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Case Study: Online & Offline Business - Wedding Cakes For You

Lorelie Carvey

Interviewee Name: Lorelie Carvey

Business Name: Wedding Cakes For You

Online or offline business: Both

Products and/or Services Offered: Custom wedding cakes, Digital e-Books and videos

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

I am from New England which is a region located in the northeast corner of the USA.

I come from a family of musicians and hardworking farmers LOL.

My background consists of a wide variety of coaching positions, from fitness training to dance instruction and cake classes over the years.

Having an extensive background in cake baking and decorating with mentors at numerous bakeries, banquet halls and catering facilities, I eventually managed a pastry department for three large wedding venues while simultaneously operating a home-based cake business.

Regular job: : If you can call belly dance instruction and fitness training a regular job than yes I do have a regular job, although I do both of these on a very small scale.

One of my goals is to inspire other women to feel good about themselves through confidence building. Something many women struggle with. Dance, fitness and even making wedding cakes can help to accomplish this.

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

My business is called Wedding Cakes For You and I help cake decorators and DIY brides build confidence by helping them with their baking and decorating skills and encouraging those who want to make it a business to follow their dreams.

I sell instructional e-Books and I am currently adding a companion video which will become a part of a total package. 

Why did you start your business?

I started my online business in 2009 after realizing that I could make a living online helping others.

Cake decorating is a subject I know a lot about and was highly searched online and it is a subject I know a lot about.

I have always been an entrepreneurial type.

I think I got that from my family. My dad who had his own trucking business, my brother had his own business and my mom stayed at home and ran a small day care service.

Where did your idea come from?

I started out with a completely different website idea and built a fairly successful one using Site Build It

I learned a lot with that first website build but found that I didn't have enough passion for the subject to continue.

It is important to choose something you LOVE to do and to talk about.  I switched gears and started researching other ideas.

SBI suggested choosing three areas of expertise, researching each one through keywords to see which subject was the most feasible for an online business and I chose cake decorating. 

Wedding Cakes was truly my passion so I narrowed it down specifically into an even tighter niche.

Who or what inspired you?

An SBI 'er by the name of Elad of Coolest Kids Birthday Parties was my first inspiration after discovering SBI.

Since then there have been so many successful online people whom I now follow and learn from.

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

None at first. Site Build It was all that was needed and there was so much to learn. 

I have branched out and have found other mentors as well and have purchased a few courses and e-Books mainly to understand marketing. I have also found a particular Facebook group extremely helpful.

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

Not a lot. I bought SBI for under $300/year. Slowly my site started to become highly trafficked. 

Google Adsense more than paid for my yearly fee in one month.

It took a while to get to that point but I watched my income go from pennies to dollars.

At the time I paid for my web activities through all of my other odd jobs.

I spend more now per month on a variety of software such as A Weber for my newsletters and as part of a sales funnel, lead pages for collecting leads for the newsletter, E-junkie to protect and deliver the digital files for e-Books and a small budget for Facebook Ads.

How do you make money now with your business?

Google Ad Sense, but most of my income comes from my own products (e-Books) as well as wedding cake orders from local brides who find me online.

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

  • First step after all of the research was to build 30 high quality web pages.
  • I started asking my visitors to share their stories and to ask their questions about cakes. This initially helped tremendously to build my website content, a nice following and a feeling of community.
  • Built up a few good social pages. Currently my best socializing is on Facebook and YouTube. I found that focusing on these two is pretty much all I can handle on my own.
  • I do have others started and hope to make them a little more active down the road.
  • Continuously grow and learn.
  • Market and start to spend advertising dollars.

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

Feeling overwhelmed!

I have learned that having a support group is key to keeping that in check. 

In the beginning I got support from the SBI forums and now I get it mostly from my Facebook group.

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

Creating and marketing my own products has been key to making my business grow.

Initially I didn't want to spend advertising money, so I went the free route for a long time and did OK but it was not enough.

Once I started paying for ads on Facebook things changed.

I am selling more and learning more everyday about advertising. 

Next I will learn more about Google Ads and give it a try as well.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking for an idea to start a business?

Start thinking about your passions and what you like to talk about.

Jot down any ideas that pop into your head.

Consider what products you can sell online for your niche. E-Books, videos, e-courses, physical products etc.

How would you suggest they go about it?

Check out SBI.  It's an amazing product.  I owe most of my success online to them and the people who share their knowledge in the forums.

Is there anything else you would like to say that is not covered by the questions above?

Online business through sharing knowledge was the perfect fit for me.

It is not for everyone, but if you are willing to share and want to truly help others, you are a candidate for this type of business.

Be yourself and don't worry that there are others selling the very thing that you want to sell.

There is always room for you and your unique spin.

How can people reach you who would like to know more about you and your business?

My website online, through Facebook and Youtube. I also have an active Pinterest Page. You can tweet me on twitter.

I am also on LinkedIn but you have to join it first so we can connect. 

If you have the time to watch, I have created an introductory video to my business below.