I put myself on a strict budget, made a plan to pay off the debt I accrued and have made small changes to my spending habits (mainly doing our food shopping at Aldi which has saved us SO much money each month).
3. I realized that for so many reasons, it's too much for me to run Wild Hearts as a bigger business. While some times I feel like I'm missing out and I see other companies pushing ahead of me, hiring employees, getting into more stores and selling at more markets, that's actually not what I want right now.
4. What works for me right now is teaching part-time so that I have a good and consistent salary and health insurance for my family. When I started Wild Hearts I thought I was going to quit teaching that year. What ended up working for me is cutting back on both things: teaching less and baking less.
5. Now our son, James has started at a parent co-op preschool. I'm able to participate with school and be home with him every single Monday and is something I really, really want. I wouldn't be able to do that if I was teaching full-time or scrambling to bake all hours of the day in order to bring in enough money.
6. I'm off every Friday and have it as a dedicated me/bake/work on other things day. Some weekends I'm doing markets, but not every weekend. It is really hard to work full-time, be a new parent, have ideas and desires for other creative endeavors and businesses, and hustle to fit them in on evenings and weekends. It's so hard. Everything is work and takes time. And I have found that in order for me to do all of those things and also feel happy, healthy, fulfilled, loving, creative and confident, I need time for myself. My goals these days are to keep Wild Hearts small, manageable and profitable; generally slow down and do less, pay off credit card debt, spend time with James, and make time for creativity.