Radical Resilience: Naomi Rose’s Unconventional Journey to Creating her Baking Boss Business

My guest this week is Naomi Rose. Naomi is a food business strategist and baking coach who helps people achieve baking success. She is the former owner of an award-winning café, bar and bakery and she is now on a mission to help as many people as possible build successful baking businesses as well as become confident home bakers.

What I found striking about Naomi’s story is how resilient we as humans can be. Naomi shares her incredible story of opening up a cafe and bar within a span of 3 months with zero experience running her own business or zero experience working in the hospitality industry. 

I truly believe that we as humans can figure out nearly anything when we set our minds to it and Naomi is evidence of that! 

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Full Episode Transcript

Transcript

Lynn Grogan [00:00:02]:

Alright. Welcome back to the Courageously Unconventional podcast. So today, I have a special guest on the show, Naomi Rose. Naomi, thank you for coming on the podcast.

Naomi Rose [00:00:10]:

Oh, thank you for having me. It’s so good to be here.

Lynn Grogan [00:00:13]:

Yeah. Why don’t you go ahead briefly introduce yourself, and then we’ll dive right into your unconventional story.

Naomi Rose [00:00:20]:

Yeah. Of course. So I’m Naomi. I live here in the UK. I’m currently in Cambridge. Although this week, I’m actually moving to Yorkshire, so I’m on the move myself, which is really exciting. And I have a business called Baking Boss, which is helping people with their baking businesses whether it’s a cafe or a small business as well as helping teaching people how to bake online. So I came from a background of working in the hospitality industry before this, but actually, I was working a 9 to 5 job in an office, and I just quit and opened a cafe and bar.

Naomi Rose [00:00:53]:

So that’s how I’ve ended up doing what I’m doing now, really.

Lynn Grogan [00:00:57]:

Which is actually one of the things that drew me to your story is, the cafe and bar you just mentioned, Elsie May’s. Is that right?

Naomi Rose [00:01:04]:

Yeah. That’s correct.

Lynn Grogan [00:01:06]:

Yeah. So you, when you messaged me, you said you started your business, your cafe and bar, with 0 experience in the industry. You’re not a professional baker. And if I’m understanding correctly, you’d never had your own business before. Is that right?

Naomi Rose [00:01:20]:

That’s absolutely correct. Oh my gosh. Okay.

Lynn Grogan [00:01:23]:

So, like, what inspired this? Like, how did this happen?

Naomi Rose [00:01:26]:

I suppose it all actually started back in 2017, and I’ve been doing my job for quite a while. I’ve been working in sort of, like, a 9 to 5 office job. I’ve done digital marketing, comms, all quite creative sort of jobs, but I was getting to a point where I was like, I’m not really getting anything out of it. I’m getting quite bored. So I thought I’ll challenge myself. I’ll enter London marathon. You know? I’d I’d run all of 5 kilometers. So I was like, yeah.

Naomi Rose [00:01:53]:

Sure. It’d be fine. It was not fine. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 26 miles. And I didn’t quite appreciate how much. I have knee pound, you know, admiration of anyone who can run marathons, but, yes, it took over my life for about 4 months. And the reason I’d entered it was because I really wanted to challenge myself and see what I could achieve because it’s something like you think, oh, maybe one day I’ll do it.

Naomi Rose [00:02:17]:

And I thought, well, why not today? And I did it and I ran it and it hurt a lot, but I got to the end and it sort of opened up my eyes of sort of thinking, well what else can I do? Because the only person really stopping me from doing anything is myself. So actually, what do I want to do? And it was then I kind of thought I don’t really want to work for anyone else. I’m not I’m not very good as my parents will say, being bossed around by other people and as much as I had really nice employers, the people I worked with were absolutely lovely, it just wasn’t inspiring me in that way and that’s kind of where the journey sort of started into the following year where I thought I’m gonna work for myself. I don’t know what I’m gonna do, but that’s what I’m gonna do. And that’s how it kind of all began.

Lynn Grogan [00:03:02]:

But how did you land on the cafe and bar? Because I think for some people, they might be like, alright. Fine. I’ll do, like, online solopreneur, this kind of thing. But that like, what you’re describing to me, like, blows my mind because it’s almost like this type of undertaking without having experience for a lot of people would just, like, not even cross their mind.

Naomi Rose [00:03:24]:

Yeah. I suppose what happened was we live in a market town at the moment. It’s on the river. So every weekend, we would walk in along the river with our dog, Bella, who we had at the time, and have him sit and have a coffee outside a chain cafe. And we’d sit there and say, oh, wouldn’t it be lovely if we had like a little place where it was more dog friendly? Because a lot of places where we live weren’t particularly dog friendly. And as we were walking back one day, the this building, which had been there for in my little town for years, was being renovated and it being quite derelict, being there probably 12 years without being loved. And we went in because the lady renovated and said do you want to have a look? And I was like well, yeah. I I’m nosy, so I like to see what’s going on in the town.

Naomi Rose [00:04:11]:

And it was formerly a nightclub, but actually underneath the nightclub was this incredible 1920s art deco building that had this incredible history. And I was like, this is amazing. It had original parquet flooring. It had original all the original bronze works. And it was originally opened back in 1920 as the electrical company showrooms in my local town, which is where power first came into our town back in the 1920s. And this building was used to showcase what this this can do. And yet this history had sort of been buried under a nightclub, an amusement arcade, and, oh, it was it was awful. I mean, there was nothing recognisable of this building, but the features were still underneath, like, the carpets and underneath all the floated in ceilings.

Naomi Rose [00:04:57]:

And, like, this place would make an amazing cafe and bar. And it was just sort of I suppose originally, it was just like a little bit of an idea. But then we talked to the landlord and then I talked to my dad who said, who was retired and been retired for a while, and it’s like, well, I could do a challenge. And it it kind of just snowballed a little bit. We’re like, well, are we gonna do this? Like, well, what’s the worst that could happen? We could we could just learn something as we go and yeah. Okay. It might not work out in the end, but we don’t wanna live life sort of regretting what we’re what we’re thinking of doing. And I like to bake, and my nana, Elsie May, taught me how to bake and she always wanted her own tea room, which is where the name came from.

Naomi Rose [00:05:41]:

I’m like, well, should we just go for it? And it was like, that was that was pretty much it. So suddenly what I thought was going to be a small cafe turned into rather a big cafe and bar, which was much, much bigger than I anticipated. But once you start down this sort of path, it kind of just carried on and carried on. And next thing you know, it was 3 months later when we were opening. 

Lynn Grogan [00:06:04]:

Wait. So you put that all together in 3 months?

Naomi Rose [00:06:07]:

Pretty much. Yeah. So we fit first looked to the building sort of around August, but we actually didn’t start renting it until October. And having my sort of my marketing head on, I was like, we have to open in December. It’s gonna be the busiest month of the year. And from a just financial point of view, this will launching this time of year will be great. It was great and also absolutely crazy launching in the busiest time of year because we were still very much a new team. I went from having sort of 4 core staff to doubling that in the 1st month because we were so busy.

Naomi Rose [00:06:43]:

So it was a complete learning curve of new people, new systems, new technology. The building was an empty space, so we had to completely create the whole thing from scratch with and also I was very passionate about restoring the building. It was something that was really key to what I wanted to do. And the floor took 8 weeks to bring back. To the original parkour because it’d been glued down with this horrible carpet. It was awful. 

Lynn Grogan [00:07:09]:

My gosh.

Naomi Rose [00:07:10]:

So but we’re like, no. It’s got to come back. It’s we’ve got to bring it back. It’s absolutely we’ve got to really demonstrate what this building is. So even if we aren’t still here, this building’s history can still live on after that. So that’s what we basically did. So it was all guns blazing. And some days we’d have 9 different trades in on one given day just to try and get the job done, but they worked really hard and it was just a real credit to sort of everybody involved that they managed to sort of deliver this in the timescales, the ridiculous timescale I had set, but we did it.

Lynn Grogan [00:07:44]:

That’s incredible. And, like, during this time, what was happening with your 9 to 5?

Naomi Rose [00:07:50]:

I was still I was still full time. I was actually yeah. Yeah. So I think I finished on the about mid November. So I was actually, at the time, covering, another place.

Naomi Rose [00:08:05]:

So I was actually covering someone else’s role while I was doing it. So I was sort of heading up a digital team while they were on maternity leave and I was like, well, I’ll carry on as long as I possibly can, but at some point I’m going to have to stop. So I kind of got two heads. So there’s a I put a picture off on my social I think a couple of days ago where I’m sitting in the building as it was being renovated. So it’s a complete building site while I was actually doing a call with my team in my old job. Literally, it was kind of like a make it all work and just try and make sure I keep on track with everything. So I had a, you know, I had a massive project management sort of document, so I could kind of try and at least manage and delegate my time as best as possible. But, yes, it was rather ambitious.

Naomi Rose [00:08:49]:

Probably something I would recommend to everybody, but I’m kind of an all or nothing person.

Lynn Grogan [00:08:56]:

And, like, throughout your life, besides the marathon and besides this, had you had a history or anything like this where you didn’t got an idea and just went it, that kind of thing?

Naomi Rose [00:09:07]:

I suppose I mean, I mean, my I was trained musicians, so I’ve always been in music, and I studied in music. That’s where I went and I’m still an orchestral player today, so I play in orchestras. And, I’ve just kind of had that, I suppose, that half a business brain, but half a creative brain. So it’s quite a sometimes it can be quite a battle because sometimes my brain will kind of go, no, you’ve got to project manage and be organized, and the other half will be like, no. I want to create something beautiful and make something and make something great. I’ve never done quite anything this radical. I have been known to quit jobs before without something else to go to because I’m that kind of person that thinks, well, we’re we’re humans, and our part of our natural instinct is to survive. So I’ll always think, well, if I quit and I’m not liking doing something, I’ll leave because there’s no point in doing something I don’t like, and I will find something else because we’re designed to survive.

Naomi Rose [00:10:02]:

So that’s the kind of thinking that went behind doing anything like that, really.

Lynn Grogan [00:10:07]:

Wow. And, like, I’m just wrapping my head around this because 3 months is a very little time. I’ve worked in cafes and bars and stuff throughout the years, and I’m just trying to imagine those coming to fruition while working another job. Like, how what was it like for you? Like, just walk me through, like, a typical day. Like, what’s going on for you emotionally as you try to figure this out?

Naomi Rose [00:10:32]:

Oh, some some days really pushed you to the wire, really. It wasn’t certainly an easy thing to do. So I had to sort my kind of my guidance, my project management document. And some days it would be like I’ll do my 9 to 5 job and then I’ll do 7 or 8 hours in the evening on the new business. So it might be sourcing equipment, which was all done through Google because I was trying to learn as I went. I had no idea what I was doing. So every time I opened the door, I was like, oh, there’s another door to open. And you sort of kind of go, I didn’t know anything to do with building control, and I didn’t realize that I needed that as part of the legalities for environmental health.

Naomi Rose [00:11:07]:

So every time you open something, another little bit of Pandora’s box would suddenly appear. So some days, it would be a complete panic, where I was just thinking I’m never gonna get this done, what have I done? But you’re then too far down the line to think, well, it’s too far down the line now, I’ve got to keep going. So you kind of have to you have this kind of constant internal monologue of yourself where you kinda go I’ve got my document. I can see the project management. This is how it’s gonna work, and then you kind of go into a complete meltdown and panic, and then you bring yourself back again. So there was definitely long days and long hours and what I actually didn’t really think about when I was doing the whole build and kind of setting it up. So I’d done the sort of business planning and thinking logically about what’s gonna happen if the worst case scenario, no one comes in. I didn’t think about what if everybody comes in, which is actually what did happen.

Naomi Rose [00:11:56]:

So it it got off it it went so much more bigger than I was expecting at the start, but I also didn’t anticipate how much hard work would then start when I opened the doors. So it had been really, really quite a lot of pressure, quite a lot of tiring long days, building work, physical work to get there, and then the real work started when we opened. So I didn’t really even anticipate how how much mind, physical, and all that other energy would be needed then post then. And, of course, at that point, I had a team of people that then relied on me, and I didn’t have a boss. So as much as I like being a boss, and I’m very confident with that now, at the time, I was like, oh, they want me to make the decision. So that’s really new. Whereas before, I’d have, like, this safety blanket or someone else that I could kind of go, am I right with this? So so then it was all down to me that it was kind of like, well, let’s just give it a go and see what happens kind of answers. So it was very much an unknown territory.

Naomi Rose [00:12:58]:

So it did test you mentally as well as physically. Some days. 

Lynn Grogan [00:13:04]:

On your podcast, you’ve talked quite a bit about, like, using your intuition and trusting your intuition. But it’s like, how do you trust your intuition when here are situations that you’ve never been in before? Like, can you speak to that a little bit and specific examples if you have them?

Naomi Rose [00:13:21]:

So I think how I approached that was I kind of listened to quite a lot of people. So I the team I employed, some of them had more experience than I did of working in their particular roles. So back in the days of when I worked sort of in the 9 to 5 job running digital teams, they had people in my team would be like trained web developers and I know some web development but nowhere near what they know. So my role was very much about leadership and making sure that I could give them the right strategic leadership for them to be able to do their job without me having to do it for them. So it’s taken some of that mentality into the business. So it’s talking with my team that had worked in kitchens before that had understood like a service and had understood that, listening to what they were saying and then working out what was the best for my business. And some of it would be, we just gotta give this a try, and this is what my gut is telling me. Sometimes I’ll go absolutely against my gut, and it would definitely end up being wrong.

Naomi Rose [00:14:18]:

And sometimes it’d be very easy to be guided by other opinion other people’s opinions, particularly customers because I’m a people pleaser. So trying to please everybody is never gonna work, and I learned that it took me quite a while to learn it. I learned it quite early on, but it took me quite a while to accept it, I suppose. So there will always be someone that will say I was too expensive, or there’d always be someone that wouldn’t be happy with what we’re serving. So I had to learn to accept, that’s fine, but there’s someone over there that probably would suit you better. So go and visit them because everybody needs the support, and this is what I do. So in some ways it was a lot of it was about confidence and being clear. Some of it was about talking to people and kind of thinking, what do you think about this? Do you think this would work? So, and sometimes like creating a menu, I’d never done that before.

Naomi Rose [00:15:11]:

And I thought, oh, this is fun. And then I realized actually there’s quite a lot more elements to creating a menu than just putting it onto a nice piece of paper, but it’s actually, how long is it gonna take to get out to the customer? Do you have the storage place? What about waste? You need to consider all of the fresh ingredients you’ve got and how long you can have them in your fridge for. How quickly can the team serve it? Do they know what you’re serving? So there’s lots of different elements to it. And some of it was, we’ll try it. Let’s see what works, and then we’ll just take it off. So it was sometimes I would have to make a decision without necessarily knowing the answer and then work backwards from there. And I think probably sometimes I wouldn’t trust my intuition. I would end up comparing myself to everybody else, and I would get quite paranoid about what I was doing.

Naomi Rose [00:16:00]:

But what I realized at the time was I was different from other people, and that’s okay because actually that creates the community that strengthens all of the businesses around us, including myself. So it was then just being confident with what we have, listening to the customers and listening to my team.

Lynn Grogan [00:16:18]:

There’s so much in there that I was like, bing, bing bing, bing. I mean, it sounds like almost in part 2 is you were able to lean on some of your previous leadership skills even though you hadn’t applied them to this particular business. Like, you had kind of confidence there that you were able to bring over. But, I mean, the one thing that, like, definitely stood out to me because I relate to this as well is, like, the people pleasing side of things. And it is interesting, I hear this from people over and over again. It’s just like, you know, you start your own business and all of your stuff comes up. And, of course, that came up there. But how do you think you learn to navigate through that? Like because it would be easy enough to stay in business and just people please like crazy.

Naomi Rose [00:17:00]:

Oh, yes. I mean, it was definitely something I was it’s something I struggle with, and I struggled with quite early on, really. And something that got sort of put in my brain when I was building my business was someone had said to me, your business will live or die by Tripadvisor. Now it was the worst piece of advice anyone could give you actually because I ended up getting obsessed over reviews and what other people thought. But some people are never gonna like what you do. Actually, I got so upset I fell off my bicycle because of some of the reviews I got. I was so distracted concentrating one morning, I actually fell off my bike on the way to work quite early on. And that is when I realized that actually, I’m not gonna my business isn’t gonna live or die by Trip Advisor. So just because I see it every day, it doesn’t mean anyone does.

Naomi Rose [00:17:47]:

And everybody’s entitled to an opinion. It’s just what you do with that. So to some extent we did as a business. My sort of rule was if someone asks for an off menu item, then we’ll try and please if we could, but we weren’t gonna be able to compromise it every single time or make it harder for ourselves or slow down in experience for other people because it’s not just about that one particular customer. It’s about everybody. So it’s really thinking hard about, actually, as much as I want people please, there are plenty of places that will suit other people. And some people would like it. Some people wouldn’t, and you just learn to accept that.

Naomi Rose [00:18:27]:

You kind of go, okay. Fine. You go over there. I had customers that used to I mean, we were I was very proud of our coffee. I worked really hard with the supplier of our coffee. He was local. I was very much about local. And I had one person that used to come in and complain about our coffee, but would keep coming back.

Naomi Rose [00:18:44]:

I’m like, well, that’s your own choice. And so either you don’t like it or you do, but this is how we serve it. There are there are 3, 4, or 5 other places in town that will serve you coffee, but you keep coming back. So sometimes you just have to accept that people want to grumble, and that’s okay. But it’s just what you do with that information and how you take it next, which is the important bit.

Lynn Grogan [00:19:07]:

Yeah. Yeah. And definitely as, like, as people are offering you their own opinions and their own thoughts, it’s like, do I need to take this? Yes or no? And the TripAdvisor one, it’s like, oh my gosh. Yeah. You could chase that forever. I’ve read so many reviews over the years because, you know, traveling full time, that’s kind of what I rely on is what do other people think? And you just see quite the range, and I can’t even imagine on the other side being the business owner and trying to, like, go, wait. This person loves it. This person hates it. How do I make sense of this? You can just kind of yeah. Now you talked a lot about trial and error, and I know that earlier this year, you had to make a really tough decision, you know, with the business. Do you wanna speak a little bit about that and, like, how you actually came to that decision?

Naomi Rose [00:19:48]:

Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. I suppose so the business opened about 15 months before the pandemic hit, so we had a really manic 1st year. It was quite a learning curve. We’d learned a huge amount and then the pandemic hit. So during the kind of time with that sort of open close hokey cokey that we had here in the UK with the various different bars and cafes and things like that, we kind of took all the good stuff. 

Naomi Rose [00:20:17]:

So my team and I sat down. We restrategized. We kind of went, right. The business is closed for a little bit. Let’s actually rethink about what we want to do going forward and how we’re gonna manage that. Get rid of the stuff that isn’t working properly. So change some of the processes, and let’s make it slicker, easier, better for us when we reopen, which is exactly what we did. And one of the things I really wanted to do was open a bakery.

Naomi Rose [00:20:38]:

It was an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve been working for local bakery to supply us bread because we didn’t have the capacity or the equipment in our place to do it, but they were having so much trouble with their own staff. So often, we wouldn’t get bread until lunchtime, and we’re at a cafe that starts at 9 AM. So it wasn’t sustainable. So I started making bread again just for the cafe. And this is a bit of a sideways tangent, but it all makes sense as I come to it. But then people started wanting saying, I really love your bread. Where do you get it from? I’m like, well, we make it ourselves.

Naomi Rose [00:21:14]:

Oh, can you make me a loaf? I’m like, well, we can, but we can’t do it on a large scale because I have a home range kitchen because we were simple beings. We had simple equipment in my, cafe kitchen. So I thought, well, if people are really wanting this, maybe I’ll just crowdfund. I’d originally gone to the bank for a resilience loan, but their answer was, well, you’re breaking even, so you can’t have one. Like, what is the point of a resilience loan if it if you’ll have to make a profit? Right? It just doesn’t make sense. So I was like, so I said to me, what about crowdfunding? I’m like, why did I not think of this? This is a genius idea. It’s such a you know, it’s the ultimate marketing campaign because you get people to invest in your business idea. You then get customers that are really excited about what you do, and you find out whether it’s something they want.

Naomi Rose [00:22:01]:

And it was it was wins all around. So 300 people, over 300 people actually, in the end, backed us to set up the bakery. So it’s gonna do sourdough and all sorts of things and sweets as you know, like sweet pastries and all those kind of lovely things. And we raised over £17,000, so massively exceeded our target, which was incredible. So then we after 3 months after opening at the beginning of 2022, I’d entered the team during the sort of opening few weeks into Britain’s Best Loaf Awards. I didn’t tell them because they would have completely freaked out about it because they’re like, we’ve only been open a short while, but I’d actually did generally believe they had a good product, but it was a day out at Food Expo. So for me, that’s a win. We would network with other bakeries that are the best in the country and, like, that’s still a win.

Naomi Rose [00:22:53]:

And we’ll get feedback on our loafs of bread so we can only learn. And we came away winning Britain’s Best Loaf Awards 3 months after opening, which was amazing. 

Lynn
What? Wait. Pause, please. That’s incredible. It it it really was. 

Naomi Rose [00:23:19]:

And the team had worked so hard and with the community back to us as well. It was just such a reward for the whole community after such a challenging time had really happened. But after sort of winning the award, we then got clobbered by the cost of living crisis. So here in the UK, energy costs went through the roof, supplies costs went through the roof. And customers, our regulars were still there, but they just tightened their purse strings. So the the bar, which had always been sort of the bit which helped make the business money, so that was a side of the business that was more profitable than the cafe, and the bakery was still very early days. Basically, no one came out for cocktails. The whole town just seized. It was just it was bizarre. And I had to close the bar, which meant that that was an income stream that I was losing.

Naomi Rose [00:24:03]:

I struggled to get supplies because they went through the roof, and things like flour went from a 3 day delivery overnight to 14 days. So I spent a lot of time trying to find ingredients that was essential. When you have sourdough, it had 3 ingredients, which is salt, flour, and water. When you can’t get the main one, it’s a real challenge. And then the hospitality industry saw, like many industries, saw a real dip in staffing. And a lot of staff seemed to vanish, which meant that the big city bakeries started offering silly amounts of money for bakers. And, of course, my team were like, well, I’ve been offered a debt a job that is paying considerably more than you for someone who I trained up from the start, who would normally need 3 or 4 years experience, and they were getting paid substantially more. I’m like, I can’t compete with this.

Naomi Rose [00:24:59]:

And I’m like, if I was you, I would do the same thing. It would make sense, but I can’t pay you what they’re asking. So with all of those kind of things combined and knowing how much the energy costs were going up because some bakeries have gone from paying 1500 a month to 5 figures a month. It’s just insane. It was just completely unsustainable. And without having then to really do something radical with the business, which you would need a lot more cash flow for than we had at the time, Well, you know, we could have gone online, but it would need financial investment or charge a lot more for our products, which people don’t necessarily have the spare money to do. And also you can’t really can’t really justify spending £10 per loaf of bread. I mean, our bread was good, but it’s not that good.

Naomi Rose [00:25:50]:

So that was where I kind of got to a point where I was working so many hours because I was covering all of the shortfalls, and I was looking at the budgets. And, you know, it’s getting up to most weeks it’s around 80 hours a week and it’s physical work. Baking is not an easy job, it is hard work. And of course I was the CEO of the company, I was the leader, but yeah, I was in in any one given day doing about 10 different job roles just to chime, keep everything balanced. And it was at that point I thought, we just don’t have the cash flow to sustain this, and this does not seem like something that is gonna blow over in the coming weeks. And I have to make that decision as heartbreaking as it was. And anyone that’s closed a business that they’ve been passionate about know it’s it’s a really hard decision. It had to be made, and it was closing a business, and I had to sort of liquidate it because there wasn’t enough cash in the bank to sort of just close it straight.

Naomi Rose [00:26:45]:

But in order to liquidate it, you have to pay people to liquidate it for you. So I had to keep the business open and do, like, a really big PR stunt towards the end of it in order to make sure I had enough sales to pay for the business to be liquidated. So, I mean, we came out pretty much even at the end of the day, but still it’s the way it had to go. So it was a real interesting period. And one, you just sort of have to go right. I’ve just got to just take the emotion aside of the, you know, the business I’ve created and the passion I’ve put behind it and actually just look at it as a business. And it it was difficult to do. And, of course, it was, you know, it was my grandmother.

Naomi Rose [00:27:24]:

It was based after there was you know, and I felt guilty for the staff because they had worked so hard and most of them were with me from the very beginning to the very end. And the community, it was it my whole ethos was to try and provide somewhere that people could come, whether they’re on their own or with friends, and just relax and enjoy and feel part of a community in there, and that’s what it had created. So it was really hard to actually let that go, but it was definitely the right decision. And I did it in a way when we discussed sort of the PR messaging of what we would do. And I closed for a period of time in the October before because I’d burnt out. I just I’ve gone beyond my limits. And we talked about it. When I say we, my dad and my husband were my business partners at the time, and they’re like, well, what should we say? And I’m like, I’m gonna say the honest truth because people need to realize the reality of what small businesses are facing.

Naomi Rose [00:28:19]:

And it’s very easy to walk into somewhere, think it’s busy, but actually not see operationally how much it takes to get one cup of coffee or one loaf of bread out. And so I was very open about it, and I talked very openly about it because I think it’s important for people to understand how these things work and why they’ve shut. So that’s what I did, which is kind of where it’s led me to where I am now though, because I really want to make sure that other baking businesses and cafes have the best success of creating financially stable businesses and being profitable because profit is part business. And sometimes we substitute our pattern thinking, well, we’ve got a passion. I love baking, so we can’t charge for it. And it’s not true. You have to be profitable as a business to be able to be sustainable, and that makes it better for everybody. It makes it better for you because you can take a salary and all those sorts of things.

Naomi Rose [00:29:13]:

So this is why I sort of created Baking Boss was to really help not only teach banking, because I love baking, but also to really help those businesses get those right business plans in place. And their zone of genius is baking. And for most businesses, they love to bake or they like to create coffee, and that’s what they love. But the business side can be really difficult to navigate, and I completely understand because I do it from scratch myself. So I want to be able to give people that sort of helping resource and support so that they can really get the most out of their businesses and be able to have that sort of strategic thinker who is slightly less emotionally attached to it to be able to really deliver the best that they can be.

Lynn Grogan [00:29:55]:

Yeah. It’s amazing that you were able to take that and create Baking Boss, but I’m wondering, like, how did you shift that identity? Because, I mean, there’s a lot that goes into being in your community in the way that you were running a business in the way that you were and being seen in that way and making a decision. You know, obviously, it wasn’t overnight, but, you know, like, it a lot went into it. Like, how did you personally recover from that?

Naomi Rose [00:30:24]:

I think it well, we went actually, funnily enough, we actually went on took a holiday, which we haven’t done in a very long time. We decided to fly to Dubai, my husband and I, for 4 days after we closed, and it rained the entire time. I mean, it’s Dubai. I thought our chances of sun was pretty high, but no. We were indoors the entire time, which was it’s quite funny, but we stayed in a nice hotel. And, actually, I think what I was most frustrated about apart from the fact I mean, it was obviously, there was a lot of emotional tied up in it, and I was kind of thinking I failed, you know, I can’t believe this has happened to me. When I actually took a step back, I kind of thought but I’ve learned so much. I mean not only have I learned so much about baking and how to make bread and how to make sourdough.

Naomi Rose [00:31:10]:

I couldn’t I couldn’t even make sourdough when I opened the bakery. It was my nemesis. And business wise as well, I’ve learned a huge amount about how to set it all up because I couldn’t find anyone that understood a small business. I could find consultants that could understand big restaurants or could understand food products, but I couldn’t find someone that could really understand what it’s like to run a small business and what a small business owner goes through because it is a very much journey. And I I don’t want to just let that knowledge die with me effectively. I want to use that to help other people because I go out for coffee at least probably 2 or 3 times a week. I go to food places. I visit restaurants.

Naomi Rose [00:31:54]:

I go out a lot. So I love that atmosphere. I love the hospitality scene. I love finding new things, and it’s I want to make sure that those businesses create the best that they can do and I’ve learned so much about that, that that’s why I’ve kind of in some ways it was almost overnight, but it kind of, I thought, well, I need to use this knowledge for the best that I can be. And I, you know, admittedly, I’ve forgotten what it was like to start a business from scratch. So it’s building those audiences and talking to the right people and really understanding what people need the most help with because what I need to cope with then might be very different from what people help need the help with now because the world has shifted quite a lot in the world of hospitality. So it’s getting really to know people, understand where they’re kind of struggling, and then I can then help them create the best business or create the best bakes or whatever it is they might want to do. So it’s just getting to know people and understanding what they want and how I can help them.

Lynn Grogan [00:32:55]:

Yeah. I mean, what I love about that story is so many things, but one of the things that I like hearing is, you know, for a lot of people, their worst case scenario will be like, well, what if I do this and then I fail or I have to shut down the doors or whatever. Right? Like, for a lot of people, it is. And when I hear what you’re saying is that, like, yeah. But that happened, but the story didn’t stop there. It doesn’t have to be, like, the end of it. It just is like, that is a part of the story, and now you’re continuing it on. It just looks a little bit different than maybe what you would, like, have expected when you opened the doors 4 years ago.

Naomi Rose [00:33:29]:

Yeah. I think it was it was definitely I felt all of those things. I felt like, you know, how how could I possibly go on after this? What am I gonna do? My worst nightmare is being employed by someone else, believe it or not. I just didn’t want to do that. I just like working in my own way and actually after the sort of in some ways, I did everything I probably wouldn’t advise people to do when it came down to sort of the end of the business because I was so emotionally attached and I was so exhausted that I was doing all the things. If I was looking at it now from the outside, I’d then I’d go, don’t do that. That’s not what you should be doing. So I’ve definitely learned from my own actions of what not to do.

Naomi Rose [00:34:09]:

And that’s why I’ve kind of built this business is because I see many kind of business owners working many hours just trying to make that bottom line and not, and I don’t people don’t need to do that. It’s not. You don’t have to do that. There are ways to make sure you have that balance in your life. It’s just being realistic about your time and things like that. And that’s what I’ve kind of taken the ethos into this business is I spent many hours working. I lost I missed quite a few family events because I had to deal with something particularly towards the end. I don’t wanna do that now.

Naomi Rose [00:34:39]:

So I’ve kind of created this business that suits me, And that’s the kind of attitude I want to make sure that people have when they’re building their own baking businesses because otherwise you just get tired out from doing what you’re doing, trying to juggle. So again, it doesn’t have to be complicated but unless you understand and know what these things are which take a long time to learn and I learned it the hard way then it’s gonna take a lot of energy and time for you. So that’s what I don’t want other people to have to go through.

Lynn Grogan [00:35:08]:

And I think and this is part of one of the reasons why I wanted to start this podcast is I think so many people jump into, like, okay. What is the checklist? How how how do I do this? Without taking that step back to be like, okay. How do I want be? While I go through that checklist, how do I wanna structure my life? How do I wanna think about things? And that’s kinda what I hear you saying too. It’s just sort of like, hey. Here’s some very obvious mistakes that you might be making out there in the world as you approach this.

Lynn Grogan [00:35:34]:

I’ve done them before. Let me help you here. And, also, big picture. Like, let’s think about a big picture. Let’s think about how you could structure this so that it is a long term thing versus just, you know, like, something that you’re chasing all the time or reacting to. It’s like, let’s do this intentionally. I think that’s such an important part of it that can be easily missed along the way.

Naomi Rose [00:35:57]:

Yeah. And I think the biggest thing that I probably learned since closing the business was it was my mindset that was often the biggest battle I had to overcome. And one I wasn’t often always clear on. And, you know, particularly when you’re working in something like hospitality or your customer facing, you kind of can put this sort of appearance on that everything’s fine. And so many businesses do, but I when I speak to other business owners that are in the food and hospitality, the reality is actually sometimes quite different. Even though that they can smile and be happy and cheerful on the front of house and talk to their customers, which is exactly what you need to do to sell your products, but they’re carrying an awful lot of weight behind there, and often that’s because your mind is either not in the right place or you’re you’re kind of getting caught up in all the little details of your business without really thinking of the bigger picture. And I think that is definitely the one thing I’ve certainly learned the most since leaving the business of actually I needed to kind of get my mindset in the right place and help other people to do that because that will then help them make a stronger business in the long run and sustainable because the the statistics on hospitality businesses failing are horrendous. And if you listen to those all the time, you would kind of be putting self doubt in your head already before you’ve even opened the doors.

Naomi Rose [00:37:20]:

But actually, it doesn’t have to be like that. It’s just that people, like I say, have got this amazing talent for baking and being able to create food and these products, but they don’t necessarily have the skills to do the business side of it, which is actually quite a large proportion of being sustainable and successful at what you do.

Lynn Grogan [00:37:37]:

Yeah. And that’s why I think it’s one of the things that’s super refreshing about how you close this for you know, Elsie Mays, like, that first part of your business is that, like, you were honest with people about what it was because it I agree with you. Like, having worked in the service industry for so long, it’s like you put that apron on, and suddenly you’re this different person that just shoves everything down, and you have that persona. And I think that, like, that’s part of it is that, like, we can be honest about what’s going on for us and work with it. Because it’s not like, you know, somebody could work, you know, with you, with me, with anyone, and not have any self doubt. But it’s like letting it be okay that it’s there, and you can move forward, and it doesn’t have to hold you back, and it doesn’t have to, dictate how you run your business or any of the other things that you might be feeling. So, I think it’s truly refreshing that you told the truth because I think people are looking for that these days.

Lynn Grogan [00:38:32]:

Like, they’re looking for somebody to be honest with them and to tell them what it’s really like and also help them realize that, like and also you can do it too.

Naomi Rose [00:38:40]:

Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And I think if you’re I start from an area of reality. I’m not gonna say to people, oh, it’s gonna be lovely and fluffy. Actually, no. You’re gonna have to stand on your feet all day. You’re gonna have long hours. This is gonna test you.

Naomi Rose [00:38:54]:

Because if you’re prepared for that, you can then accommodate for that, and that will mean you’ll get a better business at the end of it. And it’s what choices you’re willing to make in those sort of areas of what you’re prepared to do will then create your business in the best way possible. And sometimes it you know, sometimes businesses don’t work out. I know my business had a great idea. I had a great ethos. The crowdfunding campaign proved that people wanted it. It was just possibly the wrong time and in the wrong place. And I’ll never know that for sure, and I could I could certainly analyze it and I have done to look at every area of what I could have done and where I could have got better.

Naomi Rose [00:39:31]:

And I think, well, this is what has happened. So actually what I can do is then learn from it and then help other people sort of create that better, stronger business because I’ve had the whole 360 experience of it.

Lynn Grogan [00:39:48]:

Yeah. Definitely. I mean, what would you say kind of as we wrap up the conversation here? Like, if anybody is thinking about pursuing any dream, maybe it’s in this industry that you’re working in or just anywhere, like, what would be what would be the advice that you would give somebody who’s just, like, thinking about taking that leap?

Naomi Rose [00:40:08]:

Just I mean, I’m all for just trying it and giving it a go. But what I think the worst thing you could do is live in regret. I mean, have a if you’ve got an idea, it’s kind of a balance between thinking creatively and thinking strategically. Have a look at an idea. Figure out where you want to go with that idea and what you want to achieve. And when you’ve got those clear vision and ideas in your head, then go for it. You know, it’s better to take action than think about taking action. It’s very easy to get in our own way of doing stuff, but sometimes you just gotta kind of commit yourself and give it a go.

Naomi Rose [00:40:42]:

Because then that way, once you’ve committed, you can’t lose space, which is exactly what I did. I told the world I’m gonna wait for the cafe, here I go, and I was like, alright, okay, now I’m doing it. So it’s up I think it was something the thing about business is it’s it’s a learning experience. You’re gonna learn. No one’s got all the answers. The world changes all the time. So how I launched at the beginning of my business to how I launched later on down the business was completely different. But you learn, you grow, you analyze, and you move on, and that’s exactly how you need to approach it, I think.

Naomi Rose [00:41:18]:

So I think sometimes we just got to kind of give ourselves a commitment, give ourselves a bit of a plan, and then just give it a go and adjust as we go.

Lynn Grogan [00:41:28]:

Absolutely. It’s like you can’t ever get anything perfect before you launch. You just have to go. You just have to try the thing. And then, like you were saying, like, adapt as the world provides you different things that are happening. So I absolutely love it. If somebody wanted to find you online, where would they go? Where would they go looking?

Naomi Rose [00:41:46]:

I’m on Facebook and Instagram. You can find me @Iambaking boss. I’ve also got a couple of Facebook groups, one for business owners and one for baking. But come and find me on social, and I will point you in the right direction. Or check me out on my website, baking boss.net, and there’s recipes, there’s blogs, and you can find the link to my podcast on there as well.

Lynn Grogan [00:42:05]:

Perfect. And I’ll have those links in the show notes below. Well, thank you so much for coming in, Naomi. Like, I’ve just gotten so much out of this conversation. I really appreciate it.

Naomi Rose [00:42:14]:

Oh, thank you. It’s been great to be on. I’ve really enjoyed it.

Lynn Grogan [00:42:17]:

Alright. Take care.

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Lynn Grogan host of the Reality Show Life Coach podcast

Meet your host

Hi! I’m Lynn Grogan. It’s my passion as a life coach to help you escape the status quo and live a fulfilling life on your own terms!


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