If you’ve often wondered how other people structure their entrepreneurial or freelancing lives and what on earth got them into running their own business in the first place, you’re in the right place for a good old snoop around.
This Friday, Suzy Pelta, winner of ITV1’s Lorraine’s Cake Club shares her thoughts on balancing a family life, whilst also running not one, but two businesses since winning this national televised baking competition. I had the pleasure of working with Suzy whilst assisting on a recent social media project with Hotpoint, her treats are simply to die for… please do read on and get to know this weeks’ Freelancer Friday interviewee, she’s truly inspiring!
So, first of all, give us a mini bio and tell us something we won’t know about you!
My name is Suzy Pelta, I am a mummy of 3 and in May 2012 I won ITV1’s Lorraine Cake Club Competition with my original cake recipe of a Chocolate and Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting. Since then, I have started a successful blog sharing my recipes and ideas and I have developed my own line of 10 baking kits called ‘Bake With Suzy’ that are sold all over the world! I have demoed on QVC and for Hotpoint & Magimix at The BBC Good Food Show and I have collaborated with major brands such as Nature Valley and Cafe Direct to create recipes. For the past two years I have been Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party Official Blogger/Tea Party Queen which involved creating their official campaign cake! What you may not know is that as well as all of this, I am also a singing teacher!
How long have you been running your business and what got you started?
I’ve been a singing teacher for about 15 years and it has been a great job to have whilst my kids were little. The baking part of my life was always a hobby, until winning the Lorraine Show nearly 3 years ago that enabled me to turn it into a business!
Are you freelancing full time or part time? Do you have a second or even third means of income to keep you moving forward?
I am freelancing full time, as a baker, demonstrator, recipe writer, blogger & singing teacher! I have a pretty hectic work life!
Did you launch straight into your business idea or did you spend time planning, training or even worrying before you got kicking?
When I started my blog I honestly had no master plan. I just felt it was the right thing to do to provide a platform for me to share my recipes. Through the blog I was approached and asked if I would think about developing some products. I am very fortunate because I work with a company who already have a great reputation and who already sell in to major stores. Last year I signed with an agent and so I am now writing a recipe book, working with brands and providing live demonstrations too.
Tell us about your typical working day – Are you an early bird or do you tend to work throughout the night?
Hmmmm I am most definitely not an early bird. Until I have my double espresso in the morning I am barely human! I tend to work a lot during the day and in the evenings. Every week for me is different, and I try and keep at least one day free a week for admin work.
What’s your biggest challenge as a freelancer?
Managing my time is challenging. Prioritising work and making sure that my to do list is reducing and not increasing all the time!
And what’s the best element of being your own boss?
For me, the best element is to be able to tailor my work around my family. As much as possible, I want to be there to pick my kids up from school, take them to their after school activities and put them to bed. I don’t want to miss these precious years of my kids’ lives.
How do you manage a good work/life balance (or do you struggle with this at all)?
Each week for me is different. I wouldn’t say I have the best balance, but school pick up times dictate when I generally have to stop! I also have great friends and a brilliant family who help me when I need them.
Where do you work from and do you co-work at all?
Well, when baking I work from my kitchen and when working on my blog and social media side of things I generally work on the sofa in the living room with a large mug of coffee and a bowl of sweets! Singing teaching is of course at my lovely piano!
Do you allow yourself a regular break for coffee, exercise or lunch?
I try and exercise about 5 times a week before I start work. My husband and I often work out together to DVDs in our living room! As every day is different for me I don’t really have a routine for work, let alone for breaks, but I do try and give myself a break. At the moment, that usually means me playing “Candy Crush”!
Are there any apps/tools/gadgets/people that you just couldn’t work without?
I couldn’t work without my husband (who is my technical person), my kids (my motivation) and my ipad!
Is there anything you really don’t enjoy as a freelancer? Perhaps something would persuade you to go back to a “regular” job?…
Nope! No offence to those with a ‘regular’ job but I thrive on the creativity and the uncertainty of being on my own!
We would love to hear your thoughts on “networking” – do you go to any regular events or meet ups to meet other freelancers?
Networking is essential. I will also recommend people when they’ve provided a great service and I will always help connect like minded people. Twitter has been invaluable in helping me connect with the baking community and I have made some great friends through there. I also always make sure I have business cards in my handbag as you never know who you may meet!
What essential advice would you give to anyone thinking of becoming a freelancer?
Research your area, link with likeminded people, use social media & write every idea down.
Anything else you would like to add or share?
Always keep a sense of humour. Oh and give yourself a ‘bonus’ for a job well done – mine is usually cake related!!
How can we find you online (and off?):
Bake With Suzy
Thanks so much Suzy for taking part in our Freelancer Friday series, if you would like to put yourself (or somebody else worthy of being featured) forward, let’s talk!
If you would like to read the other Freelancer Friday interviews in this series, please have a nosey here.
Do you need help with blogging, content creation or social media support for your own brand or project requirements? Get in touch here at Stir Up Media to discuss your needs – Jo is passionate about the online world and can help you in 2015 and beyond!