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Case Study: Online & Offline - Make Fabulous Cakes

Darlene Abarquez

Name: Darlene Abarquez

Business Name: Make Fabulous Cakes

Online or offline business: Online 

Products and/or Services Offered:  Online courses and a youtube channel

Can you tell me about your background and where you come from? Did you/do you still have a regular job?

I started making cakes in 1996 when I was pregnant with my first child and it started out as a hobby for me.  I went to pastry school and worked in different pastry kitchens for a few years.  Working in pastry kitchens, you work odd hours; you either work very early or late into the night.

 I wanted to have a normal schedule because I have a child so I went back to school to study Interior Design. 

I worked in an office environment after that but all the while I was still making cakes on the side.  I worked in the office for over five years and in 2012, I finally quit to go into decorating cakes.

What is the name of your business and can you describe what you do and who you do it for?

I started my website named Make Fabulous Cakes in 2008 while I was still in my office job.

In my website, I share how I made my cake projects, the different techniques I used and useful tips and I also share cake recipes and other recipes pertaining to sugar work.

It is for those who are just starting out making cakes and would like to learn more about this craft.

Why did you start your business?

I was looking for a business that I can do from home so that I can be with my kids.  I found out that an online business is perfect for that. 

I can work in my own time, around my kids schedules and can pretty much work anywhere. 

I also wanted to do something that was I really passionate about and be able to help other people with. 

I wasn’t feeling that in my office job.

Where did your idea come from?

I was following a self improvement blog by Steve Pavlina and he endorsed Site Build It, a platform where you can not only build a website but they also showed you how to make money and a business with that website. 

This opened my eyes to the possibility of working from home.  

Who or what inspired you?

I was inspired by the examples on the SBI site of people who were able to make a viable online business from their websites. 

If they can do it, I can too.

What training or development did you undertake in order to start your business?

I had zero knowledge when I started out in this line of work.  But I just followed SBI’s Action Guide… well most of it, that is. 

How much money did you need to start off your business and where did it come from?

It didn’t really take a lot of money when I started, just a monthly subscription to SBI and a decent camera to take pictures to make the cake tutorials. 

Now, I do have a bit more expenses, like buying better equipment to make videos, cameras, lighting, email  marketing service, course platform.

How do you make money now with your business?

I make money with Google Adsense, affiliates, and my own paid course

How did you actually start your business, in 10 steps or less?

  • Subscribed to SBI
  • Create tons of useful content in website
  • Sharing content in social media – Instagram, Facebook, Periscope
  • Now starting to make more videos on Youtube
  • Created paid course
  • Rinse and repeat

What obstacles did you face when you started your business and how did you overcome them?

The biggest obstacle for me is having the self discipline to create content for the website, courses, videos etc. 

And it can get overwhelming at times doing all of this by myself. 

I have learned to prioritize what needs to be done first and also to be ok that some things are just going to have to wait. 

I have also learned to ask for help, I have started using virtual assistants to help me.

What are some of the things you found most useful in getting your business off the ground and why? 

When I launched my first online course, my email list really came through for me.

I surveyed what are they most interested in learning and what questions they want answered. 

I took their questions in hand when I created the course.

I find that the most important thing is building a relationship with your target people, being helpful and relevant to them.

Try to find where they are hanging out. 

Social media is very good for this; my favourites are Instagram and Periscope.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking for an idea to start a business? How would you suggest they go about it?

Start NOW

Don’t wait for things to be perfect.  Just start and it’s OK to make mistakes. 

Just make sure that the business is something that you are passionate about or something that you would like to learn more about. 

Come from the place of how can I serve

Listen and observe what the people’s pain points are and try to find a solution to their problems

How can people find out more about you and your business?

Well, if people are interested to know more about what I do, you can visit my website.  I also have several social media profiles that showcase my work.

...and here is that fabulous chocolate cake recipe I mentioned