Then I was made redundant and took temping roles but the baking was taking over. I’d work all day in the financial markets, go home and bake for the farmers’ market, get a few hours’ sleep, then do it all again. I never had any free time. After three years of this, I had to choose. I went with what makes me happier. That was about 15 years ago.
I found premises to work from and locked myself in there for 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week to bake and decorate cakes and cupcakes. The business grew via word of mouth and because I sold at the markets at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter, home to big media agencies, I got to know marketing and PR teams and started baking for movie premieres and brand launches. I was in the right place at the right time.
Fast forward to 2014 and one day, craving pavlova, I stumbled upon a pretty cheesecake shop in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs that was perfect for me. I secured the lease and renovated it using my savings. My brother and I got on the tools – I put up battens and plasterboard and painted it myself.
Running a business has difficulties – finding talented staff is challenging – but I’m my own boss. I could be working in the corporate world, going home stressed every night, earning a great salary. But my business allows me to meet new people each day.
Sometimes customers come in and the weight of the world is on their shoulders. I tell them a silly story or help them look at their problem differently and they walk out with cupcakes, laughing and feeling lighter. I love creating happiness. Running your own business has its struggles but I’m my own boss.”
Carissa’s tips for keeping the momentum going
- Set goals -it doesn’t matter whether they are yearly, monthly, weekly or daily – and If you don’t get to cross them off, don’t stress.
- Just keep going - success is determined not by how many times you win but by how you play the week after you lose.