Small Business Interview: Jocelyn Delk Adams, Grandbaby Cakes
I'm very excited to present Jocelyn Adams to you. The super fab boss lady behind www.grandbaby-cakes.com. Jocelyn is an amazing baker and chef and also a best selling author of her own cookbook called Grandbaby Cakes. She made the decision to pursue her dreams full time 2 years ago and it was the best decision ever. Since then she has been on the Today Show and the Rachel Ray show and has also been featured in several magazines including Essence Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, O (The Oprah) Magazine and Southern Living magazine. In this interview she shares how she got where she is today, her mistakes and her amazing successes, advice for new business owners and her 5 year goals. Enjoy her amazing interview!
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services / products do you offer?
My name is Jocelyn Delk Adams and my business is Grandbaby Cakes. It started as a blog that was created to share comforting recipes inspired by my grandmother and family's traditional recipes but with my own unique and modern twist. I offer recipes and content to my readers and also work directly with brands as a brand ambassador creating new recipes and representing them in television segments, at events and beyond. I also wrote a cookbook so that's a new product I offer as well.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
I started my blog 3 1/2 years ago because I just loved sharing recipes and being around food in such a creative way. Two years ago, I was able to quit my full-time job and work on my brand full time. It required a lot of hard work, networking and sleepless nights. I was essentially working two full-time jobs at the same time but its sometimes necessary to do those things.
Do you have any special training?
I like to tell people that I'm family taught. I learned so much about baking and cooking in the kitchen with my family. I also took a week-long class of some fun cooking techniques at Le Cordon Bleu so that was a blast as well.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
Writing my first cookbook Grandbaby Cakes, which came out last fall, was a huge accomplishment for me. It was my dream book, and I couldn't be more proud of it. I can't believe the support I have received from so many. I am so grateful that the book and my brand has afforded me the opportunity to go on the TODAY show and The Rachael Ray Show, which were huge dreams of mine. Seeing my face or brand in magazines like Essence Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, O (The Oprah) Magazine, and Southern Living has been icing on the cake.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?
For me, I started seeing a profit when I was able to commit to blogging and building my brand full time. Being able to put 100% of my time and energy into Grandbaby Cakes made the difference in me making more brand connections, writing and photographing more recipes and promoting my brand in general.
How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?
My pricing has gone up as my brand recognition has increased. I have been able to charge more not only because my social media and traffic has grown but because my brand and recognition as a whole on national tv and in recognized print and internet outlets has grown my brand. It's important to think about the whole package. Regarding pricing, I think about the time it takes me and what the brand needs. My management is great with pricing and negotiating on my behalf so I excited that I can work more on other things now.
What mistakes, if any, have you made with your business? What have some of your biggest challenges been? What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?
I definitely didn't focus as much on photography and SEO as I should have in the beginning. I did a lot of that late in the game. The newer bloggers are focusing on that from the very beginning and it is paying off big time.
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful small business?
Self-motivation is the most important element. I work from home 60% of the time, and that requires a ton of self-motivation. You must set your own schedule and be totally committed to making deadlines without a boss breathing down your neck. It comes down on you.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
My advice is to just start before you talk yourself out of it. If you focus on all the work ahead, it will be so difficult to just start. Sometimes you just need to get in there, put some muscle in it and figure it out as you go along.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
I adore Freshbooks. It changed the game for me and completely organized me. Also get an accountant. Best thing I did.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
I'm not sure I'm the best at balancing. More recently, I started giving myself a full day off which is much needed. I also rely a ton on my nightly bubble baths where I just sit, relax and read books not related to blogging.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years
Hello, Food Network or Cooking Channel! I definitely see a successful tv show, product line and other brand ventures in the works!
Please share a fun fact about yourself
I took dance lessons for 15 years. It was one of the loves of my life and I miss it. This year, I plan to take some tap dancing classes and get my feet wet again.