Do you have a killer baking recipe that makes everyone go nuts? Do you love experimenting with various artisan bread recipes and the results are absolutely spectacular? You could earn some extra cash by selling your home-baked goods online! It is easier than you think.
Start by studying the regulations to make sure that your business model is safe. Then proceed by introducing your products to the market. Differentiate yourself from the competition and define your brand. The best way to secure success is to nurture your customer base.
Check the Regulations First
This is the biggest headache when trying to start an online bakery business. Laws and regulations vary immensely by state, so you better check them all out. These regulations are also known as the Cottage Food Laws. Depending on the state, they may ban home-baked goods altogether or only allow them under certain conditions.
The good news is that the rules might change if people challenge them in courts or add enough pressure on their representatives. For instance, it used to be illegal in Wisconsin to sell any home-made goods until a judge struck down the law in 2017. Cottage laws are still fairly prohibitive in The Badger State (with just a $5,000 annual revenue limit for home bakers). But there’s still hope.
Also, cottage laws determine what types of goods you are allowed to sell (for instance, in some states you are allowed to sell only candies and jellies online). Furthermore, they specify if there are revenue limitations from selling those goods and if your kitchen needs to be inspected. Also, some health districts bar the indirect sale of home-baked goods via grocery stores and other retailers.
Websites like The Forrager can be handy resources to help you find out exactly what rules apply to your state and how you can meet all the requirements.
How Can I Sell My Baked Goods Online?
The answer depends on your plan. If you want to turn this gig into a full-time endeavor, consider opening an online bakery shop. However, if you just want to earn some extra cash, you may not even need to open a business.
For an online bakery shop, you will need at least:
- business license
- commercial kitchen
- annual kitchen inspections by the health department
- food handler’s licenses for all your employees
- food service establishment permits
If you plan to use the home kitchen, you might need it to be inspected first. Check your local zoning laws. If the inspection is a must, you need to consider investing in some professional appliances to store your baked goods that need refrigeration.
When selling your goods online, there are multiple ways to do it. You either pay someone to create an online bakery shop for you or promote it yourself. You could also start a food blog and use it as a platform to promote the business or start selling your treats on platforms such as Etsy.
Build a Loyal Customer Base
As a bakerpreneur, your survival depends on a loyal customer base. There are countless ways to lure in new customers and just as many ways to lose them. Make sure that you consistently deliver amazing results and that the customer service stays spectacular.
The best (and cheapest) technique to boost your customer base is the word-of-mouth marketing technique. Make yourself visible at the local bake sales, local library, doctor’s office, and so on. Let everyone know that you have an online bakery business.
For the best results, give your potential customers small samples of your products along with your business card. But do not do this with absolute strangers. Use this technique in locations where people know you to build trust.
What Can I Sell?
You could become a cupcake expert or one of your local community’s best artisan bread makers, or you could sell various baked goods that are very popular in your area. For instance, cupcakes are the rage now. Cake pops are growing in popularity, and you can’t go wrong with pies or cookies either!
Selling gluten-free or organic baked goods could also be a great hit, depending on your community’s taste. You could create a signature treat like a personal take of this easy upside down berry cake recipe or other forgotten childhood favorites with a modern twist. This way, you can easily establish an emotional bond with your customers and have plenty of regulars, aside from your family members, of course.
Make a Name for Yourself
If you are passionate about baking, there are so many ways you can make some profit from this. Start by learning the legislation inside out to make sure that your enterprise is legal and safe. Then start building your brand and reap the benefits!