On Saturday night at the inaugural Stars of the Beaches event to raise funds for the…
Gabriela Oporto shares her story of following her dream to becoming self employed
From an early age, I watched my mother and grandmother bake in the kitchen and I was always intrigued and enthusiastic about learning how to do it myself! I loved sitting down at the big communal table with my family and friends and relishing the flavour of these delicacies. When I walked past an up-market café, cake shop or patisserie I would stare for hours at the shop front window or at the pastry chefs working their magic with the dough or sugar. I knew through living these experiences that I wanted to create something like this. Something that would remind me of those childhood memories I had with my mother and grandmother forever.
Life seems to take over sometimes: study, work, family, etc. You just keep going with the flow; days pass and before you know it years roll by and then one day something happens unexpectedly and you question yourself about what it is that you really want to be doing in life. You wonder if 10 or 20 years down the track you will regret not taking that big step and following your dream. Because, hell yes, it is a big step! No security or stability is guaranteed!
“I think the hardest thing is to believe in yourself,
and that you will be able to make it work,
no matter how difficult it gets at times.”
I took the big step in September last year and resigned from my full-time job as a Food Quality Assurance Officer at a sushi company. I had studied Nutrition and Food at University and had always worked in hospitality, as a waitress or chef, but my inner motive and passion was to make simple, great tasting cakes with only natural ingredients that could take you down memory lane. So, I worked hard and got my website live, with minimal help, as everything costs a great fortune these days. I found a graphic designer to help me with business cards and brochures and off I went sampling my products to people and corporate companies in North Sydney and St. Leonards, which are close to my premises.
Sales is a challenge
I find the sales aspect of the business the most challenging, but I must admit I do believe that having a business is something so involved. It has so many different facets to it, that there will always be one or two things that you need to work on. This is the reality.
Perhaps, you are in a position like me, where you had to start a business with limited access to funds or financial assistance to fall back on, but it is possible if you are following your passion. If you are in this position, you will need to find cost effective ways to do things and this basically means learning the basics of all areas of your business: web programming and design, social media, marketing, branding, photography, sales, accounting, blogging, etc.
As you grow, you will need to consider outsourcing some tasks and allowing people to help you. It is critical to manage all areas of your business in a way that permits you to step away from your business at some point in the future. We all deserve and aim for a balanced life with family and friends, work, leisure time and ‘me’ time.
Working alone is hard
I think the hardest thing so far has been getting up every day and working on my own. I still don’t have anyone helping me full-time, but I hope to be able to employ someone within the next few months. When there are bad weeks, it is hard to stay focused on my vision and I feel like a cloud of doubt comes over me. But it is only natural, success doesn’t come overnight and we just need to stay focused and work hard and then we will get there. If this is your true purpose, the universe will help you achieve it. I truly believe this.
If anyone would like to meet up for coffee and cake I would love to get to know you. My clients are like family and this is what I love most about my business – being able to share time with them and get to know them.
May you all keep finding the strength and courage to follow your journey because life isn’t about being comfortable all the time, it’s about those challenges and the growth that you achieve from them that will make your true essence flourish. We are so much more than we think and let’s not forget it’s this very journey, guided by the support of our families, friends and all those people you meet along the way, which matters the most. So, don’t waste a single precious moment of it.
Founder and Baker, Bakealicious By Gabriela