by Sharon Wee

This is the fifth post of a six part series about some truths behind the first 6 years of my cake journey. We hope you enjoyed reading it, be sure to comment and let us know. If you want to start at the beginning please head to the introduction, Let Me Tell You a Secret.

The majority of my opportunities have all stemmed from one thing – me chasing it. While it may be true that these days (after 6 years) I have people contacting me to invite me to their country or to feature my cakes in a magazine, I only got to this point because I made an effort to chase them first. Let me be very honest with you and say this – there are people out there who are truly lucky. The ones who win the lottery, who ‘get discovered’, go viral and become an overnight sensation. With billions of people around the world, chances are you and I are not one of them. So like everything you have a choice – you can sit, wait and hope that you become lucky or you can stand up and make it happen. I chose and still continue to choose to make it happen. Let me explain how…

When I was doing production work, I contacted a list of bridal publications and told them all about me and my work. I offered to create cakes for photo shoots or to be interviewed. Every time I delivered a cake to a venue, I brought a stack of business cards and some free samples (if I had spare cupcakes, cookies…etc) and gave it to the event manager. As much as I could, I never missed an opportunity to share with people what I do.

My first international class in Singapore was a result of a photographer at my cousin’s wedding who mentioned that his wife would really like to learn from someone like me. Instead of waiting around for a school to find and host me, I went online to Google for schools and kitchen rental places in Singapore and reached out to them.

My first international class in Singapore
My first international class in Singapore

For the next year after that, I was reaching out to schools within Australia and overseas. People hardly knew who I was and if I am honest with you – could not care less. I was told my work was nice but “not special enough” and that “we host all the big names like Peggy Porchen and Alan Dunn, so in order for students to come to your class, your work must be really good and special – or else people won’t come”.

My very first student in 2009!
My very first student in 2009!

The American market in particular was very hard to get into. They had their own local home grown cake superstars… what would they want/need with some random caker from the other side of the world? Nonetheless, I knew people were interested in what I had to do. I knew because despite cake shops telling me my work was not “special enough” I had people from around the US emailing me asking me when I was going to teach there. So on a whim, I saw that Craftsy had just started filming cake decorating classes, so I logged on to their website and filled out their instructor proposal form. I filled it out in one sitting and quickly pressed submit before I changed my mind. After all, what have I got to lose? I ended up being Craftsy’s first international cake teacher and to date have filmed 3 classes with them.

The awesome team I got to work with... Thank you Laffrey, Clif and Caleb!
The awesome team I got to work with at Craftsy… Thank you Laffrey, Clif and Caleb!

The most wonderful thing about running your own business is that you are in charge. You are in charge of when you get to go on holiday and what you decide to sell. On the flipside, this also means you are in charge marketing your business. If you do not step up and make things happen – it will not happen.

Too often I see people sit and have a pity party about how hard things are for them and list all the things they do not have. I really believe that doing that does no one any good – because I have been there, and it did me no good. It was only when I changed my attitude and looked for my own opportunities that things started to happen for me.

So my most important advice here would be to have the right attitude. Surround yourself with the right people (people who will support you, not pull you down) and go out there and look for opportunities – you are in charge of your success.

Continue reading the next and final part in the series, Secret 6: The Skills

Some of Sharon's favourite tools

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