Liz Wilson, the founder of Ma Baker, looks at the challenges of juggling kitchen space and home life, and explains why running her business from home remains crucial to her success
13th October 2016
Today my house is more bakery than home…tomorrow it will change. There are, of course, amazing benefits: we are never short of bread, and the house always smells great. The not so great bits include my lounge room being full of flour, the pots of dough bubbling away all over the place and keeping the kitchen out of bounds for family use when I am teaching or baking. Because I have customers coming on a regular basis, the house has to be kept very tidy, which is tough for my teenagers!
Juggling everything is difficult, especially as my business grows and my small house fills with more and more equipment and ingredients. I am now at the point of looking for premises which is a very big and scary thing. It will be better for family life but, I imagine, it will be more stressful for me. However, if I want the business to grow, sacrifices must be made.
Running a business from home is interesting. My business started with a love of bread. I was baking and delivering a very small amount once a week, alongside working full time. Slowly the bread took over, the paid job went and my house is now more bakery than home. The way I have managed things so far is by being incredibly organised and incredibly tidy. Some days, I would love to have a space that I could close the door on and not have to rearrange back into a home at the end of the day.
However, the benefits of working from home include the lack of travel – I just go downstairs and bake. I am always home for deliveries, I can be very flexible with plans, and my customers are within walking distance. I can claim lots of my home expenses as work expenses and I get to eat lots of good bread!
My main piece of advice for other business owners is to make sure all those who live with you are on board with your business. It is important that they understand when you are working, as opposed to just being at home. It’s tough, and sometimes it can cause problems. My children see me, Mum, at home, as opposed to a person trying to run a business. Let kids know what is going on, and be clear about your schedule. It can work and I know, deep down, they are very proud of me.